NFL's worst defense of 2006 showing early signs of improvement Print
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Tuesday, 21 August 2007 12:08
NFL Headline News

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Vince Young is ready for training camp to end as soon as possible. The quarterback is tired of facing the Tennessee Titans' defense every day.
``Our defense is real fast. We've got a lot of weapons on that side of the ball,'' the Titans' second-year quarterback said. ``Then we've got depth. When one guy comes out, we got another guy coming in that's pretty good as well to me. Overall, our defensive line did a great job.''
Coming from a teammate, that kind of praise usually doesn't mean much. Young is going into his second NFL season, talking about a defense that ranked last in the NFL in 2006.
The Titans' defense is very much a work in progress, but through two exhibitions there are signs of improvement. Even Tom Brady, the New England quarterback with three Super Bowl rings, struggled against this defense.
Young said the Titans forced Brady to hold the ball longer before deciding where to throw, a decision that helped them hit him repeatedly and pick him off twice.
``We've got some good people on that side of the ball,'' Young said.
Eight sacks through two exhibitions is one more than they had in all of the 2006 preseason. They also have forced five turnovers and knocked the ball loose four other times.
The Titans shut out Washington's first-team offense in the preseason opener before losing 14-6 with both touchdowns scored in the final 74 seconds. They gave up two TDs to the Patriots and Brady but held them to just a field goal in the second quarter in a game the Titans won in the second half.
Stopping the run was the Titans' biggest weakness in 2006, when they gave up 144.6 yards per game, including three games with more than 200 yards.
``We haven't played against a team that ran the ball extremely well against us,'' strong safety Chris Hope said. ``We're still missing a few tackles here and there; have to get rid of the offside penalties; gap fits to smooth out. There's always room for improvement.''
Coming into training camp there were questions about who would replace suspended cornerback Adam ``Pacman'' Jones, whether Ryan Fowler or Stephen Tulloch wins the middle linebacker spot and who would strengthen the defensive line.
The secondary competition and middle linebacker remain undecided with camp ending Wednesday. The Titans have given physicals to defensive end Simeon Rice and defensive tackle Corey Simon this month.
But the emergence of Antwan Odom heading into his fourth year could be a big key.
The 6-foot-5, 274-pound Odom was limited to four games last season by a knee injury that ended his season. Coaches tried hard not to compare him to Jevon Kearse because of his size and speed.
A third draft pick in 2004, Odom has struggled with consistency and has only 4 1/2 career sacks. He had two in the first half at New England and another hit on Brady that resulted in an interception.
Odom said he's just trying to work on being consistent.
``It's just preseason. In the season if we could do this, then we'll talk about it,'' Odom said. ``Right now we still haven't proved nothing to no one.''
 

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