September 30, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans inside linebacker Brian Cushing (56) makes a tackle on Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) after a second quarter reception at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

Vikings vs. Titans Preview: Five Questions With Titan Sized

For this week’s five questions I got in touch with Titan Sized assistant editor Jason Peters. Let’s get his takes on this week’s opponent…

1. Jake Locker out, Matt Hasselbeck in. Thoughts?

A: Locker is a dynamic young player that has experienced his share of highs and lows early in the season, but his athleticism and energy on the field gave us an advantage over Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck turned the ball over three times last week in his first (more or less) full game of the season. With Hasselbeck, his lack of mobility gives the defense the benefit of not having to spy the quarterback, which works to our team’s detriment.

2. The Titans have lost three games all by at least 21 points. On the surface this would appear to make them a bad team. Were there in fact extenuating circumstances behind these losses? Or are they just as bad as they look?

A: Our defense is not as bad as it would seem from the box scores, but make no mistake, we have not done well on that side of the ball. However, the main reason for our lack of defensive performance, is simply that without a running game or an efficient passing game, we cannot keep our defense off of the field and they get worn down by the second half. We have had games this season where the offense was on the field for 15 minutes, while the defense was forced to be out there for 45 minutes. You can’t defend very well without an effective balance on both sides of the ball.

3. What was going on with Chris Johnson early and do you think he’s back after a good performance vs. the Lions?

A: I don’t know that Chris Johnson can ever be the CJ of old again, but what I can tell you is that he is only going to run as well as our line blocks. Last week was the first time we were able to see CJ not getting blown up in the backfield, and as such, he had room to find some holes and make plays. The one thing I will say of Johnson that helped his cause was a willingness to run north and south and stop dancing in the backfield like he has been. If he keeps it up, he should get back to respectability.

4. Assessment of Mike Munchak as a coach?

Munchak is a great coach. He remains calm and patient during trying times, and seems to have the respect of his players. The one thing I will say about Munchak is, at times, his demeanor is almost too calm. While it is definitely an asset when it comes to maintaining a clear head, it feels as though at times the team can be flat, especially when Jake Locker isn’t on the field, and I believe that is a reflection of the disposition of their coach.

5. 1-3 is a bad way to start a season. Can the Titans turn this around or are they looking at a top 5 draft pick come next year?

A: We have been saying all along that the Titans have the most difficult opening four-game stretch of any team in the NFL. It’s easy to forget that in the middle of a losing streak, and we are far from among the league’s elite, but I don’t believe we will finish in the bottom 5, especially if Johnson can continue to run like he did last week and keep our defense fresh.

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