The Tennessee Titans have made some peculiar decisions on defense. This started when Robert Johnson beat out Jordan Babineaux for a starting safety spot. It also started when Tommie Campbell got so many reps in the preseason. Ryan Mouton was eventually given the job at nickelback.
The Titans have another fascinating trend that has evolved into early November. This trend suggests one of four things. The Titans are very happy with Sen’Derrick Marks, they’re unhappy with Mike Martin, a combination of both, or pure coincidence.
Here’s a defensive snap report for each game since Week 5. This includes snap counts for Karl Klug, Martin and Marks. The Week 5-8 snap reports are from totaltitans.com. The Week 9 snap reports are from The Tennessean. Please note that Jurrell Casey was injured in Week 6. This inflated the snap amounts for Martin.
Week 5 Defensive Snap Report: Marks 37, Martin 31, Klug 16
Week 6 Defensive Snap Report: Martin 48, Marks 42, Klug 15
Week 7 Defensive Snap Report: Marks 37, Martin 29, Klug 6
Week 8 Defensive Snap Report: Marks 50, Klug 21, Martin 19
Week 9 Defensive Snap Report: Marks 58, Martin 8, Klug 4
What happened to Martin? Martin has played fewer snaps in each of the past three games. From Week 8 to Week 9, Martin played a combined 27 snaps. That’s fewer than any of the three games before that. In Week 9, Martin played on just eight of 69 snaps. The defense was on the field for more than 37 minutes.
Another surprise is how much Klug was regressed from his rookie season. In 2011, Klug led the team with seven sacks. He also had two forced fumbles. In 2012, Klug has one tackle. That’s it. Has Klug regressed that much? Or has he not been given enough of an opportunity? He played six snaps in Week 7. He played four snaps in Week 9.
Martin and Klug have both lost playing time to Marks. In the last two games, Marks has played on a combined 108 snaps. In Week 9, Marks played on 58 of 69 snaps. He has essentially become an every-down lineman. Will that continue? Probably not.
Statistically, Marks hasn’t done much since he was drafted in 2009. In 44 games, Marks has 77 tackles with six pass deflections, two forced fumbles and 1.5 sacks. He hasn’t had a full sack since 2009. In 2012, Marks has 19 tackles with one pass deflection and one stuff. The Titans’ defense has allowed 141.6 rushing yards per game. The Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints are the only teams who’ve allowed more.
These trends surprise me. Martin looked like he was playing well. Have Martin and Klug just fallen out of favor with defensive coordinator Jerry Gray and the Titans’ coaching staff?
Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. He’s been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-88 and 2001-present. He lived in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin from 1988-01 and for approximately eight months in 2009-10 as he completed a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs, Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans. He can be found on Twitter HERE.
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