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Titans coordinator moves for better view of 'D'

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Titans coordinator moves for better view of 'D'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee defensive coordinator Jerry Gray has moved to the coaching box to see the field better and see if that helps the Titans tighten up their defense.

At this rate, it certainly couldn't hurt.

The Titans are back on pace for an NFL record nobody wants in points allowed in a season, and they are back to last in the league giving up 34.2 points per game. They could top the 317 points they gave up last season Sunday when they visit Miami (4-4) and have allowed at least 30 points in seven of nine games this season.

Coach Mike Munchak said Thursday they see the defense playing better but not getting much help from the offense. Munchak said the Titans (3-6) can best help the defense by holding onto the ball longer than an average of 26 minutes, 10 seconds a game.

Yes, the Titans rank last in that category too.

``Overall, we have to get off the field, and we have to stay on the field on the other side,'' Munchak said. ``I think that will help with a huge part of what the defense is doing. They've been out there way too much, some of their own fault and some of the offense's fault. If we could just fix that category as a team, I think we're going to win a lot more football games.''

Gray made the move from the sideline up to the coaching box upstairs in the press box in last week's 51-20 loss to Chicago. Munchak said they had talked about the possibility before, including this offseason. Gray worked from the box while he was defensive coordinator in Buffalo but he was on the sideline since coming to Tennessee due to the lockout last season.

``I think he liked what he could see,'' Munchak said. ``He could make his calls quicker. I think it was good that Frank Bush, the linebackers coach, was able to talk to the linebacker, his player, (Colin) McCarthy, who was wired, so he could give him some other comments other than just the defense. I thought all of that worked well, so we'll stick with it.''

Gray said he likes working on the field so he can look at players and see if they're telling him the truth when they come to the sideline. But

``You don't get a chance to feel the game,'' Gray said. ``You see it all. You see what goes on and you get a chance to see if there're guys messing up, not messing up. You can make the corrections right quick when you're talking to the coach the very next play.''

With the Titans giving up 51 points, it certainly didn't look good in the loss to the Bears. The Titans now have given up 308 points this season, putting them on pace to allow 548 this season. The 1981 Baltimore Colts gave up 533 points in 1981.

But Tennessee turned the ball over five times, and the defense started three different drives at the Titans 16 or closer to their own goal line in giving up three touchdowns. The Titans did force the Bears to punt three times and forced Chicago three and out after the first turnover of the game.

Defensive end Kamerion Wimbley is the second-oldest starter on the defense at the age of 29 in his seventh season. He said he sees players hustling hard.

``Everybody's still enthusiastic,'' he said. ``We know we have games left to play. It's very important for us to go out and get things turned around.''

Gray sees signs of promise in a defense that has six starters in their third season or younger because they are busy talking.

``They're guys that communicating as the play's going on,'' Gray said. ``That's where you grow. You don't grow just because a guy does his job on his own. You have to really communicate as the play's going on who has what what's the tip. When you can get that, that's what the good defenses do and they pass it along to the other guys.''

Notes: Jake Locker practiced for a second straight day Thursday with pads on and even was bumped by Wimbley at one point. Munchak said if Locker progresses well into Friday they feel good about him returning as the starting quarterback against Miami.

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Follow Teresa M. Walker on Twitter at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

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New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

New pieces on offense lead to plenty of questions for Redskins at OTAs

Alex Smith in, Kirk Cousins out.

That's certainly the headline, but there are plenty of other questions for the Redskins, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

For the last two seasons, most of the questions going into OTAs for Washington came from the defensive side of the ball. After consecutive drafts with a first-round defensive lineman selection, the defense should be much improved. 

On offense, however, there are a lot of new parts. 

  1. The headliner - No position in sports is as important as NFL quarterback. This will be Alex Smith's first action in a Redskins uniform with media present. The 34-year-old veteran is coming off the best season of his career, and if he can continue that level of accuracy and play-making, the Redskins could be poised for an explosive year.
  2. The speedster - Washington's wideouts lacked separation in 2017. It was apparent through much of the year, and likely played a roll in some of Kirk Cousins' reluctance to make tough throws. Free agent addition Paul Richardson is supposed to help, immediately. He has elite deep speed and the 'Skins brass hopes he can bring a similar element to the offense that DeSean Jackson provided a few years back. Time to prove it Paul. 
  3. The injuries - There are big reasons for concern, namely two very large men in Jordan Reed and Trent Williams. Reed will not participate in OTAs, and has been dealing with a foot/toe injury for the better part of a year. Williams, who seems highly unlikely to attend OTAs, underwent knee surgery in January. Beyond Smith, Reed and Williams are probably the two most important offensive players on the Redskins. OTAs aren't important, Reed and Williams participating, or even attending, OTAs is not important. Both men being healthy and ready to go in September is quite important. 
  4. The Rookie - Has Derrius Guice become the most popular player on the Redskins? Maybe. The dynamic rookie running back, with an interesting draft weekend slide, has the charisma and ability to be a star. The "off-field concerns" that hurt his draft status seem like myths at this point, but there was some injury concern his junior season at LSU (see video above). Guice has an opportunity to be a huge part of the Redskins offense, and all eyes will be watching the rookie. 
  5. The leap? - In 2017, Josh Doctson showed flashes of the player that warranted a first-round pick in 2016. Will 2018 be the year he proves it, week after week, game after game? Getting off to a good start with Smith should help, and even more important would be an injury-free offseason. 

There are questions for the defense too, particularly at cornerback after Josh Norman, but this year, the offense has more new parts. 

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

The Eastern Conference Final is going the distance!

After losing three straight to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Capitals won Game 6 to force a Game 7 in Tampa Bay. Can the Caps beat the Lightning one more time and advance to the Stanley Cup Final?

JJ Regan, Tarik El-Bashir and special guest cameraman Mike D break it all down.

 

PLEASE NOTE: Due to schedule and time constraints, this podcast was recorded by phone and the audio quality is not up to our usual standards.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.