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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Johnson: Titan defense comes through

Monday, September 8, 2008

(Photo)
Safety Michael Griffin (33) comes up with one of seven sacks by the Titans as he wrestles Jacksonville quarterback David Garrard to the ground.
(T-G Photo by Danny Parker)
NASHVILLE -- The Titan 'D' is dependable!

It's been said that defense wins championships and, if that's the case, the Titans are primed and ready.

Now I'm not going to go out on a limb and proclaim that Tennessee is going to contend for a championship after the first game of the regular season, but you have to admit that the Titan defense was very impressive in the 17-10 win over Jacksonville Sunday afternoon.

The Titan defense allowed the Jaguars to only 187 yards and limited last year's second-best rushing team in the NFL to only 33 yards on the ground.

They added seven sacks, two interceptions and a fumble.

"Seven sacks in the ballgame speaks volumes of what you are doing up front," Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher said. "Turnovers, it defensively was a huge day. We had to have that kind of day defensively to win this ballgame."

Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch is very pleased with his unit's effort but admitted that their performance even surprised him.

"I thought this defense was capable of playing really well. I knew we would play well today, but I was surprised. We did well in all facets of the game today. We stopped the running attack. We've got a lot of pressure on the quarterback. We had good coverage downfield. It's something we could build upon. It's a complete game. We took the field, as a defense, in some bad situations. We made some big plays and that's what we are capable of."

As good as the 'D' played, Vanden Bosch stopped short of saying it's the best defense in the NFL.

(Photo)
A trio of Titan defenders converge on Jaguar running back Fred Taylor.
(T-G Photo by Danny Parker)
"I'm not going to call this defense a top defense yet. That's what we are shooting for. There are a lot of good defenses in this league. I take pride in this defense in that I think we play harder than any other defense in this league."

Jacksonville quarterback David Garrard felt the aggressive Titan defense first hand.

"I was telling (Jaguar running back) Freddie (Taylor) in the locker room that this is the sorest I've been in a long time. It's football and I'm used to it and that's what the position offers sometimes, but I don't like being this sore."

The Tennessee defense ranked fifth in the league last season and, with performances like this one, they could improve on that mark this year.

Gary Johnson is a Times-Gazette sports writer. He can be contacted at gjohnson@t-g.com.

Gary Johnson
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