Three reasons to be happy, three to be concerned for the Tennessee Titans coming out of Sunday's victory over the Dallas Cowboys and heading into the Monday night game against Jacksonville.
1. Kenny Britt is a playmaker. Given the chance to show what he could do as a starter, Britt seized the moment, picking up 86 yards on four catches and scoring a touchdown for the third straight game. He also picked up two pass interference calls against Mike Jenkins, netting the Titans another 48 yards on their opening TD drive. It gives Vince Young a much-needed target to make defenses pay for crowding the box on Chris Johnson.
2. Marc Mariani is the answer as a return man. Mariani has solved the Titans problems in the return game, and is especially good on kickoffs, with a 98-yarder vs. Denver for a TD and a 73-yard return that set up the winning touchdown Sunday.
3. The running game was better vs. a 3-4. For Chris Johnson less carries (19) meant more production (131 yards, 2 TDs), and for the first time this season, Tennessee's offense looked better running against a 3-4 front. Also, as a side note, concerns about the o-line depth were largely alleviated as Fernando Velasco and Ryan Durand both played well filling in.
Three reasons to be concerned
1. The defense is being stretched too far. The Titans have given up a 300-yard passing performance for the past three games. Tennessee's defense has played 70 snaps or more in all three games. Yes, the pass rush has been solid, and they are forcing turnovers that have killed drives. But they are living on the edge, especially Sunday when the Cowboys had 511 yards of total offense.
2. The offense still doesn't look in sync. Defensive turnovers and a long kickoff return directly led to 14 points for the Titans Sunday. The offense was much better as Vince Young came out throwing the football, but a quick look at time of possession the last three weeks shows the Titans are not getting it done the way they are actually built. When was the last time this team had one of its staple 12-play, 80-yard drives that chewed seven minutes off the clock?
3. Secondary depth is thin. With Jason McCourty out with a broken forearm, Alterraun Verner has shown he is a playmaker as a rookie. But behind him, there is only Ryan Mouton available as a true cornerback. On Sunday, he was involved in giving up the Cowboys' biggest offensive play of the day – a 69-yard touchdown catch by Miles Austin. With only three healthy corners, the Titans have to cross their fingers and hope for no more injuries until McCourty is healthy enough to return.