The linebackers played a poor game against the Chargers. Darius Leonard did lead the team in tackles last week, but did so with only 7. His pursuit to the ball wasn’t nearly as good as it was at any point last season. He might have had the worst game of his career.
Because of that, the Chargers gashed the Colts defense for chunk plays. There were runs up the middle that gained 10-12 yards from backup running backs. There were passes over the middle that got 15 yards. It was a disheartening effort from a group that was so good a year ago.
Anthony Walker didn’t play his best either. He and Leonard are clearly the two best linebacker on this team, and Leonard is one of the best in the league. They have to play better against Tennessee if they want to win this football game.
I would expect to see Leonard play with more fire. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the defense blitz a little more as well. Marcus Mariota doesn’t play well when he starts to get hit. Be physical with him, and he gets happy feet in the pocket and becomes erratic.
Stopping the run is the biggest thing the linebackers have to do though. Making sure that Derrick Henry is contained will keep the Titans one-dimensional. That limits their playbook and ultimately limits their effectiveness as an offense.
The next thing I’m watching for comes on the offensive side of the ball to see if they can keep up the great work they did a week ago.