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VOL. 45 | NO. 47 | Friday, November 19, 2021

‘Super confident’ Titan defense getting job done

By Terry McCormick

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Sometimes the Titans defense looks great – as it did against the Chiefs and the Rams.

Sometimes it is hanging on for dear life, as it did against Seattle, Buffalo and New Orleans and others.

The Titans are more interested in outcome than style, which at 8-2 has more often been in their favor.

On Sunday against the Saints, it was the defense snuffing out a potential tying two-point conversion to hold on for their sixth consecutive victory.

Safety Kevin Byard says it might not exactly be the way it was drawn up every game, but he is part of a unit that is confident and battle-tested.

“We’re super confident because we’ve put it on film before,” says Byard, who is second in the NFL in interceptions this season with five.

“We’ve done it plenty of times. We’ve gotten stops down there. When it comes to those tight situations where we’ve got to get a stop, there’s no panic on the field, no panic on the sidelines. We just keep defending every blade of grass.”

Resilience is something the Titans’ have counted on as part of its defensive identity.

“Honestly, we don’t want it to be like that, but at the end of the day, when it comes down to that, we understand what kind of defense we have,” Byard says. “We’re talking about being a great team, trying to have a great record and keep winning. These are the types of situations where we’ve got to go out there and play well.

“Obviously, they drive down the field, but we ended up getting the stops we needed to get, especially that two-point conversion.”

Teammate Jeffery Simmons, a key cog in the defensive line and the defense overall, says the Titans know how to handle adversity and not let a bad play or two snowball into something worse.

“I guess it is we don’t quit. I think that’s just kind of the mindset of guys,” he says. “No matter what it may be, we are going to fight to the end. Guys finish the game. That’s what’s going to happen when you finish the game.

“No matter, of course, they got a touchdown, guys didn’t put their heads down. We knew they were fixing to go for two or whatever it may be. Early in the game they get a first down or whatever it may be, we have to come back and play the next play.

“I think that’s just the mindset of this team. We are not going to drop our head when the game gets tough. We are not going to drop our head when a team makes plays, so we’ve just got to play this way.”

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