Lions can solidify run defense by stopping DeMarco Murray, Titans

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions showed they had an efficient offense capable of moving the ball, sustaining drives and putting up bunches of points. The defense, though, struggled against Indianapolis and Andrew Luck.

Facing Tennessee, an offense that struggled with turnovers against Minnesota, could help the confidence of the Lions' defense. It'll also be a good test for Detroit's defensive line -- a group that struggled some against Indianapolis but has the potential to be the strongest unit on the Lions roster.

To get an idea of what the Lions will be facing Sunday, ESPN NFL Nation Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky offered up a scouting report on six key players.


QB Marcus Mariota: He made two giant errors in the season opener, with an interception that was returned for a 77-yard touchdown and a botched handoff that turned into a 24-yard fumble recovery against Minnesota. He’s far more poised than that, usually, and will need to be at Ford Field in order for the Titans to have a chance of getting to 1-1.

RB DeMarco Murray: He turned two of his five catches into touchdowns in the Titans’ opener, but offset that with his involvement in two turnovers. He and Mariota miscommunicated on an option handoff that wound up a fumble and a defensive touchdown. Murray fumbled another one all on his own later on. He needs to play mistake-free in Detroit.

WR Tajae Sharpe: The fifth-rounder out of UMass carried over a great offseason and preseason into his first NFL action. Targeted a team-high 11 times, he pulled in seven receptions for 76 yards. The Lions will have to account for a precise route-runner who’s fast becoming a Mariota favorite.


DL Jurrell Casey: He is the Titans' best defensive player, but they chose to rest him Week 1 for 17 of their 63 defensive snaps. He is disruptive against the run and pass, but he didn’t break through for a sack as the Titans were kept away from Shaun Hill. Casey starts at end and kicks inside in nickel.

FS Kevin Byard: The team’s third-round pick is a ball-hawk who had 19 interceptions in college at MTSU. He isn’t starting, but they still found him 21 snaps on defense. If they are failing to find a play against Matthew Stafford and the Lions' passing game, perhaps we see him a bit more. Rashad Johnson is the starter in front of him.

SS Da’Norris Searcy: He yielded some snaps to Daimion Stafford but was credited by game statisticians with a team-high eight tackles along with two tackles for loss and a pass defensed. He had a quiet preseason, though Mike Mularkey calls him the quarterback of the secondary as he starts his second year in the system.