Cameron Wolfe, ESPN Staff Writer 17d

Titans' Dick LeBeau out to prove debacle against Texans is 'not us'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Every team suffers losses, but giving up 57 points was a different failure to overcome. The Tennessee Titans' defense looked hesitant, out of position and outmatched in their 57-14 loss to the Houston Texans.

Tennessee's focus has shifted to the Miami Dolphins, but last week's problems have to be fixed or they will become this week's problems. That's the task for Titans defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, who is convinced that last Sunday's debacle was an anomaly.

"That's not us. We're going to prove that's not us," LeBeau said. "We played a very poor game. We let them hold the ball, we let them go on the long drives, never gave our offense a chance to get the ball back. You're not going to have success if we don't play better than that."

One of the Titans' biggest mistakes was playing sides and roles instead of matchups with their cornerbacks. That often left Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins covered by Brice McCain and LeShaun Sims while No. 1 cornerback Logan Ryan matched up with Bruce Ellington in the slot.

LeBeau said he would do things differently this week, but he figured going into the Texans game it would be easier to defend sides to make it easier on their young secondary.

"I wanted our people to know exactly where they were going on the field," said LeBeau, who is in his 46th year as an NFL coach.

The Titans' default nickel coverage has Ryan, who usually plays right cornerback in base defense, move inside to the slot. Adoree' Jackson typically plays left cornerback in base and nickel defense. Sims or McCain, who has spent his career primarily as a slot cornerback, typically rotate in at right outside cornerback.

LeBeau said he has had conversations with Titans coach Mike Mularkey at the start of some weeks about whether they should give extra attention or match up with certain receivers. Mularkey asked LeBeau if they should match up or shade coverage toward Amari Cooper in the season opener with the Oakland Raiders. They did not for the same reason, and Cooper finished with five catches for 62 yards.

Hopkins had 10 catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. Speedy receiver Will Fuller, who primarily went against Jackson, Sims and McCain, also had two touchdowns and a drew a big pass interference penalty on Jackson during another drive that led to a Texans touchdown.

The Dolphins have three dynamic and versatile receivers in Jarvis Landry, Devante Parker and Kenny Stills even though they've struggled early. It may make sense for Ryan to spend a lot of time in the slot covering Landry, but Parker will likely be a handful on the outside for Jackson or Sims.

So will LeBeau be flexible to matching up against elite receivers in the future?

"I don't ever like to tell the opponent what we're going to do, but I didn't like what I saw Sunday at all," LeBeau said. "We did not try to sweep it under the rug."

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