Skip to main content

Left or Right no Problem, Morgan Wants to Sack QBs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Derrick Morgan's list of NFL quarterbacks he wants to sack starts with Peyton Manning, the Tennessee Titans' biggest tormentor and AFC South rival.

No wonder coach Jeff Fisher smiled slightly as he listened to the Titans' first-round draft pick talk Friday.

"He doesn't really get touched that much," Morgan said of wanting to chase the NFL's four-time MVP. "Kind of want to get after him. He doesn't get sacked too often. Be a great opportunity."

The Titans introduced the 6-foot-3, 266-pound Morgan from Georgia Tech just before the NFL draft resumed, and the defensive end rated by many as the best available this year looks and sounds ready to help fill his new team's many defensive needs.

They went 8-8 last season when they sacked the quarterback only 32 times while giving up 258.7 yards passing per game - next to last in NFL. Much of that came from an inability to get to the quarterback, and Tennessee likes to do that using just four linemen with few blitzes.

The Titans lost end Kyle Vanden Bosch in free agency to Detroit and let Jevon Kearse, benched in October, leave when his contract was up.

No one is giving a starting job to Morgan just yet. The Titans signed free agent end Jason Babin this offseason and also have recent draft picks in Jacob Ford and William Hayes with veteran Dave Ball. That means quantity for a defensive philosophy where linemen are asked to go hard as possible after the quarterback, coming to the sideline to rest when tired.

"That's the philosophy, and we've been able to stick with that. I think we've certainly upgraded the potential at his position now to where if you envision being an offensive tackle, you may be facing two or three different guys and two or three different potential rushers," Fisher said.

"That creates more of a problem so it creates more of a problem for the offense. The other thing important to point out is teams also run the football. Derrick understands defense against the run, the importance. He's a tremendous pursuit player."

Tennessee likes to pressure quarterbacks using four linemen, and Morgan proved in college he could do that. He started 27 games at Goergia Tech, and his 19 1/2 sacks rank seventh in school history. He also had 29 1/2 tackles for loss. His 12 1/2 sacks in 2009 led the Atlantic Coast Conference, and he has played on both the left and right side of the line.

"It helps out the defense a great deal when you need four guys to generate pressure and get to the quarterback," Morgan said. "Defenses take pride in that."

The Titans now like the combination of speedy ends they have stockpiled. Ford had 5 1/2 sacks last season with Hayes had 4. They signed tackle Tony Brown to a three-year contract extension on Thursday, the guy who led the team with 25 quarterback pressures last season.

And for anyone doubting that the Titans remain interested in trading for defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, Fisher tried once again to squash those rumors.

"That door was never open, and I don't have the keys to the door and I have no idea as to its location," Fisher said.

Related Content

Fan Zone

Titans + Nissan Stadium App presented by Verizon

Titans + Nissan Stadium App presented by Verizon

Stay up to date with team and stadium news, concert and event announcements, stream live Titans games and more!

Tennessee Titans Marketplace

Tennessee Titans Marketplace

A one-stop shop for Titans memorabilia, autographed items and more!

Tennessee Titans Email Newsletter

Tennessee Titans Email Newsletter

Get Titans news sent straight to your inbox.