NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Every Wednesday, the opposing team's head coach and one player (usually the team's quarterback) hold conference calls with Titans media to help us get to know their team a bit more.
When discussing what they see on film from the Titans, there is one player without fail that is mentioned every time. That player is defensive tackle Jurrell Casey.
"(Jurrell) Casey's an unbelievable football player. I just remember when I first got there, I hadn't really heard of him, didn't know much about him, and then watching him play on Sundays, he's a great football player. This year, getting the well-deserved contract and the way that he's gone out and played, he's certainly disruptive."*
– Texans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick
"Jurrell Casey up front is as good of an interior defensive lineman as there is. He's very, very disruptive. That'll be a challenge for us."
- Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins
"I know Jurrell Casey has really stood out to us as a guy who has a high motor and is making a lot of plays."
– Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer
*"I think he's one of the league's best kept secrets. He's the defensive player that people probably haven't heard of. He's disruptive in all phases, whether he's lined up inside or outside. He can ruin a running game, and he's already proven that he's an exceptional pass rusher. If he's not getting sack production, he's causing quarterbacks to get rid of it quicker and step up in the pocket. He's causing production for other people. It's a big challenge for us, it's a big challenge. You can look at the film, and he jumps off the tape when we first started to watch it. I had to look at my roster card a couple of times." *
– Browns head coach Mike Pettine
"Jurrell Casey's a guy that's a game wrecker, he's a buzz saw, he's a guy that's almost impossible to block."
– Colts head coach Chuck Pagano
Titans Online looks at DT Jurrell Casey's two-sack performance vs. Jacksonville that earned him AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)
That's just the tip of the iceberg. Jurrell Casey's 10.5 sack season in 2013 turned heads around the league and he continues to build his reputation in 2014. Casey leads the Titans in sacks with four and continually blows up offensive lines at the point of attack.
Just last week against the Texans, Casey hit quarterback high Ryan Fitzpatrick twice and hurried him four times. Pro Football Focus gave him a 4.4 grade, the highest of any Titans player on the day.
Going from a 4-3 defensive tackle to a 3-4 defensive end is a big transition, but Casey has shown the ability to make his presence felt regardless of the team's defensive scheme. His ability to get to the quarterback and eat up blocks in the running make him the unquestioned leader of Tennessee's front seven.
It's possible that someone could take this award from Casey by season's end, but I'm keeping my money on the man that just earned his first big contract extension.
Michael Griffin – FS
Griffin leads the team in tackles with 58, is tied for the team-lead in interceptions with two, and ranks second on the team in sacks with three. He's had to step up in the absence of Bernard Pollard and continues to fill the stat sheet on a weekly basis. Griffin had his best game against the Browns in Week 5, posting 14 total tackles, one sack and an interception.
Jason McCourty – CB
J-Mac is tied for the team-lead in picks with two and leads Titans defensive backs with 10 passes defensed, which also ranks 11th in the NFL. He is also third in the team in tackles with 41.
Against the Jaguars, McCourty forced a huge fumble of Cecil Shorts deep in Titans territory to keep Jacksonville off the board.
Wesley Woodyard – LB
Woodyard is also tied with Griffin and McCourty with two interceptions, ranks second in tackles with 49 and has one sack in his first season with the Titans.