NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan hasn't changed anything.
From the first week of the season until now, his approach has been the same.
The results, well, they've been dramatically different.
"I have tried to be consistent," Morgan said. "Right now, things are paying off. I think we have been coming together as a defense, and the guys on the back end are allowing us to have more time to get to the quarterback, and to make plays. So it's been working for us."
Morgan, in his seventh NFL season, has 5.5 sacks in the last four games. After being held without a sack the first quarter of the season, Morgan had two sacks against the Dolphins, and a sack against the Browns. Morgan was then credited with 1.5 sacks of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck before sacking Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles last Thursday.
"I am happy for him,'' said Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo, who has a team-high seven sacks on the year. "It is checks and balances. You want to do something to eliminate one person, well, another person is going to eat. So it is a back and forth, and that is why I enjoy playing with Morgan because we bring a lot to the table that is very similar."
The Titans are third in the NFL with 22 sacks as a team, led by Orakpo's seven and Morgan's 5.5. Defensive lineman Jurrell Casey is next in line with three sacks.
Titans defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said Morgan has been consistent all season, even when the sacks weren't showing up on the stat sheet. Morgan missed the team's Week 2 game against the Lions because of a hamstring injury.
"The plays that you kind of notice statistically, they happen or they don't,'' LeBeau said. "But if a player is consistent in his execution and effort, he is going to have some games that are going to be up there productivity-wise also. He can play a great game, any given player, and really not show up that much on the statistic sheet but if you ask the opponent they'll say, 'That guy is a handful.' I think Derrick is always in that category. He may get sacks this week, he may not get it the next week. But he is going to get pressure every week.
"He is one of our veteran leaders and he's done a great job for us on defense."
Morgan, a first-round pick by the Titans in 2010 out of Georgia Tech, has 33 career sacks.
Halfway into this season, however, he's only one sack away from his career high for a season – Morgan had 6.5 in 2012, and then again in 2014. Morgan recorded 5.5 sacks during an injury-shortened season in 2015. In addition to his 5.5 sacks this season, Morgan also has 14 quarterback pressures.
On Sunday, Morgan will try and add to his total against Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. On the season, Rivers has 2,285 passing yards with 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He's been sacked 21 times.
"He is one of the more vocal quarterbacks I've ever played against,'' Morgan, smiling, said of Rivers. "I have never seen a quarterback get an unsportsmanlike penalty for talking too much to the refs. But he is a very fierce competitor, and I respect his game.
"And he is still playing at a high level, so you have to respect that."