NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans' defense found success by harassing Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz over the past two weeks. Bortles and Wentz are veteran quarterbacks and didn't throw any interceptions, but that could change in Week 5 when the Titans face Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen.
Allen is coming off a bad game against the Green Bay Packers -- he threw two interceptions and also fumbled. The Packers were able to cause turnovers by being aggressive up front.
Tennessee would be wise to devise a similar plan for Sunday's game. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees has been timely with his cornerback blitzes, resulting in sacks by Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler. Those nickel blitzes could come in handy against Allen, who is struggling to recognize when the blitz is coming and with making last-second adjustments.
ESPN football analyst and former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky saw some of Allen's issues against the blitz when he watched the rookie's film from last week.
"There's a difference between being a thrower and a quarterback in the NFL," Orlovsky said. "There's a process of information for them every play. Josh Allen, sometimes he looks surprised by stuff. I have to question, do you have a plan at the line of scrimmage? Do you understand the problem the defense is presenting to you? That's processing information. I need to get these questions answered with Allen's game, because it shows up too much on tape for me."
One of Allen's two interceptions against the Packers came as Green Bay loaded the line and sent a linebacker on an inside blitz. Allen was flushed from the pocket and made a careless deep pass to the middle of the field that was easily intercepted by Packers rookie cornerback Jaire Alexander.
Although it didn't yield the same results, the Titans found a great deal of success sending linebacker Jayon Brown on inside-gap blitzes. Brown registered a sack and got a hit on Wentz on another blitz last week. Titans head coach Mike Vrabel was impressed with Brown's play on Sunday and has hope for future improvement.
"He was one of those guys that was probably a player of the game on defense," Vrabel said. "His understanding has improved. He's a very productive player. He's filling up the stat sheet. He's helping us win. I think his awareness is slowly starting to improve just in his second year. We're just going to need him to play well every week and continue improving."
Given how Green Bay was able to rush along the inside effectively, Brown should be in line for another outstanding performance in Week 5.
With roughing the passer being a point of emphasis for officials, Tennessee's pass-rushers could face an added challenge when they do get to Allen, because at 6-foot-5, 237 pounds, there isn't a gentle way to bring him down.
Pees offered his advice on how to make sure his defenders finish the play without penalty.
"The thing is, just like Ben Roethlisberger, there are big guys. You have to be able to wrap them up. If you try to roll off of them too soon, you could lose them. You just have to hit him hard, do the right thing and not land on him," Pees said.
There will be plenty of pressure applied by Tennessee's defense. Allen has thrown four interceptions in three starts this season, and most of them happened when the rookie was under duress. If the Titans can add to that total, they have better odds of leaving Buffalo with a win.