NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Titans are talking a lot about lining up properly, communicating better and improved tackling to tighten up their defense.
Translated, they want to get back to the basics.
Tennessee ranks as one of the NFL's stingier defenses in most areas. But the Titans have lost five of six with too many mistakes defending the run where they've slumped to a tie for 20th giving up 117.1 yards per game. Get them inside the 20, they're one of the league's worst.
The Titans (4-6) need to improve on defense heading to Oakland (4-6) on Sunday where the Raiders have been running the ball very well and even using the wildcat. The Raiders rank fourth in the NFL averaging 145.4 yards per game.
Tennessee let Indianapolis run on 10 of 11 plays to help seal a 30-27 win last week.
Defensive coordinator Jerry Gray said Thursday they've got to make sure that doesn't happen again, and he said they need to rise up and make a play to give the ball back to the offense. He said the Titans have to make sure they're not thinking so much about rushing quarterbacks that they neglect stopping the run.
"That formula was working for the first six weeks," Gray said. "It's still working for good teams that understand ... We got to make sure we get back to making sure we're not pass rushing on run downs."
Tennessee stopped the run well through the first few weeks with middle linebacker
Ayers may be wearing the helmet allowing communication with coaches on the sideline. Gray said Fokou should give the Titans a little more stability, but he wants everyone to make sure they get the call right.
"Get the call called in the huddle and get everybody on the same page," Gray said.
The Titans currently rank 10th in yards allowed, seventh against the pass and have allowed a league-low seven touchdown passes this season with only one allowed in the past six weeks.
Tennessee has given up at least two touchdowns on the ground in each of the past four games, including three to the Colts.
"I think it's more about guys being out of position, about guys not hitting the right gap," coach Mike Munchak said. "All of a sudden, you're out of position. That's what we were doing a good job this year avoiding being out of position."
NOTES: Munchak said surgery to repair QB