Last week when the Colts offense took the field in Nashville, they were greeted by a new look Titans defense. Second year linebacker Akeem Ayers was shifted to defensive end and was on the field almost exclusively in passing situations. Ayers, the team's leading tackler, found himself on the sideline for more than half of the Titans’ defensive plays. Through the first seven games this season, Ayers was on the field for over 90 percent of defensive snaps, but a well-rested Ayers proved dominant against the Colts as the former UCLA standout harassed Andrew Luck, racking up seven tackles and a sack. Ayers hopes to give Jay Cutler the same treatment.
Ayers spoke with John Glennon of The Tennessean regarding his new role:
“It’s something where I feel like I can be a lot more disruptive in pass-rushing situations, just using my instincts and working at it,” said Ayers. “I feel like I have a good knack for getting to the quarterback because that’s what I did in college.”
While the Titans defense seems to be on the rise, the Bears defense has taken the league by storm. The Bears are tied for the lead in the NFL with 16 interceptions, with Tim Jennings leading the team with six picks of his own. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck hasn’t thrown a pick in his last two starts, but the veteran knows he will have to be perfect to keep that streak going against the Bears. Hasselbeck shared his thoughts with Tennessean reporter Jim Wyatt.
“You can tell when they play an offense, they understand the concepts of what the offense is trying to do and also the timing that they’re trying to do it,” Hasselbeck said. “So it’s all got to line up perfectly for us to take that opportunity, take that shot or whatever.”