Titans look to short-circuit Chargers' ability to create, exploit individual matchups

The challenge for the Tennessee Titans defense Sunday is not so much the San Diego Chargers offense.

It’s the players on the San Diego offense.

“They’re isolating people and not really worrying about trying to win the whole game,” Tennessee defensive coordinator Jerry Gray said Thursday. “It’s ‘We’re going to win one play at a time and that’s eventually going to win the game.’ … They’re matching up guys that they can win with.”

The Chargers (1-1) are in their first year under head coach Mike McCoy, who in four seasons as Denver Broncos offensive coordinator proved he was more concerned with his personnel than he was with any system.

There, in 2011, he tailored his offense – at mid-season, no less – to quarterback Tim Tebow, and the Broncos made the postseason and won a playoff game. Last year, Peyton Manning set a franchise record with 37 touchdown passes in a season.

In a Q&A included in San Diego’s media materials, McCoy says the most overrated aspect of football is “thinking you have to have 100 plays designed for a game instead of just doing what you do best.”

“I think we’ve done some things to set the foundation for what we want to build on,” San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers said. “But we have a long way to go, and the Titans are our next challenge.”

And vice versa for a Titans defense that has looked much improved over 2012.

“When my matchup is better than your matchup [I’m] probably going to win that down,” Gray said. “That’s what I see them doing a lot when they get [wide receiver] Edie Royal matched up on the guy they want, they get [tight end Antonio] Gates matched up and [then] it’s [running back Danny] Woodhead.”

A look at some of San Diego’s individual accomplishments through the first two weeks of the season:

• Rivers leads the NFL in third-down completion percentage (20-25, 80 percent) and passer rating 132.0.

• Royal has five receiving touchdowns most in the NFL. No one else had more than three.

• Gates leads AFC tight ends and is tied for second among all tight end in receptions for first downs (nine). He has 10 catches total.

• Woodhead’s six third-down receptions are most by any running back or tight end.