December 15, 2011
By Paul Kuharsky
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Karl Klug is shockingly modest, which is refreshing from a defensive lineman who’s made a good share of plays.
Instead of choreographing sack dances, he’s minimizing his work in a rookie season that already includes six sacks, the fourth-most for any defensive tackle in the NFL and fifth-most for any rookie. It’s the most sacks for a rookie defensive tackle in franchise history.
He’s got three in his last two games as a nickel rusher, including two in last week’s loss to the Saints.
But to hear him tell it, it wasn’t a very good effort.
“The thing is, that’s only two plays out of the entire game,” he said. “That’s all I made. I don’t really feel like I had a good game. Yeah it looks nice on the stat sheet, but I’d like to make more plays.”
He also said that half his sacks this season have been a result of great coverage that’s made the quarterback hold the ball too long.
Jason Jones’ locker is next to Klug’s, and he overheard these comments.
He said the fifth-round draft pick out of Iowa is being too modest.
“In this league, when you get a sack, you’ve got to take it how you can get it, man,” Jones said. “I’d like six sacks right now, I’ll tell you that. … You’ve got to be humble, that’s good, and he’s coming in and doing his job.”
Coach Mike Munchak said Klug’s got great hands and is doing things that go far beyond his six sacks, 26 tackles and four passes defensed.
Klug had a four-game stretch without a quarterback takedown before the production against Tampa Bay and New Orleans, but it didn’t represent a lull.
“Sometimes you play some teams where even though you’re doing well it doesn’t show up in the box score, you don’t see the tackles or the sacks, but he’s actually doing a lot of good things out there,” Munchak said.
“He creates a lot of problems out there. He’s gotten a lot of pressures, he’s forced quarterbacks out of the pocket quite a bit, he’s beaten his guy when the ball gets out. He wins one-on-one quite a bit.”
That’s a pretty good review.
The Titans’ 2011 draft class looks great so far, and so far Klug qualifies as an excellent find.