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Music City Miracles - All Posts An SB Nation Blog for Tennessee Titans Fans
A Titans win in Oakland might break FanPulseby Jimmy Morris on December 6, 2019 at 9:48 pm
We have been tracking this FanPulse graph since back before the season started. There have been many ups and downs over the course of the season- not coincidentally just like the play of the field. I voted “meh” in the poll until this week after the win against the Colts. That was the last hurdle I needed to see them get over before being confident again. That puts me in a very scary place. The percentage of people that said they were confident after the win in week 1 was 89%. This week that number was 75%. There is no reason it shouldn’t go higher than 89% with a win against the Raiders. This week the Titans have a chance to exorcise another one of their demons- the West Coast. It has not been kind to the Titans over the years. The most recent disaster was in 2017 when they lost in back to back weeks to the Cardinals and 49ers. They left 8-4. They came back 8-6. Can they get over another hurdle this week?
Titans officially rule out four for Sunday’s game in Oaklandby Mike B. Herndon on December 6, 2019 at 8:24 pm
Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images Tennessee will be shorthanded on the road for a big AFC matchup. The Titans held their final full practice of the week heading into their first trip to the west coast since 2017, and unfortunately, the injury report remains pretty lengthy. The team has officially ruled out cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, cornerback LeShaun Sims, wide receiver Adam Humphries, and special teams ace Daren Bates for Sunday’s tilt with the Raiders. The good news is that Derrick Henry, Corey Davis, A.J. Brown, Ben Jones, and Jurrell Casey are all good to go after missing at least some parts of practice this week. #Titans injury report and game status for Sunday vs. #Raiders. Adam Humphries OUT pic.twitter.com/f35Nav4gLq— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) December 6, 2019 That means the Titans will be without three of their top four cornerbacks — Malcolm Butler has been on IR since Carolina — for this game. Not ideal. We will likely get a long look at newcomer Tramaine Brock as well as Tye Smith and possibly Kareem Orr during this game. Smith and Orr both had positive moments in the game against the Colts, but they’re certainly not as talented as the guys that were playing ahead of them and Brock has been with the team for all of three days. Communication from veterans like Kevin Byard, Logan Ryan, and Kenny Vaccaro in the back end will be critical. However, if you had to choose an NFL team to play against while depleted at the cornerback position, you just might pick the current iteration of the Oakland Raiders. Tight end Darren Waller leads the team with 66 grabs for 807 yards. The top wide receiver on the team is offseason free agent addition Tyrell Williams who has just 33 catches for 489 yards. With rookie slot receiver Hunter Renfrow ruled out with a rib injury, the Raiders are left with Zay Jones (13 catches, 102 yards), Keelan Doss (7 catches, 90 yards), and Trevor Davis (7 catches, 83 yards) as the next most productive options behind Williams. While we did see the Colts group of lightly regarded receivers do some damage against the Titans secondary last week, I don’t think playing Brock and Smith against the likes of Williams and Jones and Doss is a huge mismatch that is likely to be exploited by the Raiders. The other big name that Tennessee will be missing in Oakland is slot receiver Adam Humphries who missed practice all week with an ankle injury. Humphries is third on the Titans with 37 catches for 374 yards behind A.J. Brown and Corey Davis. He’s been a reliable third down target for Ryan Tannehill and his presence on that critical down will be missed. It’ll be interesting to see how the Titans deal with Humphries’ absence. Tight end Anthony Firkser is sometimes used as a jumbo slot receiver on third downs and I could see his role expanding this week along with Kalif Raymond — who scored a 40-yard touchdown from the slot last week — and Tajae Sharpe (if he returns... he’s listed as questionable after missing the Colts game). If Sharpe can’t go, Cody Hollister could get some meaningful snaps as well. He had a couple catches last week and showed some flashes during the preseason of being a big-bodied, sure-handed possession type receiver. Bates is an important loss for the special teams units. He’s a leader in that phase of the game and has made some big plays for the Titans this season. Rookie David Long and veteran Wesley Woodyard will probably be in line to take some of Bates’ snaps on coverage and return units. In addition to Renfrow, the Raiders have also ruled out starting right tackle Trent Brown with a pectoral injury. He is a massive loss (both figuratively and literally) for the best unit on the Oakland roster. The Raiders are yet to file their Friday practice report so we will update here when we know more, but right guard Gabe Jackson (knee), center Rodney Hudson (ankle), running back Josh Jacobs (shoulder), and safety Lamarcus Joyner (hamstring) are also players to monitor when the final report does come out. Hudson, one of the best centers in the NFL, played through his ankle injury last week so I’d expect him to be good to go and Offensive Rookie of the Year frontrunner Jacobs has been playing through a fractured shoulder and has a chance to play through it again this week because NFL players are absurdly tough.
Let’s get Brett Kern and Derrick Henry to the Pro Bowlby Jimmy Morris on December 6, 2019 at 3:13 pm
Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images It’s not like we don’t already know that Pro Bowl voting is garbage, but if you need further confirmation, I present this tweet from, as Mike Keith calls him, The Great Jim Wyatt: .@brettkern6 is currently 6th among punters in Pro Bowl voting by fans. @KingHenry_2 is currently 10th for running backs. No other @Titans are currently in the top 10 at their respective positions. Pro Bowl voting ends on December 12.— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) December 4, 2019 This is just stupid. Brett Kern leads the league in punts inside the 20 and is in the top 3 in net average. If you have watched the Titans this year, you know what a weapon Kern has been for this team. He is no doubt the best punter in the league. It would be a disaster for him to not be in the Pro Bowl. And come on with Derrick Henry being 10th. Henry is third in the league in rushing yards, 3rd in rushing TDs, and 3rd in the league in yards per attempt*. Titans players often get punished for playing in a small market when it comes to things like the Pro Bowl. The good thing is there is something we can do about this. The NFL is allowing voted to happen via Twitter through December 12th. If you use @brettkern6 and @KingHenry_2 and #ProBowlVote in a tweet it counts as a vote. Go ahead and tag @TitansMCM and @jmorrisMCM in those tweets and I will retweet them which counts for another vote. We can ban together and get these guys to the Pro Bowl! *Among running backs with more than 200 carries
Titans News: Striving for Perfectionby Robert Greenlaw on December 6, 2019 at 12:00 pm
Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports Derrick Henry has been pretty good this year, especially in the past month or so. However he still has room to grow in not fumbling the ball, he says. Jurrell Casey is just 1 sack away from his 50th sack with the Titans. He should have an opportunity against the Raiders on Sunday to reach that milestone. Gil Brandt has Ryan Tannehill as his NUMBER ONE most underrated player this year. It is hard to disagree. Tannehill has played like a top 5 QB since he took over the starting gig, with no signs of slowing down. Odell Beckham is mum regarding where he’ll be playing next year. It is truly amazing how an inept offense like the Giants got him involved on a regular basis, but Baker Mayfield and Freddie Kitchens can’t seem to figure out how to best utilize him. Be free, Odell. At #9 on the NFL.com QB rankings comes Ryan Tannehill. What an unbelievable story. I hope he keeps it up against a Raiders team that is beatable but could possibly play spoiler to the Titans and their playoff hopes.
Titans Week 13 Offensive Efficiency Reportby Justin Graver on December 6, 2019 at 3:22 am
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images The Titans offense had an up-and-down day in their huge 31-17 divisional win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, turning it over a couple of times but also managing 24 offensive points and producing the first 90+ yard rusher allowed by the Colts this season. So let’s dive into the numbers, continuing our look at the Titans offensive efficiency output and updating our season-long averages and splits. (You can find last week’s version of this article here if you missed it.) Drive Success Rate “Drive success rate” (DSR) refers to the percentage of 4-down series resulting in either a first down or a touchdown. Here’s the Titans’ success rates for the week compared to season-long averages: The Titans converted 15 of 23 down series in Week 13, their lowest since the Week 8 win over Tampa Bay when they posted a 60.8% DSR. The Colts played well on defense for most of the game, using creative pressure packages to get home for SIX sacks on the day. That plus two one-play fumble drives will hurt this efficiency metric. Yards Per Drive Here are the Titans’ average yards gained on each drive for Week 13 compared to season-long averages: The Titans gained 288 on 11 drives against Indianapolis, excluding the final drive of the game when they successfully ran out the clock (thanks to the first defensive penalty committed by the Colts since Week 10). This is also the Titans lowest mark since Week 8, when they averaged just 20.7 yards per drive. It wasn’t the most efficient day for the offense, as they struggled to get much going and largely did not move the ball effectively for the majority of this game. Three and Outs Three-and-outs per drive is a simple stat measuring how frequently an offense takes possession and fails to convert a first down, turnovers excluded. Here’s the week 13 numbers against the season averages: Another statistic that represents the Titans inefficient offensive outing. The Titans were guilty of 3 three-and-outs on 11 drives, their highest rate since — you guessed it — Week 8, when they posted a 3&O/drive number of 0.333. Red Zone Performance The Titans ended their 10-touchdown red zone streak against the Jaguars when Ryan Tannehill was strip sacked, and this weekend, the team settled for their first red zone field goal of the Tannehill era following a “three-and-out” after Kevin Byard returned an interception to the Colts’ 14-yard line. They converted their other two red zone trips into touchdowns, giving them a 67% conversion rate in this game. Let’s see how that compares to the season averages: Despite the drop in overall conversion rate, the Titans still lead the league in red zone touchdown percentage at 71.88%, narrowly edging Green Bay’s 70%. Play Action Frequency This is a category I added to the report last week and have now updated to compare with Week 13’s results: The Titans used play action more frequently in this game than in any Tannehill start besides the win over Jacksonville, and it continues to be very effective. Just look at Tannehill’s passer rating the last three weeks when using play action. If you missed Dan Orlovsky breaking down Tannehill’s performance, check out the video below. Orlovsky talks about how Tannehill’s confidence, decisiveness, and accuracy throwing the ball are allowing the passing game to function with play action even when the linebackers don’t bite on the play fake. The QB with the best QBR the last few weeks? guy. The QB that’s 5-1 in last 6 starts? guy. The QB that is trusting his eyes with confidence? guy. @ryantannehill1 has been a stud this year for @titans @titansmcm @paulkuharskynfl @jwyattsports @hutton1045 @espnnfl pic.twitter.com/PfFiD5r9qf— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) December 5, 2019 By the way, how bout all this national attention the Titans are receiving this week? The battered fan in me is wary of all the national praise, but also excited. Check out this clip below, too. That’s what exciting offense will do for you! One key to Ryan Tannehill's resurgence with the #Titans: he's logging long hours in the building, even on Friday nights. The preparation is showing up on Sundays. @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/KJlbTZJopK— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 5, 2019 More national attention means more hype which means better chance of Tannehill and Henry getting into the Pro Bowl. Tight Window Throws If you’ve missed the last few editions of this article, I encourage you to read my Week 12 Efficiency Report for a quick refresher on Next Gen Stats’s “aggressiveness percentage” and “completion percentage over expectation.” Those who’ve been keeping up with this series know that I’ve maintained the belief that Tannehill’s aggressiveness percentage needs to come down in order for the passing offense to sustain success. It’s nice to see Tannehill’s aggressiveness percentage come down for the second straight week, but if we take his average as a starter (eliminating his Week 6 numbers), Tannehill is still 4th in the NFL for aggressiveness % on the season! Again, if you missed my explanation of why aggressiveness percentage shouldn’t be so high and what it all means in last week’s article, you can check that out here. Completion Percentage Over Expectation Ryan Tannehill has held a firm grip on the NFL lead for completion percentage above expectation since he first took over as the starting quarterback with an insane +22.1% number in his first start for Tennessee. After last week’s +11% over expectation (3rd in the NFL for the week), Tannehill is up to +9.6% on the season, a full 3.7% higher than the second place Russell Wilson. This number shows how well Tannehill has been playing compared to his peers more than any other stat. More on that in a bit... Negative Plays Henry again only suffered one negative run in this game, bringing his total up to 2 over the last 4 games. That’s a far cry from his 29 negative runs during the first 8 games (3.6 negative rushes per game on average over that span). NFL’s NextGenStats Henry still leads the league in total negative rushes with 31, and in fact his 29 negative carries from weeks 1-8 would be the league-high by itself (Chris Carson is next with 28). The Titans as a team are first in the NFL in total negative plays with 58, and this stat does not include sacks. After Tannehill was sacked six times on Sunday, the Titans are also tied for the NFL lead in sacks allowed at 49 (25 by Mariota in nearly 6 games, 24 by Tannehill in just over 6 games, 4 of which came on 4 possessions against Denver). The Titans had only one other negative play on Sunday, when they tried to run a screen to Jonnu Smith that was dropped for a 2 yard loss. Until this game on Sunday, the Titans had done a much better job limiting the negative plays in recent weeks, corresponding to the dramatic increase in offensive output. Operating without negative plays is obviously huge for any team’s efficiency. Over the course of this season, the Titans have been the worst team in the league at avoiding negative plays. Ben Baldwin charts Expected Points Added per play as well as Completion Percentage Over Expectation. Tannehill finally hit the 200 dropback threshold last weekend, allowing him to qualify for these statistics. EPA + CPOE composite through Week 13We have a new No. 1...and I am owned pic.twitter.com/xV8MdEQ98Y— new-age analytical (@benbbaldwin) December 3, 2019 The driving force behind Tannehill’s top spot in the 2019 DAKOTA ratings is his insane CPOE (mentioned earlier). His EPA/dropback is actually quite low by comparison, ranking 12th among qualified passers. The reason for the relatively low EPA/dropback is the high sack total. When Tannehill actually throws the ball (or takes off with his legs), he is currently the most effective quarterback (statistically speaking) in the league. The offense has been performing very well, but negative plays will always keep them from reaching their full potential. Conclusions The offense didn’t have its best outing last weekend at Lucas Oil Stadium, but they did enough to keep the game close until the special teams unit made a huge play to turn the tide of the match. Then the offense did its job to ice away the game with Tannehill’s 40-yard touchdown to Khalif Raymond before they successfully ran out the clock with Henry (helped by an Indianapolis offsides penalty on the game’s final third down). The most impressive part of the offense’s day was the two touchdown drives that immediately followed touchdowns by the opposition. After the Colts converted Derrick Henry’s early fumble into a score to go up 7-0, Tannehill answered with an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive capped off with a 3rd-and-8 conversion in the red zone for an Adam Humphries touchdown. Then, in the second half, the Colts took a 17-7 lead with a long touchdown drive to start the third quarter. The Titans immediately responded, with Henry rushing for 60 of the drive’s 75 yards. The team overcame a holding penalty to pick up a first down and then overcame the only second-half sack they allowed with Henry’s 4th-and-1 touchdown run. So although it wasn’t the most efficient day on offense, it was encouraging to see the team drive the field for touchdowns when they needed them and step up to seal the victory.