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Music City Miracles - All Posts An SB Nation Blog for Tennessee Titans Fans

  • Week 3 around the AFC South
    by Jimmy Morris on September 23, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images Week 3 was good for every team in the AFC South- besides the one we follow here of course. There has been so much talk about that loss that I feel like it has already been a month since the game was played. Sometimes I hate football. The most frustrating thing for me on Sunday was watching the Colts beat the Falcons 27-24. I am sitting there watching Jacoby Brissett and wishing Marcus Mariota could look as good as Brissett does. How crazy is that? How much does that suck? Well, that is our reality. As soon as that game ended on CBS the Texans and Chargers came on the TV. Then we got to watch Deshaun Watson and Philip Rivers do battle. Remember when there was a rumor that the Titans were going to trade the second pick in 2015 draft to the Chargers for Rivers? Does anyone else that didn’t want them to do that at the time wish they would have done it now? Oh well. The Texans won that game 27-20. AFC South Week 3 Standings Texans 2-1 Colts 2-1 Jaguars 1-2 Titans 1-2

  • Titans News: Dose of Reality
    by Robert Greenlaw on September 23, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports No Titans game on Sunday means we get to watch other teams with a little more attentiveness. While I was watching Sunday’s games an opinion others have voiced, and I’ve agreed with became extremely clear after the 1st and 2nd slate of games completed. Marcus Mariota is not the answer for the Titans. Daniel Jones and Kyle Allen were unbelievable on Sunday, throwing into tight windows, and succeeding, keeping their eyes downfield, all things Marcus is not doing. It was a sobering Sunday when you see backups turned starters having successful NFL offenses, and all we have to look forward to is a pissed of Falcons team inevitably having their best performance of the season against us. The up and down performance of Mariota (which is a theme in every game and every season) was something that stood out to Jim Wyatt in last Thursday Night’s loss. Jim Wyatt answers a lot of angry fans in this week’s mailbag. Its tough to disagree with them, what we’ve seen so far is unacceptable. Mike Vrabel said that he wasn’t very close to making a QB change on Thursday night. I think that is probably the correct approach, due to the fact that once you hit that Tannehill button, you can’t go back. My prediction is that they’ll give Marcus through week 6 to improve and if he hasn’t, they’ll make the switch to Ryan.

  • NFL Week 3 Open Thread
    by Justin Graver on September 22, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images The Titans played on Thursday night, which means on this fine Sunday, we can sit back, relax, not feel the stress of impending disaster, and watch NFL football around the league. At noon, Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes square off in what could be a very exciting game. Luke Falk will be starting for the Jets against the Patriots today, and Josh Rosen will be making his first start for Miami against the Dallas Cowboys. Other games I’ll be watching closely include the Falcons at Colts, as the Titans head to Atlanta next weekend, and the Bengals at Bills, to get a head start looking at the Titans’ Week 5 opponent (Buffalo). The afternoon slate includes Houston traveling to Los Angeles to play the Titans Week 7 opponent, the Chargers, as well as Daniel Jones’ first career start against the Buccaneers. Two other backup quarterbacks play this afternoon in Mason Rudolph for Pittsburgh against the 49ers and some combination of Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill for New Orleans against the Seahawks. And the Rams play the Browns in what could be a pretty fun game of Sunday Night Football to close out the day. From the perspective of a Titans fan... if the Texans to lose to the Chargers (very possible) and the Colts to the Falcons (also very possible), the sky won’t be falling on the 2019 season quite as much as it seems. Speaking of that, on our last podcast, James and I discussed our “sky is falling” overreactions to Thursday night’s loss, flipped the coin and talked reasons to stay optimistic, and assessed blame for the Titans disastrous performance. We concluded by examining Mariota’s future in Nashville. You can check that episode out below... And use this thread to discuss today’s games!

  • Mike Vrabel says the Titans aren’t considering a QB change right now
    by Jimmy Morris on September 20, 2019 at 7:00 pm

    Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images Mike Vrabel was asked at his day after press conference if the Titans are considering benching Marcus Mariota and going with Ryan Tannehill. Here was his answer: No. Vrabel says #Titans not contemplating change at QB. pic.twitter.com/qZlUR5MgmN— Teresa Walker (@TeresaMWalker) September 20, 2019 It is time for the Titans to consider going to Tannehill. I am not sure how much of a difference it would make because the offense as a whole is a disaster, but Mariota is just lost back there. Terry and I talked about that on our latest MCM Radio (listen here). Hopefully the Titans will take these extra few days this week to come up with some ways to not have an offense that looks like it has little chance of moving the ball ever. This offense has a lot of pieces that are really good. There is no excuse for the performances we have seen the last couple of weeks. I’d be surprised if we see a change at QB before we see a couple of games with Taylor Lewan at left tackle. That will be the first time the Titans have the offense they envisioned on the field. Will Lewan coming back be some sort of magic pill for this offense? I doubt it, but I understand why the Titans want to see it is a whole before making any huge decisions.

  • Where do the Titans go from here?
    by Mike B. Herndon on September 20, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports A suddenly reeling team must find answers over the next 10 days. Last night’s horror show made a few things crystal clear to me. First, the Titans offensive line desperately needs Taylor Lewan back. Dennis Kelly is a fine backup tackle, but the offensive staff obviously doesn’t trust him to hold up without significant help in pass protection. That extra help is exposing other players along the line. Second, the Titans offensive line desperately needs a right guard. Jamil Douglas as a bandaid worked fine for two games — revisionist history will say that he played poorly all along even though that’s not true — but matched up against a monster like Calais Campbell, his weaknesses were exposed. The glaring holes at left tackle and right guard are creating additional strains on the remaining offensive linemen. Third, the offensive line woes have to fall on Jon Robinson, Arthur Smith, or Keith Carter at this point. Rodger Saffold was one of the best guards in the league the last two years in LA. I saw him dominate with my own two eyes. He’s been a total mess in pass protection here so far. I struggle to blame a coach for the problems of a 31-year old in his 10th season in the league, but questions about what is going on with this offensive line have to be answered by someone. When the Titans released Josh Kline this offseason, I expected that they would aggressively address that right guard spot. Instead, they re-signed Kevin Pamphile and waited until the third round to draft a small school guard in Nate Davis who was believed to be a bit of a raw prospect by even his biggest supporters. Robinson can’t help that Pamphile and Davis suffered injuries, but Pamphile and Douglas were in an open competition all of training camp and Pamphile wasn’t able to separate himself from the guy that just received a 12.4 pass blocking grade from PFF. It’s hard to imagine he’s going to be a huge boost. Davis might offer more hope simply because he’s an unknown entity. We’ll probably find out pretty soon based on Vrabel’s post-game comments. Fourth, Marcus Mariota is completely lost as a quarterback right now. Yes, the stats will end up looking OK in the box score when we look back at this game a few years down the road, but they don’t come close to telling the whole story. Many are pointing to the nine sacks as the smoking gun for this game, and that is CLEARLY a major problem that should not be dismissed. However... Mariota was sacked just once in the first half, but his stat line heading into halftime was 6 of 16 for 62 yards. That’s 3.9 yards per attempt. Absolutely awful. Combined with all of this are major coaching issues. I thought Mike Vrabel’s first season was a relative success. Were there hiccups? Sure, but going 9-7 against one of the league’s toughest schedules while dealing with a quarterback with nerve damage is a better result than a lot of coaches would have gotten. However, there are some disturbing trends emerging with Vrabel’s decision making and they all have shown up in these past two weeks. He butchered the late game clock management against the Colts. He seems to have little rhyme or reason to when he chooses to go for it on 4th downs. He’s been stubborn with personnel choices like sticking with Adoree’ Jackson at punt returner despite very shaky decision making. The biggest concern to me, however, is the team’s tendency to start incredibly slow. The Titans have been outscored 27-3 in the 1st quarter this season, allowing an opening drive score in each game (with an assist to Jackson’s muffed punt). This is a team that is designed to play from ahead, yet starts every game flat and falls behind. That’s a major problem. There also have to be questions about his coaching staff at this point, at least on the offensive side of the ball. Has any position group shown any development over the past 19 games? Are we sure that Pat O’Hara, Rob Moore, and Keith Carter are good at their jobs? Is Arthur Smith in completely over his head as offensive coordinator? How much is Vrabel dictating the offensive game plan from week to week? It’s hard to separate the answers to a lot of these questions because they all tie together. Is Mariota’s lack of pocket presence and unwillingness to let it rip downfield making the offensive line look worse than it really is? Yes. Is the offensive line’s inconsistent blocking hurting Mariota’s confidence? Yes. Is the coaching staff putting the Titans offense in bad situations with it’s playcalling? Yes. Are the receivers getting locked up too often downfield? Yes. Is Mariota failing to give them a chance to make plays on the ball when coverage is good and missing some wide open throws when they do get free? Yes. Those issues all exist to some degree. Figuring out which ones are fixable and addressing those over the next ten days to the best of their ability is obviously priority number one, but what happens if things continue down this path on the offensive side of the ball? Obviously, there is no way the team can bring back Mariota if things don’t start to click in a big way very soon. Even if Jon Robinson was to believe that Mariota was simply a victim in this whole ordeal — I’d be pretty surprised if he did — would he be willing to bet his career on a sixth year being the charm? Robinson has yet to really choose a quarterback during his time here. He inherited Mariota and got the best year of his career out of him in 2016. By his actions he blamed Terry Robiskie for Mariota’s regression in 2017. In 2018, it seems he blamed the nerve damage suffered in Week 1. I can understand the logic for each step, but Robinson never extended Mariota. At most, he just kept kicking the can down the road, seeing if they could recapture that 2016 stretch when he looked like one of the best young QBs in football. The end of that road is here and Robinson will have to make a clear choice after this year. Double down on Mariota and try to fix the issues around him? Or find a new quarterback to build around? He doesn’t have to make that decision today and there are still 13 games left that could provide important new information that will factor into that critical decision. However, if the season ended today, it’s hard to see how the team could justify running this offensive group back. It’s worth noting that when Vrabel was initially hired, Matt LaFleur was reportedly not his first choice for offensive coordinator. The first name reported to have been offered the job was then-Ohio State co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day. He declined, accepting a pay raise to stay with the Buckeyes before eventually succeeding Urban Meyer as head coach in Columbus. Day’s offensive background is wildly different than what LaFleur brought to Tennessee. He played quarterback for Chip Kelly at New Hampshire before joining the coaching staff after graduation and has largely remained in some version of the power spread scheme that Kelly popularized while at Oregon, including a second stint on Kelly’s staffs at the NFL level. Whether Day’s plan was to import that style directly to Tennessee if he had accepted the job is impossible to know, but you can safely assume things would have looked a lot different than what we’re seeing now. Would that have made a difference in the results of the past two years? Maybe. Maybe not. The Titans chosen offensive scheme certainly isn’t inherently broken. Other NFL teams like the 49ers and Rams are running offenses with the same general framework with great success in recent years. The implementation may be different and obviously the personnel is different, but it’s not like what the Titans want to do can’t work. If the Titans do eventually decide to blow things up offensively after the season — new offensive staff, new quarterback, everything — it will be interesting to see if Vrabel looks for a different approach to scheme on that side of the ball. Pairing an offensive coach and quarterback that complement each other should be priority number one this offseason. Frankly, it seems like it should have been priority number one the last two offseasons. That’s a conversation for a different day though. For now, the Titans have to see about salvaging what’s left of their 2019 season. There are still parts to like on this offense, even after the performances of the last two weeks. Reinforcements are coming on the offensive line. Digging out of an 1-2 hole with two division losses will be tough, but the Texans managed to overcome an 0-3 start last season to win the AFC South. Can Mike Vrabel pull off a similar run coming out of this mini-bye? He was able to rally his team after eerily similar feeling back-to-back losses to Buffalo and Baltimore last year. I’ll admit that my confidence is low right now, but I’m not ready to pack it in for 2019 just yet.

 

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