Things aren’t looking good for the Tennessee Titans right now, as the team can’t seem to right the sinking ship. In yet another game where the defense was effective enough to give the team a victory, the offense was unable to get anything going and ultimately threw out another one. Things are beginning to look a bit bleak unless coach Vrabel has something hidden up his sleeve.
To begin, we will discuss the biggest piece of news coming out of Sundays’ matchup against the Broncos — the change at quarterback.
With just under 5 minutes remaining in the third quarter, the decision was made to pull Marcus Mariota and replace him with Ryan Tannehill. I have said all season that Mariota cannot be solely blamed for the poor performance on offense, and I continued to stand by that. Up until this matchup, he had yet to turn the ball over. And while he wasn’t the most prolific passer, he was doing enough to at least keep the train on the tracks. That was until yesterday when he had a total of 63 yards passing on 18 attempts and tacking on two interceptions.
The offensive line still can’t seem to keep opposing pass rushers out of the pocket, giving up two sacks with Mariota at the helm, and another 4 when Tannehill took over. While Tannehill was able to complete 13 passes for 144 yards, it wasn’t enough to get the team back in the game and they ultimately were unable to put anything on the board before the final whistle blew.
The Titans coaching staff has stated to reporters that they will be deciding who will be their starting quarterback for next week and potentially moving forward. While most teams will go through some shifting at the position from time to time, coach Vrabel has made it known that he doesn’t want to use a “revolving door” or “hot hand” approach when it comes to the quarterback position because it is so vital to the team’s continuity and cohesion.
So with that said, if there is going to be a change at quarterback, it could likely remain that way for the rest of the season. While many fans may be calling out for a change at QB, I would like to point out that things may not get better right away — or at all. Tannehill is new to the team having been traded from the Dolphins this offseason is still getting familiar with the system. In terms of abilities, I think he and Mariota are closer than most would like to admit. All this to say, I think if a change at QB were to happen, things may not necessarily get better for the offense.
The QB position wasn’t the only spot on offense where the effort was lacking in the mile high city. With so few passing yards to go around it isn’t a surprise that the pass catchers were pretty quiet with Adam Humphries leading the team with six receptions for 47 yards, followed by Delanie Walker with three for 43.
Surprisingly, the ground game was even more lackluster with Derrick Henry only racking up 28 yards on 15 carries, easily his worst performance this year. This goes back to what I said earlier about the offensive line being unable to hold the pocket, or create holes for Henry to run through, but still he wasn’t able to get free on one or two plays like he usually does to break off a long run.
Overall the offense continues to falter and cannot get things moving. The Titans were only able to convert on two third down attempts and totaled just 12 first downs for the whole game.
A change at QB wont be the only piece to figure out if the Titans hope to get things going.
The defense continues to be strong, having only allowed a total of 92 points to be scored through six games, but the lack of scoring on the other side of the ball will continue to hurt. Even though overall the defense looked good, they weren’t too effective — only sacking Flacco once on Sunday and only gaining one interception courtesy of Byard again. Still they rank in the top 5 in the league through the first six weeks and have the ability to continue to hold opposing squads to low point totals, Vrabel and his ground and pound mindset continues to work for this tough Tennessee D.
Next week the Titans will host the Los Angeles Chargers who themselves looked pretty poor in their game this week against the Steelers. The Chargers weren’t clicking on offense and gave up some pretty big plays. That being said, they were still able to rally and attempt a come back, scoring 17 points against a tough Steelers squad. Regardless of the man leading the charge — either Mariota or Tannehill — Tennessee needs to figure out something on offense to give this team life again.
Next week has potential to be a bounce back game, and there will be the advantage of playing at home, but if the Titans aren’t able to pull this next one out, playing at home may not be as welcoming as you would hope.
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