After watching the game last night I have decided not to do my traditional offensive and defensive recaps. There really isn't a point. The Titans were bad in every facet of the game yesterday. At this point, I think it is more about attitude than any x's and o's on the field. The Titans have looked flat in each of the last 3 games.
Where has the running game gone? The Titans were dominant on the ground in the beginning of the season but have been terrible during this stretch. In the three losses they have had 62, 133*, and 61 yard rushing respectively. (*If you take out Vince's rushing stats from the Broncos game (74 yards on 11 carries) it is only 59 yards) Now a lot of the reason for the low yardage totals is because the Titans have been playing from behind, but they only averaged 3.3, 3.2 (minus Vince), and 3.4 yards per carry in those games. That is just simply not going to get it done.
The problem seems to be a combination of the backs and the offensive line. LenDale White just doesn't hit the holes fast enough. That is where that extra 10-15 pounds he is carrying really hurts him. I know he is never going to have a body like Eddie George, but he has to lose that 10-15 before he can be an effective NFL running back. I think they need to give Chris Brown some more touches.
The line is not opening the holes they were earlier in the season. I am not sure where the breakdowns are coming, but it seems like one guy messes up on every play. It just takes one person missing their assignment to kill a running play, especially when you have a guy like LenDale running the ball who can't make people miss. If he doesn't have that initial hole to get him running downhill he just isn't going to be effective.
The Titans had 5 chances yesterday on 3rd or 4th down with 2 yards or less to go. They successfully converted 1 of those 5 opportunities. Those types of plays are just about who wants it more. An offensive line prides itself on being able to pick up those tough yards when the other team knows what is coming. This offensive line appears to have lost that nasty mentality they had in the first half of the season. They are going to have to get that back for the Titans to have any success.
The passing game is just a mess. Vince has looked better of late, but it isn't translating into victories. He is still missing a lot of open receivers. The biggest problem is that about 8 times out of 10 Vince either misses the receiver or the receiver drops the ball. Dropped passes will kill any NFL team, but they are that much more magnified when the quarterback's accuracy is not good. I am pretty sure Chad Johnson is a free agent at the end of the season. If I were the Titans, I would back the Brink's truck up to his house. I know a lot of people don't care for his antics, and I don't so much myself, but you saw how good he is yesterday. The Titans need a guy like that who can really open up the field.
Now for the defense. Dentureboy said it very well here. I will keep it PG, it is time for Albert Haynesworth to get himself back on the field, even if it just for 10-15 plays. It is this kind of stuff that keeps the Titans from giving him a long term deal. You just never know what you are going to get from him. He can be one of the best defensive tackles you have ever seen in your life for a few games, but then just disappear because of injury or simply lack of effort for a few games. Tape it up and get back out there big fellow.
Haynesworth is not the real problem with this defense. The real problem is that the Titans only have 1 other player on the defensive line that is a quality NFL starter. The rest of these guys are 2nd or 3rd teamers at best. Randy Starks got knocked back to Nashville on one of the Bengals' TD runs yesterday. The same thing happened to Demetrin Veal on another TD run. You cannot expect to stop anyone with those types of guys. I am pretty sure Carson Palmer got hit once yesterday. You cannot give any NFL QB that much time to throw, especially not one of the top 5 guys in the league, and expect to win.
It is gut check time. The Titans are currently on the outside looking in at the playoffs, but there is still a lot of football to be played. The Titans don't need to worry about scoreboard watching at this point. They need to fix the problems in their own house before they start worrying about anyone else. The team we saw in the 1st half of the season can make the playoffs. The team that we have seen the last 3 weeks could very easily end the season 6-10. It is time for the Titans to decide which team they want to be.