You've heard the coach speak before. About winning all three phases of the game. Sounds simple right? Offense, Defense, and Special Teams.
As simple as it may be, the Titans have been unable to compete in any phase for three straight games.
As expected with any team playing like this, the quarterback is at the height of the controversy. In fact, regardless of the record there was an extra focus on Jake Locker going into this year. This was his final chance to prove he belonged at the helm of an NFL team.
But with all the focus on Locker, it seems we may have missed the forest for the trees so to speak.
The offense has shown spurts between the 20's, but has failed to get points at the end of drives. Make no mistake about it, Charlie Whitehurst didn't look like a world beater, but he played well enough to win an NFL matchup. The Titans wide receiver corps seems to have been grossly over hyped entering the season, especially Justin Hunter. This has nothing to do with quarterback play, but rather his inability to mentally do what he needs to do and catch what he needs to catch. Kendall Wright continues to play hard, but has had his share of missteps as well including a fumble in this weekends game. Nate Washington looks like he's not only lost a step, but his hands went missing as well. The offensive line is a liability on passing downs and while the team seems to be running the ball well, there's either no chance to do it due to early deficits, or the coaching staff is just stubborn.
The defense was a concern heading into the year after looking lost in the preseason. After a great game against the Chiefs to start the season out, they have returned to form. Whether it be the inability to stop the run, get consistent pressure on the quarterback or even hold coverage in the secondary, the defense hasn't shown up yet. The Titans currently sit at 5th in points allowed in the league. It's hard to tell whether it's the scheme or the players, but at this point opposing teams just need to double down on Jurrell Casey and not worry about the rest.
Special teams has been a sore spot for the Titans ever since Alan Lowry was let go. The punt protection has been horrible, the Titans have been duped by an onside kick, and there has been little to no return on Dexter McCluster or Leon Washington getting up the field and gaining field position. Throw in the laissez faire attitude towards the kicking position and I begin to wonder how prepared this unit is in general.
This team looks uninspired and ill prepared. They also look undisciplined which was a constant complaint of the Mike Munchak era. Maybe this is all just part of the learning curve and the growing pains of new coaches and a new system. Maybe the players are the problem and not the coaching. But for what it's worth, Mike Munchak only lost to the Colts by more than 1 score once in his three years at head coach, and while he couldn't quite get the games won, at least they were close.
Yes, the quarterback gets extra criticism as well as extra accolades due to the nature of the position. But this team has a lot more wrong with it right now than who's throwing the ball.