Danny Kelly from The Ringer wrote an excellent article diving in to possible fixes for the Titans offense and Marcus Mariota specifically. I’d highly suggest you check it out here. While it is written with a fantasy football audience in mind, the suggestions and takeaways he gives are more geared towards fixing the Titans offense as a whole.
I think he’s spot on with a lot of his ideas. He advocates for more play action passing from under center which is something that Mariota is excelling at this year. I completely agree here. I don’t think its a coincidence that the top four NFL teams in play action percentage are the Rams, Eagles, Patriots, and Vikings. The Titans are middle of the pack when it comes to the volume of play action, but they are 1st in the league when it comes to effectiveness averaging a whopping 10.3 yards per play action attempt. The play action clearly has not been hindered by the struggles of the running game this year and they need to use it more, particularly on 1st and 2nd down.
The second big takeaway Kelly had was that the Titans should be running out of shotgun more often to keep teams off balance when Mariota isn’t under center. I think the lack of shotgun running plays is due to DeMarco Murray being more comfortable running from traditional, under center formations. However, that issue sorts itself out if the Titans start using Derrick Henry more down the stretch — which they should.
These suggestions largely run counter to the popular ”more shotgun passing” argument and I have to say I agree with Kelly here. In addition to expanding on what they already do well, these tweaks could also help the running game by putting linebackers on their heels instead of their toes when the Titans do decide to run the ball.
I would also add another suggestion to Kelly’s list: get back to the read plays and RPOs that were so successful earlier in the season. For whatever reason — maybe they got spooked by the big hits Mariota took against Cincinnati— the Titans have gotten away from using their QB’s running ability over the past two games. He was highly effective in those plays as recently as the Bengals game, but they’ve disappeared from the playbook the last couple weeks despite some serious offensive struggles. I’m not calling for him to be used as a runner all the time like Cam Newton, but they need to be using zone read type plays more often than they are right now. After all, they are tops in the NFL in yards per attempt on those plays as well.
These teams get the most out of the Zone Read play this season! (excluding Thanksgiving games)#KeepPounding #TitanUp #FlyEaglesFly #Browns #DallasCowboys #Texans #Seahawks #Jaguars #Bengals50 #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/FOSbaDV7gj— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) November 24, 2017
While the offense has struggled for most of 2017, there are clearly some things that this offense does well. They just need to do more of them.
What do you think? How would you fix the Titans offense?