Mickey Ryan of 3HL tweeted this out earlier today:
#Titans were 3rd in NFL in 3rd down % in 2016 at 46.1%. This year, they currently rank 24th and are at 36.4%.— Mickey Ryan (@MickeyRyan1045) December 15, 2017
That’s a big issue. I haven’t done a deep dive into this, but my guess is that the yardage needed on 3rd downs this year is up pretty significantly from last year. Part of the reason for that is the lack of a run game on first and second down. You may not know this, but 3rd and 2 is a lot easier to pick up than 3rd and 8. It seems like the Titans are in 3rd and 8 type situations a lot more often this year.
Inside of the running game issue, part of the reason it hasn’t been as effective is because DeMarco Murray isn’t the same back he was last year. All of those carries from early in his career seem to have caught up with him this season. That is easy for everyone to see except for Terry Robiskie and Mike Mularkey apparently.
The offensive line is also a big reason the run game hasn’t been as good. They aren’t generating the push that they did last year. Why is that? No one seems to be able to figure it out.
And then of course there is the fact that Marcus Mariota isn’t playing well. A good quarterback can cover up a multitude of issues. Marcus was able to do that last year. This year he is one of the issues, and it really shows up on 3rd down. There have been multiple times in each game this year where he is late with a throw or misses the mark on a throw. We hardly ever saw that from him last year.
We are at the point in the season where things aren’t just going to magically get better. It is going to take an offseason of really studying things to fix all of the issues listed above. Hopefully what they currently have will be enough to get them a win or two in these last three and a playoff berth.