Week to week since the Philadelphia game, Titans fans have been wondering what happened to the offense.
Can OC Matt LaFleur and the Titans offense finally get on track and produce points in London?
Bring Back RPO
Let’s face it - it’s time to bring back and implement the RPO.
Yes, flip to some plays in a section of the playbook that initially injured Marcus Mariota’s throwing hand, kept him out a week and caused him to wear a special glove for most of the season so far.
It’s a risk, but the reward is worth it. The reward is offensive points being scored.
Without the threat of Mariota utilizing his legs on designed run-pass-options, defenses are scheming to keep Mariota within arms reach and allowing a pocket to form.
The problem is, the pocket is allowed to form just long enough for Mariota to feel a few seconds of rush-delayed play progression reading before the entire pocket collapses from both the inside and outside.
By teasing Mariota with a few seconds of comfort, defenses transform and have been executing calculated delayed blitzed that have been difficult for the offense line to adapt and react to.
How can an offense neutralize a delayed blitz? By being decisive in their attack.
With the RPO, the Titans will have three decisive options. Mariota is best when he has to cycle through his progression or read with urgency and he tends to make the right decisions. It’s when he’s given too much time that he struggles finding an escape route on the delayed pass rush attacks.
A few dialed up Mariota keepers early will force the defense to rethink their plan of attack. This can buy the Titans offense time to adjust to the defenses re-adjustments. More of the calculated passing offense can be implemented once the defense doesn’t have their ears pinned back.
It certainly helps that Joey Bosa isn’t lining up on Sunday morning.
Start Lewis, Feed Henry
In a piece I wrote earlier this week, I proposed the idea for LaFleur to start Dion Lewis but feed Derrick Henry. By reversing their usage, it may also reverse their production.
It’s easier said than done and many believe Henry should make the most of the carries he’s given. That’s true and he is trying, but he is not the type of back that can warm-up, go cold for a quarter and a half and then return into the game with the expectation that he’ll set the field ablaze.
Instead, the opposite is true in regards to Lewis. He doesn’t need volume carries to get going and he doesn’t need a warm up period to be a catalyst for his effectiveness.
With Henry, if the bulk of his usage is in the latter half of each quarter it could boost his production. By that time, the offensive line will have a good feel for what the defense is trying to do. LaFleur will see what the defense is doing and can dial up the right play for Henry to potentially have a big gain.
When Henry lines up for the first series, the same thing happens each time. The defense sells out to stop the run, will use press man coverage due to not being intimidated by the Titans receivers and promising offensive drives stall out early.
The Titans (with the exception of the Philly game this season) aren’t a come from behind team. Truthfully, they never have been. Especially when teams jump out ahead by two or three scores early, the offensive output historically just hasn’t been enough.
The Chargers are a team that can get ahead by a pair of scores early and the defense will aim to shut down the run and challenge the receivers in one-on-one.
Offensively, the Titans have to find the end zone. By incorporating the RPO, flipping the usage of Lewis and Henry and producing drives that allow the Titans defense a change to catch their breath a win is possible.
A win is out of the question if the Titans offense replicates their production from the previous games against Buffalo and Baltimore. This team cannot afford another AFC loss. A win heading into the bye will be good for the confidence - and for the standings.