Wow. The Titans game today left me utterly speechless. I understand that today was only one game and we still have the rest of the season but I need to let off some steam. Today’s game was a bitter disappointment, plain and simple. I feel sorry for all the fans that showed up at the game to have been shown such a terrible performance by their football team. This game reminds me so much of the Browns game last year and you can tell it was going to be one of those kinds of games.
Let’s start with the offense. Last season we had no worries about the offense and their ability to put up points. They were consistently putting up points, the offensive line did a phenomenal job blocking for Derrick Henry and keeping Ryan Tannehill upright all season long. Today they were the opposite of last season. The offense struggled to get into rhythm. The offensive line couldn’t block for Tannehill nor open holes for Henry, and allowed a whopping 5 sacks to Chandler Jones who also had two forced fumbles today. With two imposing receivers in Julio Jones and AJ Brown the Titans passing game was abysmal for some reason and couldn’t muster anything in the passing game.
The Titans that played today looked completely out of sync. To my knowledge Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry, AJ Brown, and Julio Jones did not play at all in the preseason. Now I didn’t think too much of this because the coaching staff probably didn’t want any of them getting hurt. I do believe that AJ Brown and Julio Jones were dealing with nagging injuries that the coaching staff wanted them to rest before the season and Tannehill also spent time on the Covid-19 list and was recently taken off. Despite all this, there is no excuse for today’s offensive atrocity. Mike Vrabel is too discipline of a head coach to allow for something like this to happen. Our players are too talented to put up a performance like this. In all honesty I believe that the coaching staff was ill-prepared for this game today and it showed on the football field. Personnel-wise I believe that we lost this game in the trenches and that ultimately led to the poor offensive performance we saw today. As previously mentioned the offensive line was horrible not being able to block for Derrick Henry and allowing so much pressure on Ryan Tannehill which is why I think the offensive struggled so much today.
On the defensive side of the football I expected them to struggle and they did. It doesn’t matter what uniform DeAndre Hopkins is wearing, whenever he lines up opposite of the Titans he absolutely tears them apart. Christian Kirk caught two touchdowns today, and Kyler Murray ran circles around our defense until he found an open receiver. It certainly didn’t help that the Cardinals defense had three turnovers yielding their offense into better situations as well. For as far as I can tell, although the defense had a very rough day I wasn’t all too surprised considering that everyone on earth knows that the Titan’s Achilles heel is their defense. Kevin Byard had a nice interception today, Jeffrey Simmons and Harold Landry both had sacks which were nice but the defense still needs much improvement if they want to go far into the playoffs this season.
Usually people forget about the third phase of football; special teams. However, because the Titans have had such terrible luck in the kicking game the last few years we are all aware of the kicking game. I never had much hope in the kicking game ever since Ryan Succoup was released and it seems that ever since then we have not had much of a kicking game. After his release, we suffered through Cody Parkey and Cairo Santos and eventually into Stephen Gostkowski who gave us a roller coaster ride last year in the kicking game. Fast forward to this year and not much has changed, different kicker same results. No offense to Sam Ficken but him being named starter didn’t exactly inspire me into believing our kicking game was going to improve. The Titans signed Michael Badgley after Ficken was placed on IR, and today he was horrible missing an extra point and a field goal, 4 points in total. Our kicking game continues to struggle ever since Succoup’s departure. Now I’ve mentioned before that I believe that Ryan Succoup was rushed back too soon from injury and that was the sole reason for his struggles before being released and ever since joining the Bucs, Succoup has re-found his success and now holds a super bowl ring. Greg Joseph, another former Titans kicker who I thought kicked well for us put his team in a position to win today. Two former Titans kicker we just let walk out the door while we cycle through the revolving door of NFL placekickers. For a position that we have not been able to fill since Succoup’s departure, I do not understand why we wouldn’t bring in all the competition there is during training camp. The Titans haven’t had a decent kicker for a couple of years now and it just blows my mind that they haven’t addressed this position more thoroughly.
The coaching staff failed today. They didn’t put their team in a position to succeed and they did not adequately prepare their team. In an offense including Derrick Henry, AJ Brown and Julio Jones Todd Downing couldn’t produce anything with these players. When Arthur Smith took the head coaching job with the Falcons I was somewhat worried about the offense but not too much because Downing was a promotion from within the organization. I thought people were making too big of a deal with Smith leaving but after today’s game I now see why. Todd Downing must fix all the offensive issues soon given how much talent he has at his disposal.
On a side note, Vrabel’s decision on the field goal try before halftime was really puzzling to me. I don’t understand why Vrabel didn’t go for it on 4th and 1. We were down by 18 points at that point in the game and your kicker already missed an extra point. Why would you opt to kick? It doesn’t make sense, if you failed it was almost halftime and you trust that your defense holds off until halftime. Your team desperately needed to add touchdowns and not settle for field goals if you had any chance of coming back in the second half. I was not a fan of not going for it and opting to kick the field (which was missed).
In all three phases of football today the Titans failed and quite miserably. Offensive line couldn’t block or open holes, passing game struggled, running game struggled and was not even a shadow of what we know it was. Defense had its moments of struggles and wasn’t helped in any case with the offense turning over the ball the way they did. The kicking game today was non-existent. Vrabel and company were severely outcoached and outmatched. We the fans have waited months for this day and this is the performance we get. I have lost a lot of faith in this team because this is exactly what happens every year and until they can string together some wins and prove on the football field they are who we thought they were then perhaps they can regain my trust. If this team wants any chance of turning things around they need re-evaluate and find out what went wrong immediately before week 2. If not, there is a real good chance we start the season 0-2 next week when we travel to Seattle.