By Bailey Biddle, Sports Director of Mocs News
The reason behind the motto of the Tennessee Titans this offseason was to get to the playoffs, and to push the limits of the team to see what they were truly made of.
Because of all the exciting offseason moves and the hire of offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, I did its folks, I caught feelings. I bought into the hype, especially after blowing out the preseason “Super Bowl champs” the Cleveland Browns. Then reality set in, and the Titans played the Indianapolis Colts, the team that owns the Titans.
Since that game, the Titans have been inconsistent and have failed to win close games. Now to present day, the Titans came off a shutout loss to the (2-5) Denver Broncos where the offense played horrendous. The Titans gave up six sacks in that game, but the main storyline from the game was the benching of Marcus Mariota.
Mariota was benched for Tannehill this week, which opened up for Mariota to be the scapegoat. Vrabel is looking to ignite a fire in the Titans offense with Tannehill and looking to put a band aid over a bullet hole. The offense this year has been a train wreck and the only thing consistent about it is the inconsistencies.
Not to overreact but if this keeps up, someone has to be held accountable. This team has gone nine and seven for three straight seasons and fired the only coach that won a playoff game since 2003. Vrabel was supposed to be the guy who pushed the Titans to the next level, and now sits at a record of (11-11).
Not saying he isn’t the guy, but Vrabel was supposed to change the offense and modernize it. At some point, Vrabel’s decisions have to come into question because Arthur Smith’s play calling is not the best, and the offensive line is on pace to allow an NFL record 77 sacks. The Titans are second in the NFL in negative plays allowed and have only scored seven points in two games.
Every offensive free agent that the Titans have brought in have failed to replicate what they did with their old teams. It seems like on the offensive side of the ball players lack development, and that is coaching. Mariota is a prime example of this, and the same things he struggles with today, he struggled with on his scouting report in the draft.
Hopefully, this Sunday’s game against the Chargers will give us more answers than questions about if Mariota truly held back this offense from its true potential. Unfortunately, the question has to be asked where this team would be if it still had Mularkey at the helm. Under Mularkey, the offense at least had an identity.
Regardless, let’s get a little cheerful as we wrap up this article. For the fans that are already looking forward to the offseason with their eyes fixed on the prize of Joe Burrow, hold on. This team reminds me of two similar teams in the AFC South around this exact same time last year.
The Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts were both (1-3) last year in week five, and teams like the Dolphins, Bengals, and Redskins were leading their divisions. The Titans schedule the next five games are the two-win Chargers, Buccaneers and Jaguars all at home plus the Chiefs with no Mahomes. If there is ever a time for the Titans to turn it around, it is now.
The Titans defense is an elite defense that is a top five defense in the National Football League. The NFL is wild, and anything can happen. The division, in my opinion, is still wide open and anyone’s for the taking. Can the Titans turn around and truly go from good to great, or will it be another disappointing season?