I’ve seen a lot of terrible takes driving the discourse on our beloved Tennessee Titans this week after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dropped them to 3-6 on the season. Apparently, the Titans should’ve never let Joshua Dobbs walk. Derrick Henry hates Mike Vrabel. The defense has given up because they’re angry at the offense for not scoring any points. Oh, and Ryan Tannehill is racist. Okay, maybe that last one isn’t coming from Titans Twitter but people who have no actual authority to speak on the matter instead. Nonetheless, Titans fans are down bad.
I can understand it. I don’t want to come across as dismissive of the concerns. I get it. Most of us are football fans to be apart of a community and we all want to be a small part of something great. Sports are a break from reality for us, and it sucks when our break from reality stresses us out. But, as a guy who writes and podcasts about this team, I’m asked what my opinion on this situation is, and I just land keep coming back to “they’re hamstrung.”
This franchise is absolutely hamstrung by its offensive line and its lack of reliability in the secondary. I don’t understand how some of you can watch this team and not want them to use every draft pick they have on the offensive line next spring. Sure, Marvin Harrison Jr. would be nice and all, but what good would he be with this caliber of offensive line? And, don’t hit me with the $100M in cap space bit, because buddy, there ain’t a franchise left tackle or right tackle that’s going to hit free agency. That’s a position you draft. Meanwhile, the Titans continue to put UDFA after UDFA in the defensive backfield and hope the pass rush can get home.
You look at the domino effects each of these issues has on the outcomes of games and it’s pretty wild. On offense, Tim Kelly can’t open up the playbook because his personnel is limited – they have to have a tight end, wide receiver, or both inline to block. So, there are fewer pass catches running routes. There’s no time to throw, so Will Levis is being hurried at a clip that even his explosive release can’t make up for. And, when it doesn’t work, they can’t get the run game going because there’s no push! It gives the Titans no room for errors, so those drops that are happening in each game hurt 10 times worse than they should. And, yeah – I do think it has an impact on the defense too.
The defensive front was supposed to be the strength of this team, and they’ve been asked to handle a lot. Scoring as few points as the Titans offense has this season puts a strain on the defensive side of the ball to routinely dominate games. The offensive ineptitude leaves the defense no room for error either. I know guys are saying the effort is fine, but I’ll put it this way – I wouldn’t blame the defense for getting tired in the 4th quarter of a game right now. Offense aside, it doesn’t help the defense that they’re giving up the chunk the plays in the secondary. But, Shane Bowen can’t send extra bodies to generate pressure because he needs the dudes in coverage. They’re hamstrung by this roster!
These issues aren’t going to be fixed in season. That doesn’t mean the Titans won’t tinker with some things here and there *cough*JaelynDuncan*cough*, but at this point, we should just concede that it’s going to take a miracle effort to get back into this AFC race. At this point, Titans fans, you have my full permission to tune this team out on Sundays because they’re not going to be good for your blood pressure. If you’re a lunatic like me, then we pivot into evaluation mode – seeing what this team has for the future. And, Coach Vrabel, if you’re reading this in a team meeting, just to be clear, no I don’t think this team is going to win many more games. Also, can you please tell John Ojukwu I’m a big fan of his tape?
Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network, and a Dogs Playing Poker on velvet connoisseur. He is a strong supporter of Team GSD, #BeBetter, and ‘Minds right, asses tight.’ “Big Natural” covers the Tennessee Titans, Nashville, Yankee Candle, and a whole wealth of nonsense. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley.
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