My wife and I have recently had to monitor our language as our 3-year-old tends to repeat everything we say. It’s my intention to keep him as far away as possible during Titans games so we can avoid him saying phrases like, “What the **** was that play call?” and “Same ******* Titans.”
Thankfully, this past Sunday my son spent most of his time playing in his room and watching his current favorite show, Paw Patrol. So, he avoided hearing the comments made on a TE end-around play late in the Fourth quarter of the Titans-Giants game and of course the shanked game-winning field goal. Are these the same old Titans? If so, there’s at least some glimmer of hope.
The Titans are now 2-3 in season-opening games in the Mike Vrabel era. Each of the previous losses (versus MIA in 2018 and versus ARI in 2022) were followed by impressive victories in which the Titans were favored to lose. Last year, of course, the Titans went on the road to Seattle and kickstarted their season with a 33-30 OT victory that started the impressive route to the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC. These Titans are far from done.
Todd Downing is the latest victim of fans on Social Media, being ruthlessly dragged on Twitter and Instagram. The Titans’ offensive coordinator has shown time and time again he is not a quality NFL play-caller. The issue on Sunday was not just on Downing, however. There are major concerns about player usage and personnel packages on this team. Geoff Swaim should not be leading skill-players in snaps. Austin Hooper and Robert Woods deserve more than two targets, and Treylon Burks should be on the field more than 24 snaps.
There is also the issue of what on earth happened at the end of the game. Following a dot from Tannehill to Philips setting the Titans up with a 44-yard field goal, the Titans wasted the entire play clock and were forced to burn their last timeout, despite the clock being stopped because Philips went out of bounds. Then instead of using the 0:18 seconds to get closer, Ryan Tannehill ran backwards for three yards setting up a 47-yard field goal on the right hash, kicker Randy Bullock’s preferred hashmark. Could the team have kept their foot on the gas and continued to push the ball closer? Yes. Why they did not? According to Tannehill, “You’ll have to ask Vrabs.”
For fantasy purposes, it’s going to be a mixed bag all season long with Tennessee. Tannehill is not going to have opportunities to eclipse 300 yards very often. Henry looked slow and sluggish out of the gate. And players like Hooper, Burks and Philips are being out-snapped by Swaim and Westbrook-Ikhine. Woods, Burks and Philips are dart-throw FLEX plays. Henry is a low RB1. Tannehill is a low QB2. Avoid this team, and in particular, this play-caller as much as possible moving forward until some consistency is found.
The Titans are 9.5-point dogs on the road in Buffalo on Monday Night Football. This is the exact game that Vrabel has had his teams bounce back and win in year’s past. Tennessee (+333) has the weapons to upset the Bills and I predict for them to do just that. This is a team that beat Buffalo and Kansas City in consecutive weeks last year when everyone had written them off. While the players are different, I have faith in Vrabel to get his team up for the matchup and at the very least cover the spread. Do not sleep on the Titans just yet, but maybe take a cat nap if you feel the need.