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Front Page - Friday, September 29, 2023

Titans offense hasn’t kept pace

Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill is sacked by Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett. - Photo by David Richard | AP

The Miami Dolphins scored 70 points Sunday. The Tennessee Titans have totaled 71 points in their last five games.

Certainly, the Dolphins scoring 10 touchdowns in a single game is an aberration, even with its potent offense.

But the fact that the Titans are light years away from anything close to that is a warning signal that the team is fighting a losing battle in today’s NFL.

Sunday’s sad-sack (emphasis on sack) performance in Cleveland is indicative of just how far behind the times the Titans are and how small this team’s margin for error is while trying to keep up.

“In every phase, you can start it with me and go all the way down,” Coach Mike Vrabel told reporters after the game. “Whether it’s coaching, their pass rush, our pass rush, their O-line, their ability to hit some plays down the field, every category. It’s going to be the same thing for each one. It’s important for us to stick together. You play like that in this league and you coach like that, you’re gonna get your (expletive) beat. Plain and simple.”

He’s right about that. The Titans have now lost nine of their last 10 games. Rebuilding this offensive line has proven thus far to be too big a chore for one offseason.

Yes, the Titans played without rookie Peter Skoronski Sunday, but unless they want to shift him to left tackle moving forward, how much of a difference can he make when there are holes all around him on the line?

This O-line is not much of an upgrade so far over what the Titans finished the year with last season. Kind of like trading your Ford Pinto in for a Chevy Chevette.

While Ryan Tannehill will never be confused for Patrick Mahomes, he showed in Week 2 he can still be an effective quarterback, if the situation is right. But for a team that struggles in protection and has struggled to take pressure off him with the run game, the situation is rarely right.

As the Titans enter Week 4, they have had the identity that carried them to previous success ripped away. A 3.8 yards-per-carry average running the ball will attest to that, as will only having one rush of more than 20 yards all season.

But that’s only half the story of the Titans’ identity being wiped away. The defense that was supposed to carry this team until the offense got on track still has weaknesses that show up at inopportune times – like the last drive against the Saints and most of the day Sunday in Cleveland. The Titans corners still give up too many costly plays and penalties.

The inside linebackers appear to be average, especially in coverage. And if the pass rush doesn’t get to the quarterback, the Titans are in real trouble. Their 826 yards allowed through three games and 7.7 yards allowed per completion are both bottom five in the NFL.

There is still time for this team to jell, but that time is running out quickly. By the third or fourth week of the season, things that continue to crop up. Is it a bad play here and there or a trend?

Right now, the Titans are trending much more toward the have-nots of the league than the haves.

Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com