Blaine
BishopNFL Legend,

Strength Does Not Come From Winning, Your Struggles Develop Your Strengths, When You Go Through Hardship And Decide Not To Surrender, That Is Strength
Gandhi

September 19

Titans take tremendous leap in two minutes

There was plenty to be frustrated about for 58 minutes of the Tennessee Titans game against the Detroit Lions, but all it took was two minutes to erase it all. Those two minutes, could also be the defining moment for this franchise. That's because the Titans were never in control until the last two minutes of this road game. The offensive line looked overwhelmed from the start, and Marcus Mariota had little time to work through his progressions. Other than some solid runs by DeMarco Murray, there was little offense to be excited about. The play calling was vanilla, highlighted by a call everyone saw coming when the Titans were pinned in their own end zone. A predictable running play on first down led to a safety in the first quarter, followed by an eight play drive that put the Lions up 9-0 in the first quarter. The rest of the half was just as anemic, with Mariota totaling just 81 passing yards. Defensively, things were just as bad. Tackling was poor to say the least, with multiple failures led by players trying to arm-tackle rather than relying on the fundamentals and squaring up. The defensive woes could be summed up by watching Lions quarterback Matt Stafford bowl over Perrish Cox on a quarterback keeper which made Stafford look like a running back against the veteran corner. But all of the penalties and all of the struggles were erased it just two minutes. With the Titans down 15-10 in the 4th quarter with two minutes left, this team displayed a resilience we're not accustomed to seeing. Led my DeMarco Murray and highlighted by a key reception by Tajae Sharpe, the Titans marched down the field 83 yards which was capped by an Andre Johnson touchdown with just 1:13 left. Up by just a point, a failed two-point conversion still had fans on the edge of their seats, especially after the Lions quickly moved near mid-field with 34 seconds left on the clock and field goal range looming. Then, with 22 seconds left, Perrish Cox erased any negative memories with an interception that sealed an important road win for this team. In two minutes, the Titans won on the road, something that hasn't taken place since Week 9 of the 2015 season. Ironically, that was also the last time the Titans came from behind and was a pivotal moment for Mike Mularkey. That was Mularkey's first game wearing the headset after the team decided to fire Ken Whisenhunt. That win had many believing in Mularkey and was likely a key game in the process of evaluating his official hiring as head coach. This was what we needed to see from a young Titans team. This is the type of win that provides priceless confidence and trust in what they are doing. They kept it close enough and made their move when their back was against the wall. Unlike last season, they have the benefit of this pivotal win coming early, something they could feed off of for the rest of the season and point to when times are tough. There's plenty of work still to be done. The poor tackling, the pivotal penalties which came at the most inopportune times, and Mariota's continued struggle with the deep ball need to be rectified. But it's that ability to win when you are not at your best that separates teams from the rest of the pack. The Titans finally have an offensive identity and now they know it can work if they stick with it. This is the type of win that only builds belief in the system, belief in the coach, and belief in their leaders on the field. Just as importantly, this win builds a belief in the city that their team has turned a corner and is leaving the past behind. All in just two minutes. function resizeIframe(obj) { { obj.style.height = 0; }; { obj.style.height = (obj.contentWindow.document.body.scrollHeight + 10) + 'px'; } }
September 12

Titans beat themselves against Vikings

The Tennessee Titans suffered a frustrating loss at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, and while there was much to feel good about, there was just as much bad. We'll start with the play of Marcus Mariota. The second-year quarterback was at least partly responsible for two costly turnovers which resulted in two touchdowns by the Vikings defense. Those two scores were the difference between a loss and a home-opening win. Mariota first threw a pick-six while running backwards trying to force a play. The second turnover came during a botched read-option exchange with DeMarco Murray which resulted in a fumble taken to the house. While it's easy to point the finger at Mariota, the truth is, there is plenty of blame to go around. The difference between this year's Titans and those of the past is they have an identity. The flash and smash duo of Murray and Henry worked as expected, totaling over 100 yards in the first half alone. It helped to set up play-action passes and Minnesota had no answer. For the first time in a long time, we have a direction. The problem is, that identity collapsed once the team got into trouble. Following the first turnover, the Titans visibly went into 'panic mode,' turning an offense that was clearly identifiable into one where we didn't know what to expect. That falls on the coaching staff. Winning teams don't go away from who they are. They stick with their strengths regardless. The best thing this team could have done is stick with their strength and respond with their own score. That's the corner we'll have to see and this team will have to experience to truly turn the corner. The elite teams respond after allowing critical scores instead of letting panic set in. It's an intangible both Mariota and the Titans need develop. We need to see more fire on the sidelines. For all the accolades we shower cool-headed players with, there is something to be said for those who hate losing more than they love winning.On the bright side, we saw a clear gameplan which was executed in the first half. There was no on-the-fly playcalling from years past. Instead, the opponents knew what was coming and the Titans simply executed their plan. The problems came when that plan was abandoned and they had to adapt. Experience will change these issues and it is important to remember both Mariota and Mularkey are in their second years -though Mularkey is really in his first full season. The other glaring issue was Mariota's progressions. He looked to rarely go through his second progression before checking down. Whether that was by design or not, his shoulder position rarely changed on passing plays, making it easier for the Vikings defense to key on. Again, it is something Mariota will develop in time. Except for the two turnovers, the Titans had a solid showing on Sunday. Unfortunately, those turnovers were key in the outcome. We have to keep things in perspective when it comes to this young quarterback and this young team. The progress we are seeing is a major positive, but they are still a year or two away from truly being in contention. That was proven this week. The stars were aligned for the Titans with the Vikings missing their starting quarterback and left with one job -stop Adrian Peterson. They were able to execute against their opponents, but didn't execute when it came to not beating themselves.  function resizeIframe(obj) { { obj.style.height = 0; }; { obj.style.height = (obj.contentWindow.document.body.scrollHeight + 10) + 'px'; } }
August 22

Titans look Sharpe in preseason matchup against Panthers

Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Sports Tennessee Titans rookie wideout Tajae Sharpe put on a show on Saturday, displaying rapport with quarterback Marcus Mariota we have yet to see from another Titans wide receiver. Sharpe totaled six catches for 68 yards and even added a rushing attempt in the game. As I've said in the past, the Titans' running game looks to be living up to the billing of "exotic smashmouth," but the effectiveness of the scheme could depend on finding a true #1 wideout. If Sharpe's performance is any indication, the Titans may have found a compliment to Delanie Walker. The two could be exactly what is needed to keep opposing defenses from focusing on the run game and on their heels. As with the success we saw on the ground in Week One however, this is preseason and expectations should be tempered. That said, what is most impressive about Sharpe is his fluidity, route running and hands. One catch in particular stands out. After breaking off the line, Sharpe found himself in between two defenders and the ball thrown by Mariota was off target. Sharpe was able to shift his body and extend to make a sure-handed catch that should have been incomplete. It's those kinds of situations, that is what builds trust from your quarterback, not to mention targets. That trust will work in both Mariota's favor and aid speeding Sharpe's development in his rookie season. Another wideout who finally made his presence known on Saturday was Justin Hunter. Hunter snagged four catches for 54 yards days after the team traded Dorial Green-Beckham. The trade could have served as a wakeup call to Hunter, who has failed to live up to expectations thus far. Despite the talk about Hunter's roster status with the team, I expect him to be in uniform when the regular season kicks off. For a 4th or 5th wide receiver, there are going to be few better options out there than what Hunter offers. He also comes cheap, since he is still playing through his rookie deal. When it comes to Hunter's development, it could be possible he needs proper attention to develop his athleticism. You'd be surprised at how many athletes who display raw talents are often forgotten when it comes to helping them develop technically. There were many 'double-steps' from Hunter coming off the line on Saturday instead of exploding into his route, something we have seen from Sharpe. Hunter could benefit from a thorough breakdown of tape and critique of the little things. Aside from the wideout play, the secondary was torched by Ted Ginn Jr., who turned a slant route into a 61 yard touchdown. There was plenty that went wrong from the jump on that play, but it begs to remember these were not the Titans' starters. Both Cox and McCourty were out on Saturday, both key players in this secondary. The running game also produced despite a much tougher matchup against Carolina than they had against the Chargers. DeMarco Murray still averaged four yards per carry and Derrick Henry averaged six yards per carry. Overall, it was a positive performance from the Titans as a whole. Our expectations were met by the running game and exceeded in the passing attack. Week Three's matchup against Oakland will provide a more thorough look at where the team stands, but so far, so good. function resizeIframe(obj) { { obj.style.height = 0; }; { obj.style.height = (obj.contentWindow.document.body.scrollHeight + 10) + 'px'; } }