Final Preseason Thoughts

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Well Titans fans, the preseason is over and I for one could not be happier. It has been a total slog. Really, it could not have been more boring. Injures have piled up and we barely know anything about the new direction of the team. Seriously, this preseason was awful. As for the health of the team, I am hoping that they are mostly healthy by the Miami game, however we still do not know the severity of many of the injuries. So fingers crossed.

Looking back on the 3rd preseason game, it was pretty much a disaster for the offense. They looked bad, even laughably bad. But really how much should we actually take from this game or the preseason? Probably not a lot. Like I have said before, I do not think that we see this offense in sync until midseason or so. However, if they are playing like garbage by week ten, then it’s time to PANIC. Until then all is well!

I will say this though, the offensive line is legitimately concerning. They were obliterated last Saturday. Until Conklin is back I think they are going to be a weak unit. I really hope that this does not give Mariota flashbacks to the Whisenhunt days. Additionally, Derrick Henry still cannot pass block. He really needs to figure it out. Due to these issues, I bet the offense will be a pretty conservative until the pass blocking improves.

Another potential issue is that the receivers still do not appear to be on the same page as Mariota. The interception and the missed Corey Davis pass have been discussed ad nauseam. I think it has been slightly overblown. Yeah Mariota screwed up, but those were not career defining plays. People need to settle down and save the hot takes for the regular season. However, if Mariota keeps making those mistakes into the season, then yeah I understand that there should be major concerns. I am hoping that Mariota and the receivers jell soon, but I remember saying this every week last year, so there is some trepidation.

The defense on the other hand looked fine. The secondary appeared solid, but they were not playing the Steelers’ best, so really what does it mean? However, the pass rush was fairly weak. I would expect a lot of blitzing when the season starts, so I do not think it will be that bad next week. However, Landry’s injury is definitely concerning. I wonder if the trade for Kamalei Correa means anything about Landry. Apparently he has potential to be a decent pass rusher. He’s a former second round pick and is pretty intriguing. It will be interesting to see what they can do with him.

Well that is about it. The preseason is boring and I am ready for the season to start. I will do a game preview early next week. Until then, Titans fans, keep those thumbtacks flaming!

Second Titans Preseason Game and Other Thoughts

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Two preseason games down, two to go. We are nearly there. Preseason can be difficult to talk about considering that the “games” are essentially glorified scrimmages. However, I have been encouraged by what I have seen from the starting offense. For instance, the passing game appears more complex than last year. So far we have yet to see bunch formations and insane rout distributions in which wide receivers run to the same spot. Additionally, the emergence of the screen game can be nothing but encouraging. Both running backs appear that they can be effective passing targets, and of course it was glorious to see Taywan Taylor take a screen to the end zone. Nine out of ten times last year that pass goes to Eric Decker, the other time it goes to Harry Douglas, and every time it fails. Furthermore, Dion Lewis looked fantastic. The shiftiness and the explosion that he displayed was impressive. I think there will be games that he takes over. Other than that there is not too much else to say. I have however, been disappointed my Luke Faulk. He does not appear to have an NFL arm. Maybe he makes the practice squad this year, but I do not see him on the final roster.

The defense appeared decent. Harold Landry had another solid performance. However, I think it will take time to adjust to the new rules. It is still preseason so I am not panicking too much about them. But I can definitely see huge issues during the season.

I am also sort of shocked by the Rishard Matthews extension. It came out of absolutely nowhere. But I cannot complain. I like Matthews a lot. He’s been the best receiver the team has had since Nate Washington. For the rest of the NFL this is not saying much, but the Titans are cursed at the position, so just consistently showing up and making a few plays is huge. Furthermore, I was surprised to find out that Matthews negotiated the contract without an agent. Probably not the best idea, but I hope nothing but the best for him. Hopefully he recovers from his mysterious injury soon.

That is about it. There is just so much to say about a glorified scrimmage. The third preseason game will be a little more interesting, however, I do not think that we will get a good feel for the new offense until a month or so into the regular season. Until then, Titans fans, keep those thumbtacks flaming!

Thursday Thoughts/First Preseason Game

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Welcome Titans fans and people lost on the Internet. Well we are in the thick of the preseason doldrums. The excitement of training camp has waned and the reality that preseason is kind of boring has hit. In all honesty just getting through the month with minimal injuries would be ideal.

Speaking of injuries though, Vrabel’s refusal to provide any information regarding them has nearly driven me to madness. Seriously this is crazy. Is Corey Davis practicing? Why was he out? He traveled with the team to Green Bay and he put on a uniform, but why? Now he’s back, I guess. What happened to Rishard Matthews? Where is Brian Orakpo and what’s the deal with Rashann Evans? Seriously Evans had turned into bigfoot. For anyone that has read this far, I am sure they have seen the guy on twitter claiming to sell furniture to Evans. The guy said that Evans was fine, and then a few days later Evans sent a cryptic tweet stating that he is good to go. But what does it all mean? Is he really hurt? Anytime he is seen on the practice field or in Nashville people film him like he sasquatch, then break the film down trying to find what the “injury” might be. I’m starting to doubt that it was a “heat related” issue. He appeared fine in many of the videos that I have examined, so maybe it’s a concussion, or maybe it’s a deep conspiracy within the Titans, we could be at the tip of the iceberg.

As for the progression of the team and thoughts about the first preseason game, I will say that I liked most of what I saw. Obviously it is quite difficult to get a feel for a team after the first preseason game, but I’ll fire off a few poorly thought out reactions.

Personally, I felt that the offense on the opening drive appeared fine. I was worried that protection could be an issue with Dennis Kelly in, however, he held up well. The 3rd down pass to Nick Williams has ben analyzed to the point that it’s almost become a preseason Zapruder film. I’ve read the hot takes from Blake Beddingfield, I have seen what sports writers think, and I have skimmed through the message board reactions. It is preseason game one, they completed the pass, who cares! I understand that people are claiming that Taywan Taylor was the first read and Mariota misread the play. But how would anyone but the coaches possibly know that. Plus, if Taylor was the first read, then there is no way Mariota would have missed him, he was wide open. I need to stop; I do not want to waste any more time on this. It’s completely ridiculous.

The rest of the offense appeared fine. The backup qbs looked like backups. Although a few of Nick Faulk’s passes appeared almost comically inaccurate. But he’s the next Tom Brady, so it will work out.

As for the defense, the starting secondary got roasted by Brett Hundley. If this were an actual game, it would be deeply upsetting, however it’s not. The defense had a super vanilla game plan, thus they were clearly not at their best. I am not worried. I did think that Harold Landry looked good. If he can keep it up, he should be a solid contributor this year. For the rest of the defense, they need to tackle better. The missed tackles were embarrassing.

The only other big take away for the Titans were the staggering amount of penalties. It was absurd. They need to clean it up.

Finally, regarding the first game, I thought that the broadcast was awful. The announcers were not in preseason mode, maybe mini-camp came mode, but certainly not up to par for early August. Additionally, Ed Hochuli’s kid needs to work on his biceps. He has a long way to go before he’s truly Hochuli’s air.

That is about it. I am looking forward to the joint practices with Tampa Bay. Until then, Titans fans, keep those thumbtacks flaming!

Two Tone Rant Offseason Review

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After taking six months to mourn the loss in Foxborough, I am back! All two of my readers must be filled with tremendous excitement.

I find myself in a new world. Mike Mularkey is gone, DeMarco Murray retired, and the Titans have new uniforms. Are they even two tone blue anymore? I honestly do not know. But I am not going to change the name. That would require altering the word press site and doing other things that I just don’t care to mess with. Anyway, I’ll reflect on our wild offseason and offer premium content.

Last year, I was a sharp critic to Mularkey. I never liked the hire and wanted him gone for nearly the majority of his time as head coach. In 2016, I was wrong, but in 2017, the offense was a train wreck and the most of what they were doing appeared insane. For instance, in the Arizona game, putting a rooking cornerback at wide receiver for the most pivotal play of the game was absolutely bananas. However, despite the issues, after the Kansas City game I did not know what I wanted. Before the game, I thought if they simply got blown out, they would just fire Mularkey and we would move on. But after the comeback I kind of wanted to keep him. We had not see playoff success since 2003 and I was filled with more emotions than I could handle.

The New England game would quickly dissolve my warm feelings. I did not go into that game with delusions of grander or even thinking that they would win. However, the game plan was pathetic. New England’s secondary was suspect last year, and they made no attempt to spread the ball around and exploit that. It was basically a flashback to every game of season. No coherent plan, no adjustment, and pure stubbornness. It was a Mularkey special. Not to mention, it felt that once Jack Conklin went down the coaches and the team quit.

Of course the most infamous press conference in Titans history took place a few days later. Mularkey did his best Baghdad Bob impression shouting that all was well with his broken offense. Upon watching that disturbing display of stupidity I slipped into a deep depression. I saw a world with a significantly stronger AFC South. It featured a fully healthy Deshaun Watson and Andrew Luck. Both along with Jacksonville would be in the playoff hunt, while my Titans would continue to run a 1970s offense and struggle mighty against the elevated competition. I thank our savior, Jon Robinson for seeing this too, and making the right move.

I was pretty exited once Mularkey was ousted. However, I never want to cheer for someone losing their job, but Mularkey is a millionaire, so he’ll get over it.

The hiring process for a new coach was quicker than I anticipated. It seems that there is a decent chance that they wanted Vrabel the entire time. I was surprised when he got the job, and I will admit that I have some trepidation. He has such a minuscule amount of experience, that I am not sure what to expect. However, I trust J-Rob. I definitely think that the staff looks good. Dean Pees and Matt LaFleur are great hires. I am specifically exited about LaFleur. He’s probably the best offensive coordinator that the Titans have had since Mike Heimerdinger. Thus, he’s a far cry from the likes of Terry Robiskie and Chris Palmer. (Seriously have they ever run a modern offense?)

I have been impressed with Vrabel demeanor. He comes across as intelligent and collected. I thought that he would be more of a meathead, but he appears quite the contrary. I am cautiously optimistic.

A coach is nothing without talent, so I’ll do a quick rundown of the draft and free agency. The addition of Malcolm Butler was a pleasant surprise. Typically my expectations for free agency are small. The years of seeing the Titans do very little have conditioned me not to anticipate much. However, I tend to forget that we are in the J-Rob era and he’s a GM that’s not afraid to make a move and this year certainly showed that. I absolutely love the Butler and Dion Lewis signings. I think Butler is a potential lockdown corner who could elevate the secondary to perhaps one of the best in the league, while Lewis provides them with another dynamic offensive playmaker who combined with Derrick Henry could make the Titans rushing attack quite potent.

I hate to make this the sunshine and rainbows blog, but I was also a fan of the draft. I am a believer in the philosophy of drafting defense early and often and the Titans did just that. The addition of Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry will obviously enhance the defense. I think that Evans is a guy they can move around a lot and do some interesting things with. As for Landry, I am excited to see him added to the pass rush. I expect HONOR (this joke is already done to death) to make some big plays this year.

As for the rest of the draft, there is not much to say. I thought that Dane Cruikshank looked good in the two minute youtube video that I saw of him and as for Luke Falk, I always love getting a developmental quarterback. It’s like playing the lottery. Most of them end up Mettenberger, but once a generation you get a Brady. My only real criticism of the draft class would be that it was a relatively small one. But other than that, it looks fine.

That’s the entire off-season or at least the most important stuff (sorry Dodd). I am ecstatic for the season. I cannot wait to see what this team can do. I’ll talk more about the preseason in the next post. Until then, keep those thumbtacks flaming Titans fans!