Scout's Take: Breaking down Jeffery Simmons' impact

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The game was about who was going to be left standing at the end. Both teams lost a significant number of starters before and during the contest.

That it was eventually won by the Titans on a goal-line stand was fitting.

Chargers’ RB Melvin Gordon wanted more carries leading into this week, but those touches resulted in very little and ended up costing his team the win.

WoodyardEvansCelebrateChargers

Gordon held out of training camp and the first three games because he wanted more money, but since he has returned his value has decreased significantly because of his lack of effectiveness as a runner and receiver. He is not willing to run after contact and as proven in the Titans game he is not secure with the ball.

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Titans got instant impact from Jeffery Simmons

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Chargers, the Titans, the stadium and his coach all had a similar feeling about the first game of Jeffery Simmons’s career.

“I felt him,” Mike Vrabel said.

Simmons was a definite factor on his 21 snaps – one-third of the Titans’ defensive plays in Sunday’s 23-20 win over the Chargers. He helped blow up the game-sealing play, where Melvin Gordon fumbled at the goal line, stripped by Wesley Woodyard on a play where Jurrell Casey recovered the ball.SimmonsChargers

“I came off the ball, I knew I was going to get the guard by himself,” he said. “My job is to knock my man back, beat the man in front of me and I feel like I did a great of that.”

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Decisive Ryan Tannehill, giant goal-line defense change Titans' result

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Too many times it’s been a risky deal to cast something that unfolds for the Tennessee Titans as a potentially pivotal, transformative moment.

But we have our latest entry:

Sunday evening the Chargers twice scored a go-ahead touchdown that was overturned as short by replay, then the Titans made a huge goal-line play when Melvin Gordon tried to run it in, Wesley Woodyard stripped him and Jurrell Casey gathered the football with 15 seconds left on the clock.WoodyardChargers

“It better be (that moment),” Casey said. “It better be. That’s all we can hope for right now, that this gets us going, gets us on the right groove.”

“You would definitely hope so,” said Kevin Byard, who caught a first-down pass from Brett Kern on a fake punt.

“Wouldn’t it be great?” Taylor Lewan asked of such a scenario after it improbably preserved a 23-20 win for the Titans, boosting their record to 3-4. “This is one win. We have to do a lot better in a lot of different areas. There are still yards out there for runs, there are still protection things we’ve got to get better.

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On pending free agents, the Marcus Mariota trade idea and one man's fear of relocation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Greetings, devoted readers and thank you for coming into this week's mailbag.

I hope you will check out this week's podcast, which leads off with some thoughts on the switch from Marcus Mariota to Ryan Tannehill.

Lots of good questions from you, and I appreciate all of them. I picked the ones I had the best answers to.

PK: The odd thing is, there aren’t many guys that HAVE to be back.ChargersHatch

Logan Ryan is the clear No. 1. He’s playing very well, he’s a key locker room guy, the secondary is the team’s best unit and I would not mess with the defensive backfield as it stands.

No. 2 would probably be Ryan Tannehill, though that is sight unseen. The Titans are probably going to have a rookie quarterback next year, and they will need a veteran who might start the season to bridge things.

Next I'd say... 

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Scout's Take: The Titans' path to win Ryan Tannehill's first start

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Los Angeles Chargers are a very dangerous team right now but have some major flaws due to injuries.

Philip Rivers has multiple skill players around him, but a suspect offensive line because of major injuries to their starting left tackle Russell Okung and Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey.TannehillSteelers2

The Chargers also placed WR Travis Benjamin on the injured reserve leaving the team without a vertical threat.

The team has the potential to score points now that RB Melvin Gordan has come back from his contract holdout and TE Hunter Henry has returned from an injury.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – I screwed up Tuesday. I might suffer long-term consequences for it.

I hope not, but either way, I spend a lot of time asking people to be accountable, so I am here to be so myself.

Mike Vrabel gave what I thought was a bad answer to a question about leadership at the start of the week, saying that he didn’t tie production to leadership, he tied production to good players.EvansMorganRyanSackJaguars

On Logan Ryan’s show on The Midday 180 the next afternoon, I asked him about that and he told a story about a gathering of Patriots defensive leaders in which they talked about that very thing and agreed that production was a necessary ingredient in leadership.

I did not preface the question to Ryan with what Vrabel had said, nor did I fill Ryan in after his answer with what Vrabel had said. The moment his time with us on the phone was over, I texted Ryan a tweet of a video of what Vrabel had said. He reflected on it a bit and I texted that he should say what he said there on the record to flesh out the context of the different stances.

He declined and said he wanted to stay out of it.

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As he heads to bench, some outside views on Marcus Mariota

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Depending on how things go for Ryan Tannehill, we could see Marcus Mariota again in the Titans’ final 10 games.

But the team’s hope, frankly, is that it doesn’t need to call on No. 8.MariotaDemoted

That would mean Tannehill provides the spark they seek and provides at least reasonable baseline-level quarterback play.

Things sure don’t look good at 2-4. Last year’s Titans never feel two games behind .500.

Still, this season is salvageable. There are three winnable games ahead right now, with the Chargers and Buccaneers coming to town before a trip to Carolina.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- In Ryan Tannehill, the Titans are bringing in the paddles and looking to shock their offense back to life.

Ian Rapoport tweeted Tuesday evening that Tennessee is making the change at quarterback and I've confirmed it.

Sure, game-planning, play-calling, pass-protection and receiver-separation have all been issues for the stagnant offense in addition to quarterback play.Tannehill1(Photo courtesy Miami Dolphins)

But Marcus Mariota really bottomed out in Denver before getting pulled in the third quarter, with accuracy issues handcuffing an offense that needed signs of life.

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