On execution as the buzzword after the Titans' Houston debacle

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After a debacle like the Titans had in Houston, it’s very important for some of us to dole out the blame. It’s part of how it works, certainly, but it also lands us in some dizzying circular arguments. TitansWordLogo

When a team gets blown out, much of the conversation among fans afterward tends to be about whether it was ready and if it quit.

Is bad player execution on the players who didn't execute or the coaches who didn't get them to execute? Hop on that merry-go-round and it can be hard to jump off.

No, the Titans weren’t ready for the Texans. They had plans that didn’t work and they were unable to adjust in a way that made any difference. While Mike Mularkey pointed to the late effort, it’s pretty rare for a coach to say a team stopped giving maximum effort at the end.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On the scale of recent Titans' hamstring injuries, Mike Mularkey puts Marcus Mariota closer to DeMarco Murray than Corey Davis and Johnathan Cyprien.Titans3logos

An MRI showed a hamstring strain for the Titans starting quarterback.

Whether that means he plays a week after his setback the way Murray did remains to be seen. But an extensive layoff like the ones for Davis, who’s expected to miss a third game, and Cyprien, likely out a fourth, sounds far less likely.

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In Houston debacle, Titans hit eighth Scorigami

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans hit a Scorigami Sunday, and later the same evening I learned for the first time for the concept’s existence.

I think it’s brilliant.Scorigami

Dave Mattingly tracks NFL games and seeks those that end with never-before seen final scores. And Tennessee’s absolutely miserable performance in a 57-14 loss in Houasont gave him one.

Scorigamis abound this season.

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Whenever he's back in action, Marcus Mariota's got to be better

mdi construction barHOUSTON – When Marcus Mariota returns from his hamstring injury, whether it’s Sunday in Miami or later, he’s simply got to play better.

The mechanical issues have been too frequent and through four games he’s hit 60 percent of his throws with three touchdown passes and three interceptions.

On the two picks to Andre Hal in Sunday’s 57-14 drubbing by the Texans, he didn’t step into either throw and saw the bail sail high – a common problem this season and one he and the Titans seem unable to address and get fixed from series to series or game to game.

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mdi construction barHOUSTON – Fun with overreaction tweets.

PK: Take away his rookie year when Matt Hasselbeck was the starter, and Jake Locker started 52 percent of his games. Marcus Mariota has started 86 percent. Not close to the same Not close.

PK: Ridiculous. He’s not the world’s greatest coach by any means. He’s done a good job with this team. You want not just the coach but his staff fired? So who exactly would coach the team? All those great coaches out on the street unemployed.MDI 2

PK: They were coming off consecutive wins. You think he’s lost the locker room over one game? Really?

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Titans should have had Logan Ryan on DeAndre Hopkins

mdi construction barHOUSTON – Rather than anticipating, adjusting and dictating a key element of Sunday’s game, the Titans stuck with a plan they found sufficient through three games.

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The result of their approach to covering Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins was a disaster that symbolized their horrific day and a 57-14 loss.

After they revamped their starting cornerbacks by signing free agent Logan Ryan and drafting Adoree’ Jackson in the first round, Mike Mularkey said he expected there to be times when the team used Ryan on a bigger, mo

re physical guy and Jackson on a smaller, quicker receiver.

This was the first game for the Titans this season where the starting wideouts so clearly fit that sort of size/style split.

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With pitiful performance, Titans raise major doubts

mdi construction barHOUSTON – The Titans can give us some context starting in about 10 minutes when Mike Mularkey talks to the press and locker room doors open for reporters.MDI 2

But they can’t say anything that steers us away from the obvious: Sunday at NRG Stadium was a complete disaster, with failures on every imaginable level.

The 57-14 beat down by Houston leaves the Titans at 2-2 a quarter into the season, same as the Texans who have the same record and a leg up thanks to the head-to-head result.

Tennessee beat Jacksonville and Seattle; Houston beat Cincinnati and Tennessee and lost to Jacksonville.

It’s a bit circular.

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Marcus Mariota out with a hamstring injury

mdi construction barHOUSTON – A miserable game took a bad turn when the Titans suffered yet another hamstring injury, this one to Marcus Mariota.

With 6:51 on the clock in the third period and the Titans down 23 points, Matt Cassel entered the game at quarterback, replacing Mariota who was announced as questionable to return.

It was the first possession the Titans had in the second half. Mariota went to the locker room during the Texans long drive to open the third quarter.MDI 2

He and the passing game were horrible while he was in.

He connected on just six of 10 passes with two interceptions to safety Andre Hall. The completions got the Titans 96 yards and Mariota earned a 52.5 passer rating, Again, he looked off mechanically, throwing sailing passes after failing to step into them.

He ran four times for 39 yards including a 34-yard sprint up the middle and a 2-yard dive to the pylon for the team’s two touchdowns.

The Titans have been hurt by hamstring injuries this season. Johnathan Cyprien and Corey Davis remained out Sunday with hamstring issues. DeMarco Murray also missed a good share of the preseason because of one.

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