How much do the Titans trust Derrick Henry?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Sunday wasn’t good evidence for the Derrick Henry side of the debate pitting him against DeMarco Murray.

Henry turned 13 carries into 13 yards and failed to get into the end zone on a big fourth-and-goal from the Cleveland 1.

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"It's the NFL, it going to be up and down," Henry said. "It's hard to win in this league. You've got to be patient, keep working and good things will happen. Every game is not going to be pretty. You're not going to have miraculous stats.”

Like the rest of the elements of the run game, Henry has been too inconsistent.

But the way Tennessee approached the run against the Browns led me to a theory:

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A nice info gif from @TitansTalk_ is making the round among fans as evidence for how predictable the Mike Mularkey-Terry Robiskie offense has been through seven games.

I do not disagree that the offense has been bad. No objective observer can say differently.

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But the graphic lacks a great deal of context. (Its authors ultimately revised it, and the new version is here.) It tells us the Titans have run 109 times on first down. But it doesn't tell us if that's a lot, or what percentage of first down plays that amounts to. Without knowing how often the Titans pass on first down, 109 runs on first down tells us nothing.

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A week after no mental errors by receivers, Rishard Matthews questioned pass distribution

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Of Marcus Mariota’s 34 pass attempts in Cleveland on Sunday, just 13 went to wide receiver, who only caught seven of them.

“We’ve got to do a better job, in my opinion, at getting us receivers more involved,” Rishard Matthews told me in the post-game locker room. “It is what it is. I don’t call the plays. We got a W, that’s all that matters."IMG 3348

Was he surprised at the number of passes throw to wideouts a week after Mike Mularkey touted the group for making no mental errors?

“Yeah as far as the distribution,” he said. “It is what it is. Sometimes you get games like that. But we definitely want to be involved more earlier, early on. But like I said, I don’t call the plays.”

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans get the entire bye week off after meeting an incentive Mike Mularkey laid out for them. The coach declined to share what that incentive was.

Injured players must remain in town, so DeMarco Murray (shoulder/hamstring) Delanie Walker (ankle bone bruise), Johnathan Cyprien (hamstring), Corey Davis (hamstring) and Quentin Spain (toe) headline that group.IMG 3342

It wasn’t clear if Marcus Mariota is on that list at this stage of his recovery from his hamstring issue.

You should have no issue with time off for this team, though even at 4-3 it has not played well.

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Titans have to flip it and pass to set up the run

mdi construction barCLEVELAND – The Titans offense is built around the run.

They want to run to set up play-action and the pass.

But out of Sunday’s 12-9 win at FirstEnergy Stadium over the Browns, it became clear they need to do more passing to set up the run.

The biggest evidence from this comes from DeMarco Murray.

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As most Titans trumpeted 'Any win's a good win,' one offered a more honest assessment

mdi construction barCLEVELAND – Just as their boss wants, the Titans spat back the conventional, cliched, expected answers in the locker room after a 12-9 overtime win over the woeful Browns Sunday.

I don’t hold it against the players, honestly.

Mike Mularkey says any win is a good win, it’s hard to win in the NFL, the Browns are a good team on the cusp. It’s understandable, too, that the coach wants to hear his players echo the themes.

But it’s nonsense, frankly.Titans3logos

Sure, finding a way to win it and get to 4-3 and stay atop the AFC South is significant. Sure, winning it is better than losing it. Sure, anyone with a stake in the team would happily have taken an overtime win against a bad Jaguars team on Christmas Eve last year.

The display on the shore of Lake Erie, however, showed us a team that is far, far less than it expects and claims to be.

And only one guy had the gumption to say so.

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Titans survive in Cleveland, but cannot be happy

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CLEVELAND -- So much isn’t working and looks disastrous.

No one on the outside will argue with that.

But the Titans still have the counter-arguments that matter: It was ugly and it took overtime, but they just beat the Browns 12-9 and stand at 4-3, tied for first in the AFC South with the Jaguars, a team they’ve beaten.

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Mailbag: Marcus Mariota as a 'pocket passer'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – If you missed Friday’s Periscope/Facebook Live from Neighbors in Sylvan Park, shame on you. I will allow for you to rewatch it here.

On to the mail…

PK: There seems to be some real confusion on this. It’s not as if a healthy Marcus Mariota is constantly out of the pocket. The Titans don’t roll him out or run bootlegs. He generally drops back and looks downfield. The thing is, he can take off when he doesn’t find anything or when the rush closes in. The departure in the Colts game was that they didn’t call a couple runs for him and they asked him not to scramble. There was not a drastic reduction in throwing on the move, as he doesn’t do that much throwing on the move when healthy.

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