Deep Dive: The Titans' Red-Zone Issues

By MIKE HERNDON, columnist

Since Mike Vrabel took over as head coach in 2018, there have been a few themes that have come to define his teams even through the ups and downs and year-to-year variability that the NFL is designed to create. Those include a tough, physical defensive front that controls opposing running games, an elite red zone offense and a strong rushing attack.

Derrick Henry Red Zone
  Derrick Henry stuffed in the red zone

Through five games, several of those usually reliable strengths have been called into question. The strong run defense had looked to be in good shape through the first four weeks, but the dam broke against the Colts as backup Zack Moss ran wild through the Titans’ defense for 165 yards on 23 carries with two touchdowns.

Time will tell whether that proves to be a blip, like the Saquon Barkley game from the opening week of 2022, or something more, but it’s concerning any time you see such a perceived strength look that helpless. And yes, it’s worth noting that nose tackle Teair Tart missed this matchup, which clearly proved to be a big loss.

The red zone offense is far more troubling. The Titans ranked first, second, fifth, and sixth in converting red zone opportunities into touchdowns over the past four seasons. Frankly, their success in cashing in these chances has probably served as perfume to mask the stink of a rotting offense for a while now.

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