Scouting review: How the Titans got back to their formula

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans got exactly what they wanted out of the Seahawks game, a win.

They were able to establish the run game after another slow offensive start in the first quarter.

One staple of an Arthur Smith run offense was his unique ability to stick with the run game and Derrick Henry even if it didn’t work early in the contest. He was almost stubborn that way, but it led to a lot of comeback wins.

Derrick Henry

© George Walker IV / Tennessean.com

In Week One, Todd Downing did not show that patience but in Week Two down early he stayed patient and continued to call the run plays that eventually led to some big runs and overwhelming time of possession that unleased their best offensive player in Henry and most importantly wore down the Seattle defense.

A makeshift Titans’ offensive line is less of an issue when it is run blocking. Lesser talented blockers are more exposed in a passing game than run.

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In Seattle, Titans rediscover their identity and get a W in a tough spot

SEATTLE – Through three halves of football, the Titans had given people sufficient cause for significant concern.

In 30 minutes and 5:15 of bonus time at Lumen Field, however, the Titans showed us who they think they are and expect to be.

The third and fourth quarters plus overtime produced a 33-30 win over a high-quality Seahawks team and got them to 1-1.

Julio Jones

© George Walker IV / Tennessean.com 

As things turned, they did so with a predictable dose of Derrick Henry carries and offensive patience and an unpredictable measure of MyCole Pruitt and Henry receptions. A defense that has suffered some big busts and allowed plays of 68, 63 and 51 yards clamped down. The last four times Seattle had the ball, the Seahawks managed 43 yards, three first downs and no points.

The Titans came back from 24-9. Per CBS, the Seahawks were previously 52-0 at home in games they led by 15.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Before my departure to Seattle, I wanted to spend some time answering your best questions after what I know has been a rough recovery week filled with nervous anticipation.

I'm off to the Pacific Northwest Saturday evening after, I hope, catching some good college ball.

ToddDowning

Hope you get all the results you want. Take Denver giving the points at Jacksonville.

Onto the best questions you threw at me.

Kevo Dwain If Titans fail to put up points this Sunday does that put Todd on the hot seat? Or will the Titans be patient with him? 

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Scouting preview: With play-action, Titans need to force Bobby Wagner and Jamal Adams to cover

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- If the Titans think they had their hands full with Kyler Murray in Week One, they will encounter a more prolific passer in quarterback Russell Wilson in Week Two.

The Titans ‘first game was concerning because they were noncompetitive and never in the game from the start. The Cardinals have been an inconsistent team with inconsistent coaching staffs for years but they were in control of the game from the start.

Julio Jones

Arizona had its issues last Sunday but never was threatened by the Titans.

The Titans looked slow and old at times.

Taylor Lewan is 30, Rodger Saffold 33, Ben Jones 32, Nate Davis 24, David Quessenberry 31, Ryan Tannehill 33, Julio Jones 32 (pictured), Derrick Henry 27, A.J. Brown 24, Anthony Firkser 26, Chester Rogers 27.

Six of the 11 starters are over 30 years old on offense.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Taylor Lewan is one of the Titans’ very best players when he is right.

But it’s a probably mistake to think his opening-day effort against Chandler Jones and the Cardinals was simply a bad day by a very good player.

He’s still in the process of recovering from the torn ACL he suffered in his right knee on Oct. 18, 2020 against the Texans.

Taylor Lewan

© Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

While ACL recovery is not the same for everyone, Dr. David Chao -- who is not familiar with the particulars of Lewan's case -- says the process is much more a gradual sunrise than a light switch and sees a lot of recovery still ahead.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – That dynamic, speedy offense didn’t show itself in the Titans’ season opener.

One game isn’t that big of a deal especially considering not that much has changed. But the depth of the trouble was alarming.

There was minimal separation from receivers, and A.J. Brown and Julio Jones are supposed to get away from people and provide Ryan Tannehill with options.

Ryan Tannehill

Donald Page/ Tennessee Titans

Tannehill pinned the lack of speed in the game on the lack of any flow for the offense

“We didn’t come out and get anything going, we went three-and-out we had the turnover, three-and-out again and it’s tough to play fast and put pressure on the defense when you’re not on the field,” he said. "Obviously, we need to get into drives. We need to get that first first down get the chains moving, that way we can call some more plays, give our guys some more opportunities.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It’s perfectly clear to me that offering criticism about people who behave like the smartest people in the room loses heft when it comes from someone who often acts as if he’s the smartest person in the room.

Also, Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel are, in fact, often the smartest people in the room.

Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel

Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel/ Poll photo by Mark Humphrey AP

The Titans have been just fine during most of the duo’s co-piloting of the franchise, and they may be again. The two are personable guys, relatable to regular Joes. Their records are solid. They are respected around the league. They are good football men, and good men. I like them a lot.

But Sunday’s terrible loss to the Cardinals offered a major view into how they factor into an organizational arrogance that can limit the franchise.

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Scouting review: Full dissection of Titans' failures against the Cardinals

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- This was not the way the Titans wanted to start their new season.

The third-down defense did not improve off a historically bad 2020 season.

The new additions to the team were not as productive as the players they replaced.

Jeremy McNichols

Jeremy McNichols/ Donald Page, Tennessee Titans

The new offensive coordinator did not live up to the last one.

The 2021 draft class had minimal impact or production with only Elijah Molden playing significant snaps.

The 2020 draft class had only Kristian Fulton and Larrell Murchison active during the game.

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