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Podcast: Titans' Ran Carthon As A Background Guy

Podcast: Titans' Ran Carthon As A Background Guy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The way the Titans have responded, or appeared to have responded, to outside talk of Ran Carthon's performance and background is odd and goes against what their PR philosophy has been for a long time.

The Paul Kuharsky PodcastHe recently spent time contradicting himself in an ESPN.com article that was half about him, saying he stays in the background because this part of the season isn't about him.

It's odd in the middle of their 4-8 season of struggle.

That's where we start this week's edition of The Paul Kuharsky Podcast. The new episode awaits you on Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts, iHeart and YouTube, which is also embedded below.

Other subjects I dive into:

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Will Levis Flashed, Tyjae Spears Featured, Draft Debate And More

Will Levis Flashed, Tyjae Spears Featured, Draft Debate And More

By MIKE HERNDON, columnist

Trying to describe anything about the unhinged AFC South tilt that was Titans-Colts on Sunday at Nissan Stadium feels futile. That was, simply, one of the weirdest football games that I have watched in quite some time.

The Titans, who most believed would be closer to where the Colts are currently – 7-5 and battling for the AFC South – dropped to 4-8 overall and 0-3 in the division while losing three of their best players to injury in the process. Prognosis on return varies from season-ending (Ryan Stonehouse) to “likely to miss a few weeks” (Jeffery Simmons) to “has a chance to play Monday night” (Derrick Henry), but it’s safe to say that any hopes of a miraculous playoff run from this Tennessee team can be put to rest at this point.

Tyjae Spears
Tyjae Spears/ Angie Flatt

Give Mike Vrabel’s team some credit though. They didn’t lay down, at least not in this game. It was a backyard brawl from start to finish. However, in the end, they came up short, as they so often have over the past 19 games, a stretch that has seen them go 4-15.

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Analytics Check-in On Titans' Will Levis And The Offense

By JAKE DOWNARD

Jake Downard is a law student who creates NFL and NBA content focused on analytics on Twitter as @JakeAndBall. He also works with fanspo.com. A glossary of the analytics terms he uses is at the bottom of the piece.

For a glossary of the metrics and terms used in this post, please see this earlier file.

Will Levis has played enough in the 2023-24 iteration of the Tennessee Titans offense for us to reach some general conclusions on his rookie year. I do not know what could transpire in the next five weeks to starkly change my opinion for better or for worse. He takes too many risks at times and may need to dial it in a notch. At times, he has struggled with the underneath throws; the layups, if you will. 

 

Dec 3, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Will Levis (8) rolls out of the pocket during the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Will Levis/ © Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

There are a ton of contributing factors involved in these struggles, but they’re the type of struggles you expect to see with a rookie QB, especially with the personnel currently surrounding him. On the flip side, he is extremely tough on the field and comes across as motivated, smart, and vocal off the field. He has a ton of tools to become a productive, game-changing starting QB in this era of the National Football League.

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Breaking Down the Titans' Punt Breakdowns And More

Breaking Down the Titans' Punt Breakdowns And More

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tough loss for the Titans. Not only losing to a team without their best offensive player, injured running back Jonathon Taylor, but with a dysfunctional quarterback who tried multiple times to gift-wrap the game to the Titans.  

Maybe the worst part of Sunday’s loss was potentially losing three of their better players for a significant time in Jeffrey Simmons (knee), Derrick Henry (concussion) and Ryan Stonehouse (leg injury).

Will Levis
Will Levis/ Courtesy Tennessee Titans

This was an ugly game for the Titans and the two blocked punts were a game-changer for the Colts who struggled to score touchdowns.

What happened on those blocks?

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Fiasco Calls Titans' Special Teams Into Account, Again

Fiasco Calls Titans' Special Teams Into Account, Again

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans special teams coach for the duration of Mike Vrabel’s tenure in Nashville, Craig Aukerman has headed up units that have regularly been mediocre at best – 14th, 19th, 24th, 18th and 16th in comprehensive rankings compiled by Rick Gosselin.

When Vrabel was out with Covid and missed a preseason game against the Bears in 2021, he put Aukerman in charge of communicating with players.

Indianapolis Colts safety Nick Cross (20) and teammates block a punt by Tennessee Titans punter Ryan Stonehouse (4) on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. Indianapolis Colts linebacker Grant Stuard (41) recovered the ball and ran in a touchdown.
Ryan Stonehouse/ © Robert Scheer/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

He didn’t communicate much of use to them Sunday, when they were the central figures in a 31-28 loss to the Colts at Nissan Stadium, dropping the team to 4-8 and prompting his boss to once again absorb all fault for all that all went wrong in the phase of the game that too often hurts a team that just can’t afford it.

Titans fans regard Aukerman as one of Vrabel’s best buddies. I have no idea about their relationship outside the office, but it’s clear why the people who buy tickets and merchandise draw such a conclusion. 

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PK TV: We Discussed Colts 31, Titans 28 (OT)

The Paul Kuharsky PodcastNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Twenty-eight points certainly should have been enough in that one. One hundred and two yards for Derrick Henry before a probable concussion should have been enough.

But these were the find-a-way Titans, and not in a good way.

Special teams fiascos took them down and handed the game to the Colts, 31-28 in overtime, and Ryan Stonehouse, Henry, Jeffery Simmons and Josh Whyle didn't finish the game with injuries.

The hits keep on rolling. You know you're seeing this thing through. My whole column was about the special teams and Craig Aukerman, so this was my chance to go as much beyond that as you liked. Will Levis was bad -- 16 for 33 for 224 with a TD and no pick and missing DeAndre Hopkins out of bounds a couple of times on plays that had no chance. Sean Murphy-Bunting was super accountable but got beat too much, including on what amounted to the game-winning throw.

The officiating had some bad moments.

You had a lot to say about it all. So thanks for coming to the private Facebook page or to YouTube below for the hearty chat about it all. Enjoy a nice rewatch if you didn't make it.

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Titans Mail: Letting Will Levis Throw, Using Rookies, Next Year's OL

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- While you're enjoying a big day of college football, I feel you should also enjoy a Titans' mailbag.

Also, you should be listening to or watching the podcast on AppleSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, iHeart or YouTube.

Titans Full Tilt

The Titans are in an interesting spot Sunday. Does last week's win over a terrible team have any carryover? Does the Titans' far better play at home continue in its first division game in Nashville? 

On to the best of what you asked...

How would you respond to the narrative that the Titans are not letting Will Levis throw?

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To Win Again, Titans Need Top Performance From Defensive Front vs. Colts

To Win Again, Titans Need Top Performance From Defensive Front vs. Colts

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans’ competition steps up this week with the Colts coming to town.

Despite losing Jonathan Taylor to an injury the Titans will still have to deal with Zach Moss who went for 165 yards on the ground for a 7.2-yard average in their first matchup. If you’re the Titans, that can’t happen again. Tennessee’s run defense was very good last week versus the Panthers and the defensive line has shown some recent dominance at times. 

Jeffery Simmons
Jeffery Simmons/ Angie Flatt

This game will come down to how dominant the Titans' defensive front can be.  

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