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Envisioning The Titans' Rebuilt Offensive Line

Envisioning The Titans' Rebuilt Offensive Line

By MIKE HERNDON, columnist

With the Titans officially eliminated from playoff contention thanks to a gouge-your-eyes-out performance in a 19-16 overtime loss to the Texans at Nissan Stadium on Sunday, I figured that our time here would be best spent looking forward to the single biggest task facing Ran Carthon and Mike Vrabel in the upcoming offseason: rebuilding the offensive line.

Before we jump into that discussion, I do want to state my belief that, yes, Mike Vrabel should be back as head coach in 2024 and continue to be a part of rebuilding this roster. I don’t buy the notion that Vrabel – a coach who went 48-27 over his first 75 games as Titans head coach without the luxury of an elite quarterback – suddenly forgot how to coach over the last 13 months.

Dec 3, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) celebrates with offensive tackle Robert Hunt (68) after a touchdown pass against the Washington Commanders during the first half at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Hunt with Tua Tagovailoa/ © Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, things have gotten ugly on a lot of fronts over the 5-16 skid that seems like a decent bet to reach 5-19 by year’s end, but to me, this remains a personnel issue. After all, I spent the better part of this past offseason in this column warning that the offensive line fixes might not be an improvement over last year’s bad unit and noting that there was evidence that the defense might not be as elite as many believed they would be this year.

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Kindly Shut Up About The Titans Shutting It Down

Titans 615 WallNASHVILLE, Tenn. – Games are played all the time, in leagues all over North America and beyond, with no playoff implications.

Titans fans aren’t used to them. They haven’t happened for you since 2015, when they team went 3-13.

"It's new, right?" Mike Vrabel said. "It's a new experience for me. So, I'll have to give it some thought and try to make sure that we're doing everything that we can to continue to try to teach them, to develop them, inspire everyone the best that we can."

Let me remind the readership how it works.

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The Analytics of the Titans' Disastrous Performance in Week 15

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.

The Tennessee Titans won the coin flip on Sunday and elected to defer. After the defense forced a three-and-out, the offense trotted onto the field coming off a 28-27 comeback win over the Miami Dolphins.

The first play was a first-down handoff to Derrick Henry that went for positive yardage. On second-and-8 later in the drive, Will Levis connected with Treylon Burks on a 37-yard-strike. Chig Okonkwo got involved, and a couple of plays later, Levis connected with Nick Westbrook-Ikhine on a free play, due to Sheldon Rankins jumping offsides, for 33 yards. The drive was then capped off by a 1-yard Levis keeper for the TD.

 

Will Levis
Will Levis/ Courtesy Tennessee Titans

They moved OK for a bit on the second possession too. Throughout the first 12 minutes of the game, pass protection was great and Levis had a clean pocket to operate from. The Titans had just one negative play in the run game. They had already generated three X-plays in the passing game.

I hope you enjoyed it. 

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Titans' Review: Run Game Stall, Peter Skoronski's Struggle And Father Flanagan

Titans' Review: Run Game Stall, Peter Skoronski's Struggle And Father Flanagan

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – This game deserved to end in a tie. These were two poorly coached offensive units, with some poor plays out of them. 

The Titans were playing against a bunch of backups against the Houston Texans. So the Titans were clearly the best team with an offense that used multiple players in the run and pass game to have success early. Tennessee had early success without its most consistent offensive player this year in DeAndre Hopkins.

Azeez Al-Shaair
Azeez Al-Shaair/ Angie Flatt

Why wasn’t Hopkins used more?  

The Texans’ fire power was zapped without their standout rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, their two best receivers, Tank Dell and Nico Collins, and their top pass rusher in Will Anderson. But that didn’t keep the Texans from finding a way to pull out the win.

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PK TV: Discussing Texans 19, Titans 16 OT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The bad ones seem to get worse and worse.

First-down stubbornness on offense was a killer for the Titans in their 19-16 OT loss to the Texans on Sunday at Nissan Stadium. Give it to Derrick Henry, let him run into a penetrating brick wall and head The Paul Kuharsky Podcastback to the huddle. It was maddening, and it's what I wrote about off of the game.

I know you'll want to dig into that and the official end of the sliver of playoff hopes this team had. We also haven't spoken since the team decided to end things with Teair Tart, and while he was;t playing with a lot of effort, he'd probably have helped limit Devin Singletary a little considering he dominated this game with 121 yards on 26 carries and another 49 on four catches.

He was the sort of physical running back the Titans are supposed to put forth on a weekly basis, but that was a dead idea in this game.

Let's gather for our usual post-game discussion where you can vent and we can hash out what we saw and didn't see.

Just head to the private Facebook or below.

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Titans' First-Down Offense Keyed Embarrassing OT Loss to Texans

Titans' First-Down Offense Keyed Embarrassing OT Loss to Texans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mike Vrabel, Tim Kelly and the Titans’ offense threw up their hands in frustration and hopelessness. They had no solutions.

Then they threw their hands together in prayer, trying the same old thing over and over because at times in the past a grind-away run game had ultimately produced fruit.

Will Levis
Will Levis suffers a lower leg injury vs. Houston/ Angie Flatt

That was a ridiculous expectation Sunday at Nissan Stadium when Derrick Henry was never going to be the path to beating the Texans but the Titans kept giving him the ball. He carried 16 times for 9 yards – an astounding 0.6-yard average – in a 19-16 overtime loss as the Titans dropped to 5-9 and their slim playoff dreams were snuffed out.

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Titans vs. Texans: Who Will Come Out on Top? A Look at the Matchups and Surprising Players to Watch

Titans vs. Texans: Who Will Come Out on Top? A Look at the Matchups and Surprising Players to Watch

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Can the Titans match the effort, intensity, and consistent play that they showed Monday night versus the Dolphins?

Can they string together two wins against teams that have playoff aspirations?

The Texans need this win, the Titans want this win. This game has a chance to be one of the better NFL games this weekend.

Tyjae Spears
Tyjae Spears/ Angie Flatt

I expect to see the best out of both teams.

If we are going to see the best out of the Titans it must include good performances from Derrick Henry, DeAndre Hopkins, Tyjae Spears and of course Will Levis. I am not ready to throw Chig Okonkwo in this group of consistent performers yet, but over the past few weeks, he started to emerge out of his long hiatus.

The Titans have the edge when it comes to veteran players who know how to play deep into an NFL season. The Texans are not as experienced and rely heavily on their young players for production.

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Titans Moving On From Teair Tart

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans are parting ways with Teair Tart after season-long issues reached a breaking point. The defensive lineman's been upset over his contract situation and the team is unsatisfied with his effort and attitude.

At his best during his four seasons, Tart was a key run-stuffer for the team. But his relationship with the Titans has tumbled this season as the feeling has been he could have gotten more playing time and been more effective if he’d gotten better conditioned.

Tear Tart
Teair Tart tackles Saquon Barkley

He was on the final injury report last week with limited participation on Saturday for personal reasons and a questionable designation for the Monday night game in Miami, in which he played 31 of 72 defensive snaps. He been a non-participant in two practices this week with a non-injury related designation that was denoted as  personal. 

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