PK TV: Bucs 20, Titans 6

PK TV: Bucs 20, Titans 6

TAMPA, Fla. -- So the quarterback who's the reason for hope had no chance in the Titans' 20-6 loss here at Raymond James Stadium. The Bucs sacked Will Levis four times and hit him nine more. That's 23 hits in the last two games.

He's rugged, but that's a lot. I don't like to question effort, but this felt like a lifeless team to me from PK TVpress-box level. I'll certainly agree with Mike Vrabel that execution was poor.

It's hard to understand, kind of, until you remind yourself of the talent. They just don't have a lot.

The plug-and-play magic we saw from Vrabel in the first three years is gone. We wanted to see Dillon Radunz and we watched him kill a drive with false starts on consecutive snaps.

Things were just a mess.

The Bucs don't have a lot of talent, but we saw their best guy be the best guy on the field. Mike Evans caught six passes for 143 yards and a score where he dragged Kristian Fulton and Azeez Al-Shaair into the end zone.

Many of you came to vent about this one at the private Facebook page or on YouTube below. Fittingly some machines nearby were beeping as if something was on life-support. Give it a rewatch.

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Why Can't The Titans Execute Better Than That? It's The 'Talent'

Why Can't The Titans Execute Better Than That? It's The 'Talent'

TAMPA, Fla. – In a post-game locker room after a road game, players, equipment men and media need to tread carefully. Scattered chairs, equipment bags and shoes can make for a bit of a minefield.

But that’s not all the Titans were tip-toeing around Sunday in the bowels of Raymond James Stadium after a halfhearted 20-6 loss to the Bucs that dropped them to 3-6.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Will Levis (8) is sacked by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett (7) during the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023.
Will Levis/ © Denny Simmons / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

“Effort is not about execution,” Mike Vrabel said. “We don’t want to confuse those two when I talk about this here.”

If the Titans are prepared and playing hard, then how can the execution be as poor as it was in this game, when the team managed 3.5 yards per offensive play, got just nine yards per pass on three completions to DeAndre Hopkins while Mike Evans torched them for 23.8 on his six and allowed four sacks, nine additional hits and constant pressure on rookie Will Levis?

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Too Few Titans Are Getting Better As Season Progresses

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Eighteen of the Titans 24 players who see the most action when healthy have five years of experience or less.

Those players should still be ascending.

Roger McCreary
Roger McCreary/ Courtesy Tennessee Titans

But roughly midway through the 2023 season, how many are showing steady, overall progress?

Mike Vrabel wouldn’t touch the question this week when I asked him for examples beyond three obvious players who top this list. And I can understand game-by-game charting can be dangerous – you can be making gains and have some occasional poor outings. 

I asked Derrick Henry about how he gauged his progression as a young player.

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PK TV: The Titans Ahead Of Tampa Bay

PK TVNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Will Levis is officially in that starting lineup and Ryan Tannehill is officially out of it.

The injury report doesn't look great with Sean Murphy-Bunting and Daniel Brunskill out of practice so far this week.

The Buccaneers, however, have lost four games in a row and they don't top 20 points a game just like the Titans.

So Levis could have a favorable matchup against a team with banged-up corners on Sunday. He's the primary and secondary cause for excitement for Titans fans at this point and it's understandable. I shared this earlier and the deep heat is an obvious difference from what Ryan Tannehill was able to do before the injury-prompted change.

So at halftime of Thursday Night Football, we chatted about all things Titans on the private Facebook page and on YouTube which you can find below. Enjoy yourself a nice rewatch.

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Podcast: Will Levis' Safety As the Titans' Starter

Podcast: Will Levis' Safety As the Titans' Starter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Will Levis can endure pressure, make plays under pressure and avoid pressure.

That's great news for the Titans' bad offensive line, which needs all the help it can get.

The Paul Kuharsky PodcastIt in no way forgives the team's awful job at player assessment and acquisition on the line. But I think he's got a much better chance of surviving back there than Ryan Tannehill did.

That's where we commence this week's episode of The Paul Kuharsky Podcast.

The new episode awaits you on Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, iHeart and YouTube, which is also embedded below.

Other subjects I dive into:

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The Titans' Big Questions With Will Levis In Place

The Titans' Big Questions With Will Levis In Place

By MIKE HERNDON, columnist

Mike Vrabel’s announcement on Tuesday that rookie quarterback Will Levis will be the Titans starter “going forward” will serve as a marker separating one era of this franchise’s history from the next. Before we discuss what the future may hold for Levis’ Titans, I want to briefly give some flowers to Ryan Tannehill, whose four-plus year run as the signal caller in Tennessee was extremely successful by virtually any measure.

Derrick Henry
Derrick Henry/ Courtesy Tennessee Titans

Barring an injury to Levis over the final nine weeks, Tannehill will finish 38-23 as a starting quarterback. His 62.3 percent win percentage is the best among any quarterback in franchise history with at least 50 starts for the team, topping Steve McNair’s 58.0 percent clip during his run from the late 90s and early 2000s.

He also tops the franchise record books in yards per attempt (7.8), passer rating (98.0), and completion percentage (66.4) among passers with at least 500 attempts. Tannehill also ranks fifth in total passing yards and passing touchdowns while throwing interceptions at a lower rate (2.2 percent) than any other quarterback in Titans/Oilers history.

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Context And Appreciation For Ryan Tannehill As The Titans' Starting QB

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Ideally, Ryan Tannehill has played his last game for the Titans.

Sadly, the first game most people will remember of the 69 total games he started for the franchise was a high-stakes failure, a home divisional round playoff game as the No. 1 seed against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Titans were a win away from hosting an AFC Championship Game for the first time in franchise history and Tannehill threw three interceptions.

Ryan Tannehill
  Ryan Tannehill/ Courtesy Tennessee Titans

The performance scarred him, sending him to therapy to sort things out. He and the team still haven’t recovered, with poor roster choices creating holes and injuries creating further complications. His passer rating dropped nearly 15 points from his work before that game and after it. The teams’ record with him at the helm went from 30-13 to 8-10. He's injured his right ankle three times.

Things usually don’t unwind neatly and nicely.

Still, as he becomes Will Levis’ backup we should shake free of the playoff loss to the Bengals and consider just how important a player Tannehill was for the franchise.

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Will Levis Is The Titans' Starter As Mike Vrabel Does The Right Thing

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – While all sorts of fans and commentators read tea leaves and found paths for Mike Vrabel to wedge Ryan Tannehill back into the starting lineup, the coach told the veteran quarterback early Tuesday that he was now Will Levis’ backup.

Later he informed the team that Levis is the starter and then shared it with the media, ending speculation heading into Week 10’s game at Tampa Bay as Tannehill becomes healthy enough to become part of the mix again after two games missed with a high right ankle sprain.

Tennessee Titans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) celebrates his touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons with quarterback Will Levis (8) during the third quarter at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023.
  Will Levis celebrates with DeAndre Hopkins/ © Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

Levis had an outstanding four-touchdown debut in a win over Atlanta and stood in against a tough pass rush in Pittsburgh, showing more than enough for the Titans to move forward with their quarterback of the future at 3-5.

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