The Paul Kuharsky Podcast: Titans' Wasp Stings

The Paul Kuharsky PodcastNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A lack of a dominant offensive tackle means a quality pass rusher is going to require chip help, and chip help means an eligible receiver is going to be limited in what he can do as an option for the offense.

We start this week's podcast looking at chips from that perspective, and also from the perspective of the Titans defense, where Jeffery Simmons said he can regard a back or tight end trying to slow him as a wasp sting that may hurt a little bit but also wears off.

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

Other subjects I dive into:

💥 Backside wide receivers can be open and helpless
💥 What does a great run defense mean if you give up a bunch of big passes?
💥 Lack of wide receiver separation

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The podcast is the front door to PaulKuharsky.com.

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Titans Look To Outsmart Chargers: Can Coaching Advantage Be The Difference?

Titans Look To Outsmart Chargers: Can Coaching Advantage Be The Difference?

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Chargers look great on paper. They have talented players at almost every position on their depth chart. But they also woefully underperform on the field each year.

They have a franchise-caliber quarterback, a productive running back and receivers and an offensive line that has been carefully constructed to be both pass protectors and run blockers.

Ryan Tannehill
  Ryan Tannehill/ Angie Flatt

On defense, the Chargers have premier pass rushers, athletic three-down inside linebackers and cover cornerbacks with ball skills and a safety who is a do-it-all all-star caliber player.  

The mix of youth and veterans is also impressive. The roster is constructed very well.  

The Titans have been a team that has taken advantage of talented but poor performers in the past. The question is if they can resist the temptation to alter their successful formula of the past.

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PK TV: We Talked Through All Your Titans' Anxiety

PK TVNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Many concerns linger after the Titans' opening day loss in New Orleans, when Ryan Tannehill played terribly and the offense couldn't find the end zone while the defense couldn't get a stop at the crucial moments and it allowed too many big plays by the Saints.

How many of the issues we saw at the Caesars Superdome will carry over to Nissan Stadium on Sunday in the home opener against the Los Angeles Chargers?

That's the question that summarizes all the concerns.

So we gathered to talk about Tannehill, the roots of his issues in the first game and the likelihood he can correct those in Week Two as well as the odds of the Titans, who scored 15 points, being able to keep up with the Chargers, who scored 34 in a loss to Miami. The Titans lost 17-14 at Los Angeles last year. The Chargers' defense is similar. The offense is now coordinated by Kellen Moore, but could be without Austin Ekeler who's dealing with an ankle injury.

You can rewatch the excellent conversation at the private Facebook page or on YouTube which you can access below.

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Titans, Ryan Tannehill Offer No Explanations For QBs' Opening-Day Dud

Ryan TannehillNASHVILLE, Tenn. – Ryan Tannehill got frustrated at his Wednesday press conference after taking what he felt like were too many specific questions about his complete dud in the season opener at New Orleans.

Everyone just wants to understand how things went that badly.

I'm not sure how one example or a few details about what went wrong and what he’ll be working on to fix it would have been bad for a guy whose popularity has been tumbling since a three-interception game in the Cincinnati playoff loss that ended the team's 2021 season.

He not selling anyone out if he says "I was terrible and have to be miles better" while also indicating there are some elements of the new offense that weren't exactly clean right from the beginning. [Unlocked]

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The Worst And Best Titans From The Saints' Loss, Starting With Ryan Tannehill And Arden Key

The Worst And Best Titans From The Saints' Loss, Starting With Ryan Tannehill And Arden Key

Chig Okonkwo open
   Ryan Tannehill missed a wide open Chig Okonkwo

By MIKE HERNDON, columnist

In a lot of ways, the Titans' opener in New Orleans felt awfully familiar. A stout run defense and active pass rush kept Mike Vrabel’s team in the game despite a woeful offensive showing, a leaky secondary, and some head-scratching coaching decisions.

In other ways, it felt remarkably different. Tennessee went 0-for-3 in the red zone, usually one of the few reliable areas of strength for the offense, and was kept in the game, in part, by a reliable kicker.

In the end, the Titans fell short, dropping their opener 16-15 to the Alvin Kamara-less Saints, which unfortunately looked to be one of the better opportunities to scratch out a win during the very tough first six weeks of the 2023 season. Tennessee will host the Chargers this week before dates with the Browns, Bengals, Colts, and Ravens before the bye.

Things ease up considerably down the stretch, so simply surviving the first month and a half at 2-4 or 3-3 would do and that kind of result is still certainly attainable, though there are absolutely some things that must be cleaned up beforehand.

The Worst: Ryan Tannehill

We’ll start with the worst from Titans-Saints and that absolutely must start with Ryan Tannehill. The veteran quarterback not only

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Titans Need NFL To Figure Out QB Incompletion-Fumble Calls

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The NFL has created a version of football where it can be hard to know what a catch is.

And now it’s got a fumble-or-incompletion issue.

Derek Carr
   Arden Key jarred this ball free from Derek Carr, but it was ruled an incomplete pass/ CBS

The Titans’ season ended last year when safety Rayshawn Jenkins stripped Josh Dobbs as he threw and linebacker Josh Allen returned it 37 yards for a touchdown with 2:51 left in a 20-16 Jaguars win that clinched the AFC South title. It could have been ruled an incomplete pass

Then Sunday in New Orleans in a very similar play, Arden Key hit the back of Derek Carr’s hand as he prepared to throw. His hand pushed the ball forward and it was ruled an incomplete pass. Kevin Byard scooped it up but his return was stopped by a whistle and the incomplete call was not changed to a fumble on a review initiated by Mike Vrabel.

The two plays look very similar. [Unlocked]

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Scout's Take: Minimizing Derrick Henry Failed The Titans in New Orleans

Scout's Take: Minimizing Derrick Henry Failed The Titans in New Orleans

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans are a veteran team with Ryan Tannehill, DeAndre Hopkins, Kevin Byard, Denico Autry, and Jeffrey Simmons standing out front, but the best veteran and most productive over his Titans' career, Derrick Henry, was off the field and on the sidelines for over half of the offensive snaps.

Sep 10, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) and running back Tyjae Spears (32) and running back Julius Chestnut (36) sit on the bench against the New Orleans Saints during the second half at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
   Derrick Henry between Julius Chestnut and Tyjae Spears/ © Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The identity of a Mike Vrabel team has been to play tough defense and tackle well, play ball-control offense and win both lines of scrimmage while controlling time of possession.

Without Henry, the team lost its identity in Week One.

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Ryan Tannehill Crushes Titans' Chances In Loss to Saints

Ryan Tannehill Crushes Titans' Chances In Loss to Saints

NEW ORLEANS – To say Sunday was a playoff-caliber performance from Ryan Tannehill is to under-appreciate his three-interception divisional playoff game performance against the Bengals on Jan. 22, 2022 and the 165-yard dud in the Titans’ loss to Baltimore that ended their 2020 season.

Sep 10, 2023; New Orleans, LA, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) is helped up after being sacked in the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Sports
  Ryan Tannehill gets a hand from Andre Diullard/ © Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee’s starting quarterback was a different level of awful Sunday against the Saints.

Poor decisions were everywhere, and while there was too much pressure around him he seemed to help create it for himself at times. Quarterbacks of winning teams find ways to make plays around and despite encroaching defenders, but Tannehill seemed flustered by them and unable to regain his regular calm though he said “I didn’t feel off.”

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