Final fake-field goal thought: Titans were overly-reliant on practice looks

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Coming out of the win that got the Titans to 4-4, the biggest topic of conversation has been the ill-fated fake field goal in the fourth quarter. Mike Vrabel wanted to put the game away when a field goal would have put his team up 7 points and all but assured nothing worse than overtime.VrabelOfficialsBucs

One thing that struck me about his explanation was his reliance on how that play functioned in practice.

After the game, Vrabel said: "We want to go win the football game. Understand that we practice, and we study, we get looks, and we feel very confident in the look that we’re going to get. They made a play, we didn’t, just like when we made a play at the end of the game when it was fourth-and-1.”

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The last thing I wrote in my preview of Buccaneers-Titans was that turnovers could be the key to the game.

It’s a basic tenant but it turned out to be true in this one.

Turnovers by the Buccaneers gave the Titans offense early points and an inadvertent whistle by the referees took away a go-ahead score on punter Brett Kern’s fumble on the fake field goal.SharpeTDBucs

QB Jameis Winston was his usual self: Careless with the ball in the pocket and in the air. He had two interceptions and two fumbles and he gave the Titans’ offense two turnovers in scoring territory early in the first quarter of the game.

Winston’s career trajectory is following the model set by QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Flashes big-play ability but can’t avoid the turnovers.

Winston has just enough arm talent to intrigue teams, but his costly mistakes keep him from being a winning player in the NFL. This was something that plagued him at Florida State, but the Seminoles were able to “out-talent” most of their competitors.

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When the Titans needed one big drive, they went 90 yards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The defense had put them on the porch twice.

The Titans offense punched in a couple early touchdowns from wonderful field position provided by the defense. The first thanks to a Jameis Winston fumble from a too-early shotgun snap that bounced off the quarterback’s facemask and was recovered by Isaiah Mack, the second thanks to a Malcolm Butler interception.BrownTdBucs

But when the Titans needed a knockout punch against the Buccaneers on a day where the defense provided most of the field position, the offense had one big drive in them: The 12-play, 90-yard mark took them 6 minutes and 54 seconds in the fourth quarter.

That provided the final 27-23 margin.

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In midst of big win, another big questionable Mike Vrabel decision

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mike Vrabel loves the idea of delivering a knockout punch, so much so that sometimes it feels as if he forgets they play out the clock in the NFL no matter what.HumphriesBucs

Sunday in position to assure his team a worst-case scenario of a regulation tie, he insisted on an attempt to put it away.

But I was hardly the only person to come away from the Titans 27-23 win over the Buccaneers Sunday at Nissan Stadium confused.

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Mail: Picking the best of the worst, practice squad needs and trade talk

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Happy weekend. I hope you're able to dodge the rain, find some fun and enjoy some football.

Here is the public Periscope we did Thursday night.

If you missed the podcast with Frank Wycheck, you really ought to check that out.

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I got some good discussion topics in the mail so let's hit them.

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Can Titans be physical with Mike Evans as they were with Julio Jones? Scout's Take

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tampa Bay is coming off a bye week and needed a chance to regroup after losing three of its last four games.

On defense, the Buccaneers are built to stop the run with the No. 1 run-stopping defense but they struggle to stop the pass with the 32nd ranked defense against the pass.ButlerChargers

The Buccaneers have a defensive line of Ndamukong Suh, Vita Vea and William Gholston do they have the type of personnel that can not only hold the point-of-attack on plays run at them but also shed blocks and go make the play.

Vea is a space-eating NT who also has the quickness and movement skills to shed blocks and make plays inside the tackle box. Vea is playing at a high level and will be a tough matchup for the interior of the Titans’ offensive line.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When DaQuan Jones strolled around one of the Titans’ practice fields with me in early September, he didn’t want to blame his 2017 biceps injury for his 2018 season, but he admitted it had been a big factor.

This year, Jones has been a solid piece of the Titans’ high-quality defense, which ranks fourth on third down and fourth in points allowed.

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In his sixth season, Jones is again playing the way the team imagined he could under Mike Vrabel and Dean Pees as a strong force inside. He works as a base-defense nose tackle and has been inside with Jurrell Casey for a lot of nickel snaps.

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YAZOO PODCAST: Frank Wycheck on hitting rock bottom, rebounding and relocating

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  -- When Frank Wycheck moved to Philadelphia I asked him if, when he was ready, I could be the guy to share his story.

Tuesday he texted me that he was ready.PodcastYazooArtSquare

He sounded great in a nearly hour-long conversation during which we reminisced about old times but also looked deeply into his bouts with depression, the damage he did to relationships in Nashville by becoming a virtual recluse and the relocation which has helped him rebound and has him feeling newly upbeat.

We also covered his memories of The Wake Up Zone on 104.5 The Zone, his disappointment at how his tenure as the color analyst on Titans Radio ultimately ended, the May wedding of his oldest daughter, his disappointment with The History Channel, his view of Delanie Walker and Amy Adams Strunk, his delight about the Titans retiring the numbers of Steve McNair and Eddie George and NFL issues including CTE and player safety. 

Part 1 of the podcast is available on Apple PodcastsSticher, Spotify and TuneIn as well as directly through the Vokal website. (Please subscribe and offer a nice rating!)

If you're a member of the site, Part 1 and Part 2 are together, and all you have to do is log in and head below the line. (Here's the path to membership.)

You can find the history of this site's podcasts that require membership right here.

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