Scouting review: How Titans got back on track against Jaguars

BY BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans got back in the win column in Jacksonville and really that is all that mattered.

The Titans couldn’t have had a better start with less than one minute into the contest when Kevin Byard returned a fumble for a touchdown.

Elijah Molden made a textbook tackle and caused the fumble by newly acquired tight end Dan Arnold.

Derrick Henry

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It could have been seen as a questionable call, but I believe you can’t punish the defense for making a good play and I am glad the play stood.

The second possession by the Jaguars was different. James Robinson ran off tackle for 58 yards. Rashaan Evans had a busted assignment that caused the big hole and long run.

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A laundry list of things to address after a much-needed Titans' win

The Titans were so much better on their way to a good result in Jacksonville, doing a lot to find a path to a win.

But it was not hard for Mike Vrabel to top your to-do list when he reviewed all that still ails his team and needs to be worked on as his team faces forward and prepares for a much better team than the Jets or the Jaguars as the Bills come to Nashville for Monday Night Football.

Chris Jackson

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“It’s really good to do some things that are really positive to mask some of the stuff that is going to cause you to lose,” Vrabel told reporters in Jacksonville. “…The poor fundamentals, poor tackling, penalties, protection issues, not getting Derrick (Henry) enough room in the run game. Just a lot of things.

“That starts with me, and it’s also got to be on the players to go out there and know what to do, play fundamentally sound. But when we had to have plays, we had them.”

They are in an incremental forward progress phase, it seems. And while they can be impatient with many elements of it, we know the drill.

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Scouting preview: Jaguars will defend Titans with better CBs than Jets did

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Jaguars are 0-4 but getting better and more competitive each week.

No one knows what team will show up Sunday after the mess head coach Urban Meyer created this week with his off-the-field situation.Titans versus Jaguars

Players are inherently prideful and do not want or like to be considered a bad team or organization.

I expect this team to fight and compete versus a division rival that is coming off an embarrassing loss to the New York Jets.

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BravNASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Earth didn’t split in two and there were no lightning strikes when Bud Dupree spoke candidly about what’s unfolded for him through five weeks of the NFL season attempting to return from ACL repair surgery on his right knee.

He tore it playing for Pittsburgh against the Ravens on Dec. 2, 2020.

DupreeDP

Pool photo/ Donald Page/ Tennessee Titans

It was the sort of candor that was informative about a guy’s body and process, giving away no state secrets that will lead to the undoing of his new team’s season but granting fans some actual insight into why the high-dollar investment was a shell of himself in the two games he played and has been absent from the field on two Sundays since. [Unlocked]

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The third-down defense is dramatically better, in large part because the pass rush is much improved.

But look closely at the 2-2 Titans and it’s easy to say what they need is the same thing we’d have said they needed after the 2020 season.

Corner help to stop big plays.Denico Autry

Denico Autry/ Courtesy Tennessee Titans 

A new right tackle to make up for the Isaiah Wilson fiasco and the financially motivated release of Dennis Kelly.

Additional edge rush to take some of the burdens off of Harold Landry.

The Titans did address these matters. It’s just that the people they brought in have, collectively, done incredibly little through four games.

Here’s a newcomer contribution index on a scale of 1-10.

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Dillon RadunzNASHVILLE, Tenn. – A year ago, the protection of Ryan Tannehill was a primary feature of the Titans’ offense.

He was sacked just 24 times.

Through four games this season, he’s gone down 17 times already. Projections for a full season when things are bad early rarely pan out, but over a 17-game season they are on pace for 72.

Taylor Lewan’s return was supposed to settle things down with his return from ACL repair.

But he got destroyed by Arizona’s Chandler Jones in the opener, didn’t play in the second game in Seattle after a warm-up issue, bemoaned the opening-day boos after a satisfactory performance against the Colts and hid following Sunday’s disaster against the Jets in New Jersey.

Rodger Saffold has not been bad, when he’s been available. But he’s dealt with a shoulder injury and left the Jets game with a concussion.

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Scouting review: How the Titans came apart against the Jets

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans were without their two best receiving options in A.J. Brown and Julio Jones both missing the game with hamstring injuries.

And they lost to one of the worst teams in the NFL. The Jets, Jaguars, Texans and Lions will be picking in the top 10 in the 2022 draft.

Jamison Crowder on Kristian Fulton

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If a team wants to be a top team when the season is done it must beat the bottom-feeders of the NFL.

The Titans were gifted the ability to play five games against those teams this year.

Unfortunately, they are 0-1 against them.

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Titans too often absent in horrific OT loss to Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – “Absent.”

That’s what it said in white letters on Josh Reynolds' black T-shirt when he took the podium to speak to the media after the Titans’ hard-to-swallow 27-24 overtime loss to the Jets.

That’s what too many key members of the Titans were because of injuries. That’s what the Titans’ big-play defense was. That’s what the Titans’ pass protection was. That’s what the receivers’ separation was.

Ryan Tannehill

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That mark the Titans should have got in the win column in a game against a terrible team is also absent, given instead to a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback, as their first victories in the league, memories they will never forget.

In a 17-game season, four games is no longer officially the quarter mark. But the Titans are a confounding team that has played well below expectations, expectations the franchise welcomed.

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