Scouts take: Dissecting what the Titans did in Kansas City

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans had won ugly over the previous three weeks, but against a good team like the Chiefs that wasn’t good enough.

They needed playmakers.

WillisSackedKCusa

© George Walker IV / Tennessean.com

The Titans had a simple game plan on both sides of the ball and were able to hold the lead for most of the game.

But the better quarterback, in Patrick Mahomes, and the better overall team, in the Chiefs, were able to finish on top.

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The wide receiver issue killed the Titans in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – They were hardly targeted, which was not that far outside of expectations.

The Titans are as far from wide receiver-reliant as a 2020 NFL team can be. And when their moments came, they showed just what you get in exchange for such de-emphasis.

Nick Westbrook-Ikhine

© Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Their failures felt like an awakening, or at least an admission.

It started with a pregame quote to ESPN’s Ed Werder in a Saturday phone call, carried into a game in which they caught zero passes -- missing two monstrous chances -- and continued in the postgame conversation after a 20-17 overtime loss to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

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PodcastArtNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A new podcast episode awaits you and you can find it on Apple, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.

Whichever platform you prefer, please subscribe, rate and review.

Subjects I delve into:

  • If it's Malik Willis, how little he showed to build on.
  • Derrick Henry and the injury report.
  • Kristian Fulton's aspirations.
  • Nickel options with Elijah Molden possibly back, Amani Hooker likely out.
  • An interesting defensive streak.
  • A potential special teams issue that Craig Aukerman, of course, thinks is fine.
  • Stats you need to know

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans, so far, have broken out of their nasty little habit of not just playing down to the level of poor competition, but losing to it.

Through seven games, they’ve taken care of the teams they should beat, stacking up consecutive wins against the Raiders, at the Colts, at the Commanders, against the Colts and at Houston.

The biggest victory in that stretch has been by 9-points, but that's been about the Titans' shortcomings, not their failures against lesser opponents.

Kevin Byard and Darren Waller

© Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

The opening-day loss felt like it might fall into the category of losing to a bad team, but the Giants have turned out to be a quality team, and the Bills are the AFC’s best.

But in the Mike Vrabel era -- when the Titans have dropped games to bad teams like the 2021 Jets and Texans and the 2020 Bengals – the Titans also rise to the occasion against premier teams, particularly Buffalo and Kansas City.

That certainly wasn’t the case in Week Two on Monday night in Buffalo, when Tennessee was blown out, 41-7.

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PK TVNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- We were overdue to invite everyone to join us for an episode of PK TV, so we went beyond the regular gang to discuss the Titans as they prepare for a tough trip to Kansas City Sunday night.

Jeffery Simmons made some interesting comments to The Athletic about what the Titans told him about his contract during the offseason which prompted a lot of angst on my Twitter timeline.

We covered that as well as how the Titans haven't played down to bad competition this year as they have done occasionally in previous years under Mike Vrabel.

They had success against the Bills, however, and got hammered in Buffalo in prime time. They've had success against the Chiefs as well. Could the trip to Kansas City be like the one to Western New York?

You can rewatch on Facebook or Twitter or head below for YouTube. [Unlocked]

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans are 5-2 and heading to a huge Sunday night game in Kansas City, but fans are understandably feeling angst after Jeffery Simmons opened up about his contract situation in a piece at The Athletic.

He described his offseason contract conversation with the Titans like this:

Simmons49ersDP

Courtesy Tennessee Titans

“It was, ‘We want you to be here, but we don’t know exactly when we’ll be able to pay you,’” Simmons said. “The Titans were like, ‘We don’t know if we’re going to be able to offer you what you think you are worth. We want to pay you, but we don’t know where it’s going to come from.’ That’s basically what it was, not an offer.”

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Mike Herndon: Identity win in Houston meant Derrick Henry, Jeffery Simmons

BY MIKE HERNDON, columnist

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans' 17-10 win over the Texans in Houston was a near-perfect encapsulation of what Mike Vrabel’s team needs to be at this very moment.

They ran the ball 45 times for 314 yards while attempting just 10 passes and suffocated the Texans' offense with a dominant defense. Short of a bad special teams gaffe by Robert Woods and a garbage-time touchdown drive by the Texans, this may as well have been a Vrabel fever dream.Derrick Henry

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, the extreme reliance on the running game was partially dictated by Malik Willis being inserted into the starting lineup for an injured Ryan Tannehill, but this was always going to be a Derrick Henry game facing a Texans defense that ranked last in the NFL at stopping the run coming into this matchup.

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