We are two weeks into the NFL season, and the opinions on the 2-0 Tennessee Titans are coming in hot. The Titans are among the best in the NFL, in regards to wins and losses, so that means they will be judged accordingly.
There are a multitude of opinions about the Titans so far. They are ranging from them being flukes for barely beating the Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars, to them being contenders because they are finding ways to win.
Regardless of what you may think of them, here are the facts: they are winning the games they should win. And that’s really all that matters. However, let’s take a look at some of the most common opinions thus far, and determine if they are justified or overreactions.
THE TENNESSEE TITANS DEFENSE
The Titans were able to boast a really good defense in 2019 up until defensive back Malcolm Butler went down with an injury. They went through six consecutive weeks without allowing more than 20 points.
In 2020, they’ve already allowed 30 to the Jaguars in just week two. Their defensive flaws are being exploited by quarterbacks like Gardner Minshew, and that leaves me worried about what will happen when they face guys like Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers.
It is important to keep in mind a few things when judging the Tennessee Titans defense. One of them is the fact that they are missing an important player in Adoree Jackson. The Titans have played young rookies in his places so far this season.
Also, having no preseason and little time in the offseason puts the Titans in a bad place. Yet, I can’t get over the days of Vrabel as defensive coordinator in Houston. Vrabel’s defense in Houston was 32nd overall, 24th in pass defense, and 13th in rush defense. Now, he’s wearing two hats as the defensive coordinator and head coach.
You could argue that maybe he didn’t have the same amount of talent in Houston as he does now. You could also argue that he’s dealing with injuries. Well, to your defense, he did deal with injuries in Houston too. But, I still would’ve liked to see him hire a defensive coordinator.
THE CONCERNS ABOUT TITANS DEFENSE: JUSTIFIED
RYAN TANNEHILL AND THE TENNESSEE TITANS OFFENSE
This Tennessee Titans offense is fun to watch. They looked sloppy in week one, and expectedly so. However, in week two, they started right out of the gate firing on all cylinders.
When was the last time the Titans scored that easily on the first drive? For years, the Titans found it very difficult to produce six points on opening drives, yet they made it look real easy versus Jacksonville.
Ryan Tannehill already has six touchdowns and the sixth best QB rating in the NFL. And, if you paid any attention to this team last year, you’d know this is just picking up where they left off.
The offensive play calling has been stellar, Tannehill has been fantastic, and despite seeing defenses load the box and run blitz him like crazy, Derrick Henry is second in the league in rushing.
This offense is legit, and once Henry gets going, things will only get better.
OPTIMISM SURROUNDING TITANS OFFENSE: JUSTIFIED
DERRICK HENRY AND JADEVEON CLOWNEY
These two players have been scrutinized, and the concern is real. Henry hasn’t seemed like himself so far this season, and maybe that is because we are all so used to what he did in weeks 10 through the playoffs in 2019.
I briefly mentioned Henry in my last point, and said he is second in the league in rushing. Keep in mind, he is seeing defense’s aggressive packages. Defensive coordinators are game-planning for Henry and forcing the Titans to beat them through the air.
That’s why Ryan Tannehill has been lights out. The main question is, will Henry be able to find his groove and overcome being the centerpiece of a defensive gameplan?
Now for Clowney, the concern is if he was worth the hassle. He hasn’t done much of anything so far in Tennessee recording just four tackles. Almost makes you question why he was even hyped up as much as he was.
However, Clowney signed with Tennessee three weeks ago, and in a season without a preseason and normal offseason activities, it will take time for him to get into football shape and begin making the impact we know he can make.
So be patient with both Henry and Clowney, the production will rise soon.
CONCERNS REGARDING CLOWNEY AND HENRY: OVERREACTIONS
It has been the most fun two weeks in over a decade for the Tennessee Titans. However, there are still 14 more games to play. That is plenty of time for Vrabel to fix his defense and for Henry to find his groove.
Featured image by Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports