The Tennessee Titans have faced a ridiculous amount of adversity so far in the 2018 season.
Yet they’re 2-1 with a 2-0 record within their division. I think that’s a testament to Mike Vrabel as a head coach. I was skeptical of Vrabel (as I am with all first time head coaches), but he’s proving to be the right choice for the Titans.
But unfortunately for Vrabel, the Titans are still facing a considerable amount of adversity.
And it’s mostly at the quarterback position.
Marcus Mariota, who is dealing with a pinched nerve and can’t fully feel the ball, was forced to miss the Titans’ week two matchup against the Houston Texans. He was also going to miss the week three matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he was forced into the game after backup Blaine Gabbert went down with a head injury.
Moving forward, it’s likely that Mariota will be forced to play through his issues. This isn’t a question of toughness for Mariota, it’s simply the fact that a pinched nerve isn’t allowing him to feel the ball the way he should.
That also makes him a liability for the Titans. Vrabel told reporters on Monday there are throws Mariota can’t make right now.
Titans coach Mike Vrabel on Mariota: “Marcus’ status is probably the same as it was Fri or Sat. We’ll see where he is on Wed. There’s some things he can do and some throws he can’t comfortably make.”
— Travis Haney (@travhaney) September 17, 2018
I’m actually kind of surprised that Vrabel made this comment, though it’s not like it’s a big secret that Mariota can’t make all the throws right now.
— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) September 25, 2018
This obviously hampers the Titans offense a bit. It also makes it much easier for opposing coaches to game plan for the Titans.
But even with these limitations, Mariota is still the better option right now for the Titans.
Without Mariota, the Titans don’t beat the Jaguars on Sunday.
Vrabel: We wouldn’t have won the game without Marcus. Make no mistake about it.
— Terry McCormick (@terrymc13) September 24, 2018
Until Mariota is fully healthy, the Titans will be forced to rely on their grittiness to win games. They’ve proved they have no problem doing that.
I also think this is encouraging for Titans fans. We’ve yet to see this Tennessee team at full strength. They’re winning by adapting each week. That’s the sign of a great team.
It means things should only get better moving forward.
Obviously it hasn’t been an ideal start to the season for the Titans, as far as injuries are concerned, but it’s hard to be upset with a 2-1 record that has Tennessee at the top of the AFC South.
Featured image via ESPN