There is a weapon the Tennessee Titans offense has in their arsenal that could be a key to getting past the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
The Tennessee Titans have a big challenge in front of them. On Sunday, they will face the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.
Unlike in the Titans’ previous two games, both wins over AFC South opponents, the offense will be at full strength against Philadelphia. All-Pro tackle Jack Conklin is set to return from the torn ACL he suffered in the postseason, and quarterback Marcus Mariota seems to have regained nearly all of the feeling in his throwing hand.
Head coach Mike Vrabel mentioned on Wednesday that he does not expect the playbook to have to be scaled back for Mariota this week, adding “I think he’s getting better every day. I mentioned that pretty much since the game, and he feels like there’s a lot of confidence there.”
Marcus Mariota looked good again at today’s practice. Here’s 18 of his throws: pic.twitter.com/CeUUCu1OIZ
— Erik Bacharach (@ErikBacharach) September 26, 2018
Since the offense is going to be close to full strength in terms of health, that makes the job of offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur a lot easier. He has spent the past two weeks creating patchwork gameplans to serve as metaphorical bandaids for the ailing roster.
Now, he will have a lot more freedom. He will have the opportunity to showcase the creativity and innovativeness that the Titans go after him following the hire of Vrabel.
LaFleur admitted that he does look forward to having a fully-healthy team come Sunday. “It is a little encouraging to see a Jack Conklin back on the field, and you’ve got Lewan, and Marcus is doing well in practice. So, yeah, we’re excited about that.”
This matchup will certainly require plenty of creativity from LaFleur. With a bevy of big-name pass rushers such as Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Chris Long, Derek Barnett, and Michael Bennett the Eagles have more starting-caliber defensive lineman than they can actually play on a given snap.
That depth gives the Eagles the chance to do something that they often take great advantage of, rotating guys on the defensive line in and out to keep fresh bodies on the field. The Titans will need to do their best to combat that.
The obvious way for the Titans to prevent the Eagles from keeping fresh bodies on the field the entire game is to now allow them to make substitutions by running the hurry-up. The Titans have dabbled in running a no-huddle offense at times through three games, but the discontinuity due to injuries has kept them from doing it consistently.
This week, the Titans need to make running the hurry up a priority.
LaFleur spoke on Thursday to both the benefits and challenges of utilizing the hurry-up. “I think the hurry-up is more or less just you trying to get a feel for the game. And if you think that’s the best way to move the ball, then you go to it. As far as trying to wear those guys down, it has the same effect on your own guys. And then you get a break, and they substitute their guys in. I think it’s a total feel thing.”
Vrabel on the use of the hurry up offense. pic.twitter.com/Zz0FFZxUO1
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) September 27, 2018
Vrabel added that use of the hurry-up definitely could be helpful against the Eagles. “It’s a weapon we can use throughout the game—different tempos to try to help us move the football. I think Matt [LaFleur] has done a great job of mixing it in and having it be successful and allowing our guys to understand how it can help us get in the plays and get in the formations and try to dictate what the defense may do.”
Don’t expect for the Chip Kelly offense to make an appearance at Nissan Stadium on Sunday, but the Titans likely will use the hurry-up to their advantage throughout the game’s entirety.
You simply cannot allow the Eagles to keep fresh guys on the field for the entire game. There is a reason that they won the Super Bowl last season, and the team is arguably even better now that it was back then.
Knocking Philadelphia off of its game will be key. Keeping their defense on the field is the best way to do that.
Cover images via Titans Online.