Last week’s 38-13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals has left a sour taste in the mouths of those who are fans of the Titans. Mostly because they once again made the fanbase look stupid for genuinely believing that this Titans team was going to be different and are now forced to listen to a week’s worth of people already writing off the Titans.
Last Sunday was far from ideal but it is not time to panic yet. The Titans now have the chance to help right the wrongs of last week against another legitimate contender out of the NFC.
These are the five biggest storylines as Tennessee heads down to Seattle to take on the Seahawks.
Can Titans continue perfect record following double-digit losses?
If there is one thing to be optimistic about right now, it’s the fact that the Titans are a perfect 7-0 when coming off double-digit losses in the Mike Vrabel era.
Vrabel has a knack for getting his team to respond to adversity after getting punched in the mouth. Some of Vrabel’s most signature wins over Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson happened after double-digit losses. Now they have the opportunity to add Russell Wilson to that list.
This will be the first regular-season game that Seattle has had any fans since 2019 and is sure to be a hostile environment. Tennessee has the rare chance to make a statement against another strong opponent to show everyone that last week was just a fluke.
Will the Titans’ offense start the game with a sense of urgency this week?
After all the off-season hype for this star-studded offense, to say the group laid an egg in their debut would be a massive understatement. After their first quarter on the field together, the offense as a whole had negative one total yard, had allowed three sacks and one forced fumble all to the same player.
To make matters worse, Kyler Murray and company came out firing on all cylinders meanwhile the Titans’ offense didn’t allow their fans to do their first down chant until the second quarter.
The Titans head to Seattle this week to face a defense that just made a very strong Colts offensive line look mediocre at best after accounting for three sacks and 10 quarterback hits in Indianapolis. If offensive coordinator Todd Downing and his unit don’t approach this week with a sense of urgency, they could be destined for a repeat blunder of a performance in what is sure to be a raucous atmosphere.
There was obviously a plethora of other things I didn’t like from last week that I would hope to see improved against Seattle. I will elaborate a lot more in depth on exactly what those are in my ‘offensive forecast’ article that will be dropping this Friday.
Can the Titans’ defense contain Russell Wilson better than they did Kyler Murray?
One week after being carved up by one of the most electric young quarterbacks in the league, Titans’ defensive coordinator Shane Bowen now has to get his group ready for one of the most electric quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen in Russell Wilson.
The Titans went in with this corral and capture mentality against Murray instead of going for a tone-setting hit and unfortunately didn’t accomplish either more often than not.
To be fair to the defense, the offense put them in horrible positions throughout the game as well. Turnovers constantly gave Arizona short fields including one fumble that backed them up into their own one-yard line. Nonetheless, it would be a reach to say the defense didn’t have a ton of bad moments as well.
The entire Cardinals’ receiver group seemed to outclass the majority of the team’s secondary. The pressure from the front seven was occasionally there but it seemed like the defense was thinking too much as to whether they should go for Murray or try and contain him. This week against Wilson, the defense must be smart with their attack, but they also must let their instincts take over in those situations.
It was a lackluster performance and effort on both sides of the ball, but if Bowen and his defensive staff don’t get a lot of these mental lapses cleaned up for Week 2, the Titans could be looking at an 0-2 start that will surely send a large portion of this fanbase into panic mode.
Will the kicking curse continue?
I’m not sure what kind of voodoo the Titans have with their kicking situation over the last few years, but it’s almost become comical at this point. The Titans seemingly found their kicker in Sam Ficken after he made 60-of-67 field goal attempts (89 percent) in practices while nailing all 13 of his kicks in the preseason (four extra points).
Unfortunately, the Titans can’t have nice things when it comes to the kicker position as Ficken went down with an injury during last week’s practice. The Penn State product was then put on injured reserve and is eligible to return after three weeks.
This led the Titans to signing kickers Michael Badgley to the active roster and Randy Bullock to their practice squad.
We should have known it was going to be a disaster when the Titans signed someone who self-proclaimed himself as the “money badger” yet has mostly been anything but money since joining the league. Badgley missed an extra point and a 46-yard field goal right before the half that led the crowd to audibly let their frustration be known about this never-ending dilemma with the teams’ kickers.
The self-proclaimed money badger is now back on the streets and Bulluck is the next man up who aims to keep the Titans afloat until they get their real Ficken kicker back.
Will Tennessee make better in-game coaching adjustments on OBVIOUS weaknesses?
One of the most frustrating things about last week’s defeat is how the coaching staff seemingly refused to make any type of adjustments towards trying to stop Chandler Jones.
They constantly let their tackles be on an island with Jones who often overwhelmed them with a combination of instincts, speed, and power that truly was a sight to behold.
Yet rather than trying to help Taylor Lewan who was visibly struggling, they chose to bench him for a few series and blame it on “cramps”. His replacement, Kendall Lamm, proceeded to get put through the same ringer that Lewan did, as did the entire offensive line on a day where Jones looked every bit like the future Hall of Famer that he inevitably will be when he calls it a career.
Jones finished the day with six total tackles, five sacks, six quarterback hits, four tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles.
At some point, you have to start giving Jones the Aaron Donald treatment and do everything possible to make someone else beat them. Instead, they continued to let their offense get embarrassed as Jones often overwhelmed everyone by deciding when and where he wanted to wreck the game with little to no resistance.
The Seahawks may not have a pass rushing monster off the edge like Chandler Jones on their team, but they have a defense that is more than capable of ruining their Sunday afternoon if they continue to be stubborn with their plan rather than adapting as the game goes.
Be on the lookout for ways the Seahawks successfully attack the Titans’ offense and defense on Sunday and how they do or don’t adapt to those attacks.