The Tennessee Titans have hit a bit of a rough patch in their season. The defense is still hanging in there, keeping the team in games, but the offense has lost its way. They have so much lost their way that Marcus Mariota was benched during last week’s loss to the Denver Broncos in favor of Ryan Tannehill. This week, the Titans have another shot to get back in the win column, this time against a struggling Los Angeles Chargers team that some thought would be in the playoffs again this year. Will the Titans get back on track or will they continue their losing streak to three games? Well if they want to win, then here are six things that could help them arrive in the winner’s circle.
1) Get Tannehill comfortable
Marcus Mariota has been benched in favor of Ryan Tannehill this week and there are many Titans fans that are happy. While they are happy, they better hope Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith calls a game that gets him comfortable early on. If Tannehill is able to get a script of plays that allow him to settle in, then it could benefit the Titans later on in the game with a comfortable quarterback that can make some things happen and Tannehill is capable. If he isn’t able to get comfortable, then the Titans could be looking at Mariota coming back into the lineup because an uncomfortable Tannehill can be dangerous to the Titans as a team.
2) Protect at all costs
The Titans’ offensive line has been subpar this season. And to be honest, no matter who is at quarterback, they will not succeed without any consistent blocking up front. The Titans have to figure out what schemes the Chargers are using and effectively block for Tannehill. If not, then Tannehill has the ability to run just like Mariota, but eventually that luck of running around will come to an end. You’re getting paid to protect the quarterback and open holes for the running backs. All five offensive linemen need to be dialed in this week and hopefully the remainder of the season.
3) Team effort in the passing game
The Titans haven’t gotten Delanie Walker involved much this season on offense, and while that is perplexing, the Titans have much bigger issues than not getting him involved. The passing game has been inconsistent as a whole. Some of that is because the quarterback has been hanging on to the ball too long. Another part of that failed equation is offensive linemen not getting their assignments taken care of consistently. The part that matters most to the wide receivers and tight ends is the routes they run and actually getting open. Some of them getting open is on the play-calling and the other part of it is running the right routes or reading the right coverage you’re running the routes against. If both the wide receivers and tight ends are able to be consistently perform Sunday, then the Titans should have a more successful day though the air.
1) Bring the heat
The Titans got after the quarterback great last week versus Denver, accumulating seven sacks for the game. That was different than the norm for the Titans, but in order for them to succeed this week, they will need at or close to the number of sacks they got versus Denver. So Harold Landry III and crew must be able to cause problems against the Los Angeles Chargers offensive line. The more pressure they are able to bring, the more the Chargers offense will be disrupted.
2) Clog up the running lanes
Melvin Gordon didn’t really get on track last week against the Steelers, only tallying 18 yards on eight carries. Eventually he will get on track, but the Titans need to make sure that it isn’t against them. The more one-dimensional the Titans can make the Chargers, the easier it will be to defend them and the more in control the Titans defense will be.
3) Locate Keenan Allen
Keenan Allen is one of the best wide receivers no one talks about. So far this year, he has 40 receptions for 503 yards. The next closest wide receiver has only 19 receptions, so the Titans need to make sure to give him the attention he needs. Whether it be shading Kevin Byard to his side of the field or just make sure to have someone underneath his routes at all times, the Titans need to make sure he does not get involved like usual. If he is absent from the gameplan mostly, then look for the Chargers pass game to struggle more than usual and that means having Philip Rivers find different targets than usual.
This game will is big for the Titans. If they lose, the slide continues to three games in a row. If they win, they stem the tide and can hopefully find a winning formula. It will be interesting to see what happens Sunday as the Titans take the field in search of another win.
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