It wasn’t a perfect game but the Tennessee Titans did what was necessary to get a road win in Atlanta. I am not taking anything away from the team. They played physical. They played smart. (Most of the time.) But, I want to avoid declaring that all things are great after a big win. This team has plenty of potential. We just need to see it consistently.
Bend But Don’t Break 101
Without going overboard in my reaction, the 2019 Tennessee Titans’ defense has the personnel to be special. If, and it’s a gigantic IF, they can get consistent pressure on the quarterback, this defense has all the makings of a top 5 unit. Maybe top 3. They are disciplined yet incredibly aggressive. Dean Pees has them humming along like a well-oiled machine. They will keep the team in games all season.
Now, close your eyes and imagine how good they could look when Jeffery Simmons comes off of Injured Reserve. I’m a little giddy thinking about it.
Mariota Holds Off the Wolves for One More Week
The first half was one of the best halves of football Mariota has played in the NFL. He was decisive, accurate, and made great reads. Better yet, he threw the ball with anticipation. I hope this is a sign to the coaches that the offense does not have to be a “run first, run second, run all the time” offense. Obviously, the team will need to rely on the running game at various points of the season. But, they will be more effective if they allow Mariota and his receivers to make plays down the field.
“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”
Arthur Smith is still a puzzle to me as Offensive Coordinator. I think he will be good in time. I’ve seen enough glimmers to believe that, but he is also capable of being too predictable and too erratic in his play calling. The one thing that I am holding on to at this point is that he clearly understands how much this team needs big plays. He is scheming shots down the field and while they don’t always work, it’s a huge improvement from what we have seen in the last few seasons.
The season is young, and he has only been doing this for 4 games, but just like everything else with this team, Smith needs to start to show more consistency if the Titans are going to be legitimate contenders.
Mike Vrabel: Meathead
I like Mike Vrabel. I think he is a good coach and has the potential to be a great one. But there is still way too much player in him. Going for it on 4th down late in the game was the wrong choice. Every time. I’ve seen some people trying to defend the call but they are wrong. If you get the opportunity to go up 3 scores in the 4th quarter, particularly if you can kick an incredibly easy field goal to do it, you do it.
Vrabel has been preaching “aggressive but not reckless” all offseason to his team. That was incredibly reckless coaching decision. I understand that he trusted his defense to do their job, but 3 scores is always > than 2 scores and you don’t pass up that chance.
Let me know what you thought about the game. What are your biggest takeaways?