The Titans are still rolling with the “run the football, play good defense” philosophy that’s stuck with this organization ever since its move to Nashville in 1998.
From Eddie George, to Chris Johnson, to now Derrick Henry, this team has had a handful of talented running backs walk into Nissan Stadium and the Titans haven’t let their talents go to waste.
However, lost in all the success of the running backs is how little nationally notable wide receiver play the Titans have received. Derrick Mason has been the only consistent wide receiver to have produced in this run first era for the Titans. After him, well not many have put up the numbers.
That’s why when the Titans drafted Corey Davis and AJ Brown, and signed Adam Humphries, the potential for low volume that came with them seemed so alarming.
Especially with the late season success Derrick Henry had last season.
Still though, it’s pretty damn inexcusable for a core with that much talent to not be involved a lot more in the offense each and every week.
It’s like having an above average meal you get in a nice restaurant, and dumping it all on the floor for absolutely no reason.
So far this year, the Titans are 21st in the league in receiving yards from their WRs. That’s completely unacceptable, especially considering that the Bengals, Raiders, and Cardinals are ahead in this particular stat.
I’m aware that the Cardinals do employ an air raid offense, so don’t come crying to me about it.
Which makes the point of modernizing this offense much more larger in hindsight. The run first attitude of this organization isn’t built to have elite, sustained success in today’s NFL.
You can get away with it for a while if you have a top tier defense, and different concepts that grasp the nature of modern offenses in football today.
If you want some examples, look no further than the Minnesota Vikings and the Baltimore Ravens.
The Vikings have an abundance of talent on the outside, but still look to keep their identity as a run first football team. Minnesota can afford to do this simply because of the athletic, physical defense that they employ.
The Ravens hang on to the run first offensive attitude, but they’ve modernized their offense around their young QB to take better advantage of the particular skill set he brings.
In case you were wondering, the Titans don’t have a top tier defense that they can rely on to take over a game against an above average offense.
You can call it good and I’d agree with you 100%. But as soon as this defense has been met with some sort of gamechanging player/offense, its looked completely average.
Reference the games against the Chargers, Buccaneers, Chiefs, and even Panthers for reference.
This Titans team also hasn’t modernized their offense to gear towards a specific players’ skill set, nor have they realized the WR talent around them and have taken advantage of the skills that they bring.
Get them some screens, scheme them open as many times as possible instead of relying on a running game to get them open, literally anything else other than long developing dig routes off of play action out of a heavy set with 3 tight ends.
Want more suggestions? Run them a slant or 2, these top 3 WRs have too much RAC ability and savvy to get open to NOT try it.
There are so many ways you can run simple concepts and routes to get these 3 the ball, but yet, the Titans are way too hesitant to jump on the opportunity.
There shouldn’t be a game where the Titans can’t find a way to get the ball in the hands of Humphries, Davis, and Brown a combined 10 times a game.
Especially when it comes against defenses with secondaries that are pieced together by years old pieces of office tape.
Don’t give me the whole offensive line crap either. This line has pass blocked their tail off these last couple of weeks, most notably, after the QB change from Marcus Mariota to Ryan Tannehill.
Sooner or later, the Titans will be faced with having to get their talented WR core more involved. They can try to ram the ball down people’s throats and call it their identity, but that stubborn identity will leave them out of the postseason.
Sure, the ability to run the football well in January and beyond is very important towards a team’s chances of being able to lift the Lombardi trophy.
But when you begin to see stacked boxes and those 5 yard runs out of one formation turn into 2 yard runs, you’ll be faced with the horrifying(sarcasm) reality of throwing the football.
This isn’t a dig on Derrick Henry and his amazing play so far this year, but rather a realization that is necessary in order to achieve greater heights as a football team.
If you aren’t able to do that, you might as well kiss your playoff hopes goodbye, and maybe even your job within an organization.
It’s the harsh truth, but a truth that needs to be heard.