I think it’s safe to say this Tennessee Titans defense is in a boatload of trouble moving forward.
Yes, the Titans have immensely struggled on the defensive side of the ball this season. But I surely didn’t expect this unit to consistently struggle, and fail to find any sort of answers for their pitiful play.
There’s too much talent on this defense, too much experience, and too much leadership to make you even think this recent bad stretch of play would become the norm. Not only that, Mike Vrabel’s staff is full of guys who at first glance, look like the right men to lead and teach the growing amount of talent on this Titans defense.
Even if the factors I listed above still remain true, one thing is painfully clear.
This defense needs a shake-up, and they need it in the worst way.
The Titans dropped their 2nd straight game today, and the defense deserves a major part of the blame. Joe Burrow threw for 249 yards and 2 touchdowns, looking comfortable all game long for the most part, while dicing up this Titans secondary like it was the easiest thing in the world.
He wasn’t sacked and he wasn’t hit for the first time all season according to PFF, which is a major surprise considering how many starting offensive lineman were missing from the lineup for Cincinnati.
Cincinnati was missing 4 starting OL, but Joe Burrow wasn’t sacked or hit at all for the first time this season.https://t.co/OUKeRwTQjh
— PFF (@PFF) November 1, 2020
That’s something I don’t think anyone expected to happen, even with the Titans possessing one of the worst pass rushes in all of football.
Sure, the team has only sacked opposing quarterbacks 7 times this season, and yes the pressure numbers haven’t been great at all. But when you have a talented edge rushing group that consists of Jadeveon Clowney, Harold Landry, and Vic Beasley, you should expect some sort of production in the sack department.
Especially if the quarterback you’re trying to shut down, has a bad tendency to sometimes hold on to the ball for too long in the pocket.
However, the secondary didn’t do this defense and this pass rush any favors either.
Usually, we’ve gone back and forth debating which corner couldn’t do their job during that week.
It’s a weird discussion, but it’s one that has been necessary to have.
Sometimes it’s been Malcolm Butler, sometimes it’s been Chris Jackson, and even last week Tye Smith found himself failing to make plays in the back end.
But no corner for the Titans has been worse than off-season acquisition Johnathan Joseph, who once again showed that he just isn’t good enough to hold up against modern talent at the wide receiver position.
I can’t begin to explain how much of a liability Joseph was today, and how much of a liability he’s been this season. Obviously, you’d expect Mike Vrabel to get together with his staff, and make the easy decision to limit Joseph’s snaps moving forward, which is what you’d do during a normal situation defensively.
But the thing is, the Titans simply don’t have any other options at this point.
Tye Smith was already out for today’s game, Kristian Fulton was placed on IR just yesterday, and Adoree Jackson continues to remain sidelined with a knee injury. So that leaves you with placing all your hopes and dreams on practice squads corners you normally don’t want to throw out there on defense, a situation no head coach would even want to attempt to fight their way through.
It’s left the Titans scrambling for answers as to why they’ve struggled so much defensively, particularly on 3rd down, an area the Titans were pitiful in once again today(Bengals, 10-15 on 3rd down).
Did I even mention how this defense has barely been able to halfway function without a true defensive coordinator?
That’s harsh, but the true idea of the point still stands.
It’s just a myriad of problems that are plaguing this Titans defense week after week. There’s no easy answers to solve this overall collective problem right now, and that’s troubling moving forward for a team that has Super Bowl aspirations.
Whether it’s a shuffling of personnel, or changing some responsibilities for some members on the coaching staff, this defense needs some sort of change.
Whatever it is, it needs to be implemented fast.
Because we’re getting to a point where you can’t just say “oh, this defense is talented, they’ll come around soon enough”. We’re getting into an important stretch of the season for teams that have playoff plans, and if you don’t have your business in order, you could get burned.
We’ll see what this Titans staff does to turn this defense around in the next couple of weeks or so. But there has to be a change, because what they’ve been doing so far isn’t working in the slightest.