The Tennessee Titans’ Super Bowl aspirations have faded quickly after the team has looked like a pretender following three losses in its last four games. What once looked like a promising 5-0 start has morphed into a depressing 6-3 mark that has left little to no room for optimism.
A stretch like that, which is the result of failures in all three phases, should lead to some changes, whether big or small. Of course, one potential move that has been argued for in Titans circles is to fire special teams coordinator, Craig Aukerman.
While his seat should no doubt be hot at the very least with the special teams unit playing horribly all around, we just don’t see head coach Mike Vrabel making the switch, as he’s often loyal to a fault.
Adding to that, it’s doubtful firing Aukerman will have that much of an impact anyway because two-thirds of the issue on special teams is performance-based.
As a result of both of those factors, we’re not going to list that move here, even though it probably should happen.
So, if no coaching changes are coming, that means moves will have to be made on the players side in order to shake things up with the intention of getting better results.
Here’s a look at six changes the Titans should make for the Week 11 contest against the Baltimore Ravens.
With Brett Kern eligible to come off Injured Reserve after Week 11, the Titans might not need a fill-in at punter for much longer.
However, whether it’s for one week or more, Ryan Allen should be the man for the job moving forward after Trevor Daniel was a total disaster in Week 10.
It never made any sense for the Titans to make the switch in the first place. Daniel might have out-performed Allen in practice, but it was Allen who had proven he could get it done in an actual game after totaling 50.5 yards per punt against the Chicago Bears in Week 9.
With Stephen Gostkowski struggling yet again in Week 10 after missing his league-leading eighth field goal of the season, it’s time for the Titans to look at a different option.
Now, this is not to say that the Titans should part ways with Gostkowski just yet, mostly because there isn’t much else out there.
However, the Titans can make Gostkowski inactive for Week 11 and elevate recently-signed Giorgio Tavecchio from the practice squad. Clearly the kicker situation is broken right now, so the Titans have nothing to lose.
There are no two ways about it: Rashaan Evans simply isn’t getting the job done in 2020, and that was apparent once again in Week 10, which might have been his worst game of the season.
Even with his struggles, the Titans haven’t used David Long much, as the former sixth-round pick has played a grand total of 25 snaps in the eight games he’s been active, and has played zero snaps in four of those games.
Long certainly flashed in 2019, so it isn’t clear what has led to his non-existent playing time in 2020, but the Titans really have nothing to lose by giving him more opportunities in place of Evans.
If nothing else, perhaps this is the kick in the rear-end Evans needs to play better.
Henry is averaging 19.3 carries per game the last three weeks, and that simply isn’t enough, especially with the Titans’ passing attack struggling. We understand the desire to try and keep Henry fresh for later in the season; but what good is that if the Titans collapse and don’t make the playoffs?
Overall, the Titans are 5-1 when Henry totals 20 carries or more, and there’s a good reason for that. Giving the Alabama product the ball more helps the offense out in more ways than one.
It can help slow down the pass-rush, keep the Titans’ defense off the field, tire out the opposing defense, and do wonders for better setting up the play-action, where Ryan Tannehill thrives. Furthermore, the more Henry gets the ball, the better chance he has to break one of his customary big plays.
Feed. The. King. More.
There’s no question that Roberson provided a boost to the Titans’ pass rush upon getting a chance in Week 9, so it was puzzling to see him get just 11 snaps in Week 10.
Rotate Roberson in for Harold Landry and Jadeveon Clowney throughout the game and see if he can help change things on the edge. Clowney in particular always seems to fade as the game goes on, so perhaps getting him more rest will help Clowney play a more complete 60 minutes.
As we saw during the Titans’ first drive of Week 10, and really, for much of the first half, creativity often breeds success for the Titans.
Unfortunately, offensive coordinator Arthur Smith went away from that approach as the game progressed, leading to the Titans getting shut out during the second half.
Here’s some things Smith can do differently:
- Dial up more passing plays (and deep balls) on early downs using play-action.
- Don’t run on 2nd-and-10 as often.
- Stop going with toss plays; they are always a disaster.
- Find more ways to get Jonnu Smith involved, both on the ground and through the air.
- Give Kalif Raymond more deep-ball opportunities and provide extra help in pass protection if that’s necessary to get it done.
- Feed. The. King.
- Go with more trick plays.
Not exactly rocket science, but taking these steps could help improve an offense that hasn’t played well in a month. It’s time to find a way to wake this unit up.