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Tales for the Titans: David Long and the defense come up big in DC, carrying Tennessee to 3-2.

Photo: Geoff Burke / USA TODAY Sports

After week 2 the season was over. Right? A crushing loss to the Giants, and a blowout loss to the Bills. Derrick Henry isn’t the same, and Ryan Tannehill is nothing without AJ Brown. Mike Vrabel is a bad coach and should be fired. Right??? Flash forward 3 weeks. Tennessee is atop the AFC South the way they should be at 3-2, after their 21-17 win vs. the Commanders in the nation's capital, and is going into their bye week, giving them time to get healthy before they smack the rest of the division. Ladies and gents, it's time to TitanUp.

Game Observations

The offense needs Treylon Burks. The rookie wide receiver has turf toe, and is on IR, which means he has to miss at least 4 games before he can practice again. In the games which he has gotten targets, he has shown flashes of his big play ability, and is the best playmaker on the offense. While he is out though, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine is the big play guy, and had himself a nice day, with 2 grabs for 75 yards, once of which set up the go-ahead TD. Also in the absence of Burks, Todd Downing must utilize rookies, receiver Kyle Phillps, and tight end, Chig Okonkwo, who had a breakout game vs. the Colts. Phillps has been nonexistent since coming back from his shoulder injury that made him miss week 3, but played well in week 1. He is the gritty slot receiver that is the QB’s best friend. If Tennessee wants to score more points, which they will need to do in January, get his confidence up now. This offensive line is horrible. Dennis Daley should not be the LT. We need Nate Davis to be healthy, and Aaron Brewer should not be our LG. Having Taylor Lewan out for the year doesn’t help at all, but Daley cannot be at Tannehill’s blindside, it is a recipe for disaster. Aaron Brewer has spent the last couple of years as the 6th lineman, and I would like it to stay like that. I know that Titans Nation isn’t too high on Dillion Radunz, but people forget that he was able to contain Nick Bosa last year in his first career start. He was at LT then, but looks much better at guard, where he was this week. The defense is the reason why we are 3-2. They are one of the best in the league. The Commanders were 1-11 on third down, and whenever there was a big moment in the game, the D came through, especially with the game on the line, when David Long picked off Carson Wentz to end it.

As much as I love our secondary, Caleb Farley is just not it. The 2021 first-round pick has been burnt toast this year, and I know that a torn ACL in your rookie year doesn’t help development, but right now, I don’t want him touching the field as a starter, because he is not doing well, and his confidence is very low right now. Can he get better and live up to the first-round expectations? Yes, I believe he can, but the coaching staff just can’t keep doing this every week. When slot corner Elijah Molden comes back, this is what the secondary should look like: Kristian Fulton - CB1, Rodger McCreary - CB2, Elijah Molden - Slot, Kevin Byard - FS1, Amani Hooker - SS1, Lonnie Johnson - FS2/Special Teams, Andrew Adams SS2/Special Teams, Caleb Farley - Slot 2/CB3, and Ugo Amadi DB/Special Teams. Overall, a win is a win. But should it be this stressful? No, but I’ll take it at this point.

Stats and Fantasy

Ryan Tannehill - 15/25, 181 yards, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions, 7.2 avg. - 11.54 fantasy pts.

Ryan Tannehill should not be on your fantasy team. Not even as a backup, the Titans offense needs him to be a game manager, not a 300 passing yards-a-game type of guy.

Derrick Henry - 28 carries, 102 yards, 2 touchdowns, 3.6 avg. 2 catches, 30 yards, 15.0 avg. - 27.20 fantasy pts.

The King is back, and is racking up yards and TD’s. One thing to note is that he has been getting involved in the passing game too, which is very interesting, as he can get big gains via the air.

Nick Westbrook-Ikhine - 2 catches, 75 yards, 0 touchdowns, 36.0 avg. - 9.20 fantasy pts.

NWI is a solid receiver for the Titans. Should he be on your team? No. Unless he goes off during Treylon Burks’ absence, he isn’t that valuable of an asset for fantasy.

Dontrell Hilliard - 1 carry, 0 yards, 0 touchdowns 0.0 avg. 4 catches, 23 yards, 1 touchdown, 5.8 avg. - 12.30 fantasy pts.

Hilliard has surprisingly been a touchdown machine, and you should definitely consider picking him up, as Ryan T loves throwing to him on third down.

Final Thoughts

This offense is bad. But the defense is great. All the offense needs to do is control the time, not turn the ball over at hopefully score 21-24 points, and we will beat most teams. Can we beat the Ravens, Bills or Chiefs like this? Probably not, but if this offense can somehow get it going, this team is top-3 in the AFC, and I’m not joking about it.

What's Next

Like I said before, week 6 is a bye week for the Titans, and it's the first time in a while that they have gotten the early bye. It will be interesting how this will affect our play at the end of the year, but it is definitely a good time to get the bye, as many players can get healthy for the big stretch coming up. The next 5 games are: vs. Colts, at Texans, at Chiefs (SNF), vs. Broncos, and at Packers (TNF). If the Titans can beat the Colts and Texans, and go into Arrowhead, 5-2, having swept the Indianapolis series, and on a 5-game win streak, I will feel much better about myself. Rest up, and come back in 2 weeks with blood in the water vs. Indy. That should be the game plan. See you later Titans Nation!


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