Running Game Key To Tennessee Titans Success In 2015


The Tennessee Titans were among the last in the NFL during the 2014 season in the run game, and the inability to run the ball was a huge factor in producing a 2-14 season. With barely 90 yards per game total from the running game, it doesn’t come as a surprise that opposing offenses were able to pin their ears back and injure every quarterback the Titans put under center.

The big lost fumble in the 21-7 loss at Baltimore was the epitome of Greene’s career in Nashville

The Titans addressed the problem in the 4th and 5th rounds of the 2015 NFL Draft by selecting Jalston Fowler out of Alabama and David Cobb from Minnesota.

Fowler not only brings big-time SEC experience to the Titans backfield, but has excellent hands, and will be a third down, and Red Zone target for Marcus Mariota. He also figures to be key in protecting the new franchise quarterback from the likes of J.J. Watt, and Ndamakong Suh.

Fowler doesn’t look to factor into the early-down run game as much as David Cobb. This is where the meat and potatoes of the running game has a chance of keeping the Titans out of those third and long situations that get quarterbacks hurt.

The key to success on the ground is in the hands of second-year running back, Bishop Sankey. As Jim Wyatt from the Tennessean pointed out in his May 27th column, Sankey missed a lot of early 2014 work as he was involved in school ending activities at the University of Washington.

He was ill-prepared as the season got underway, and as the lead back in the running game, only produced 569 yards with 152 attempts and two touchdowns. The 35 yards per game he put in the books was the best the Titans had to offer, and that will need to change in 2015 if there is to be any success in Music City.

With Sankey starting the season on time this year, and getting snaps with the first team should improve the 2014 numbers immensely. Wyatt also pointed out in his article, coach Whisenhunt also wants Sankey to add some weight before going into training camp.

"“We want him a little bit heavier, and just knowing the game (should help),” Whisenhunt said. “I think knowing our plan and knowing our offense. … He was playing catchup (last year) and it’s hard to do that when you are thrown into the wolves per se in camp, and he just never seemed to really catch up. He has been working from Day One not only on the physical part of it but the mental part of it as well.”Whisenhunt said Sankey hit some nice runs during Wednesday’s workout at Saint Thomas Sports Park, and acknowledged he’s been better in pass protection as well."

The other big disappointment from the 2014 running game was Shonn Greene. In his two seasons with the Titans, Greene has not been able to live up to the three-year, $10 million contract he got when signing at the start of the 2013 season.

He also has not been able to re-produce the back-to-back 1000 yard seasons he had with the New York Jets in 2011 and 2012. The 687 yards and six touchdowns in Titan Blue just isn’t going to get it.

The big lost fumble in the 21-7 loss at Baltimore was the epitome of Greene’s career in Nashville.

Shonn Greene is not in Music City for the OTA’s this week, citing family obligations. ESPN Titans reporter, Paul Kuharsky said in a May 5th column that he will likely not be with the team when the season starts against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 13th.

Although Greene is due a base salary of $3.25 million for 2015, he will only be an $833,000 cap hit if they decide to cut him.

"While Ken Whisenhunt has said he’s please with the attendance at organized team activities, which is not required, Greene has not been with the team.Greene will join the team for its mandatory work, a minicamp that runs June 16-18.My understanding is that Greene is helping care for a three-week old son in Miami and spoke to the organization about the need to handle his family responsibility at this time."

With David Cobb and Antonio Andrews on the roster, all the Titans need is for Bishop Sankey to step up and live up to his second-round status in 2015.

Greene doesn’t look as he wants to be part of this re-build in Music City, and if he were my employee, he wouldn’t be my employee. After a 2-14 season, and with most of the coaching staff’s jobs on the line this year, Shonn Green needs to find another place to play.

Maybe Dallas…they need a running back!

Next: Zach Mettenberger Happy To Be Titans Backup QB

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