Titans: Ken Whisenhunt Refuses to run the Football
By Les Bailey
In Sunday and Monday pressers after losing again to the Atlanta Falcons 10-7, Tennessee Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt continues to field two main questions. 1. Why did you give up on the run game when Antonio Andrews was running so well, and 2. Would you be willing to give play-calling duties to someone else.
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In fact in the post-game presser Whisenhunt got a little testy when ESPN Titans beat writer, Paul Kuharsky continued to ask the question about the running game.
Kuharsky tried to further the conversation again on Monday afternoon, and although you could tell Whisenhunt didn’t want to talk about it, he made a feeble attempt to justify why he was running the ball at an equal 50% clip.
The Titans had a real chance to win this game if they had stayed with Antonio Andrews and continued to pound the ball on the ground instead of putting the game on the arm of a backup quarterback who has yet to win a game in the NFL.
Let’s do the Ken Whisenhunt math when asked about the number of carries being low in a game that was optimal to run the ball in:
Well, let’s see, I think we had 54 plays, roughly. If you take 15 or so out for two-minute, that puts you at about 40, and you take out nine third-downs, that puts you at about 31, or so, give or take. And then how many carries did we have yesterday, about 15? So it was about 50 percent run. I think what skewed it a little bit was certainly the two-minute situations. But that was a good run defense too. That was the number one run defense in the league. We did have some effectiveness running the football and we certainly want to continue to run it for sure.
Most great running backs need to carry the ball in multiple plays in order to find the creases and which holes the offensive line is having success opening up.
They can’t find that continuity if they are rotated in and out too frequently.
When asked in the Monday presser why he pulled Andrews out when he was having success running the ball, coach had this to say:
Well I know the fourth and the fifth play were back-to-back carries for him. I remember that because that was the first run that we hit and it was a big run. Then we had the same exact play the other way that we didn’t have as much success with the second time. So I mean, it does happen. I think the way you look at it when you’re trying to attack an opponent, you look at situations and you look at schemes that go in. Backs are attached to those schemes that you’re trying to run that you think are going to be successful. So when you call a play, you’re not necessarily calling a back. You don’t have someone standing on the sideline that just says, ‘Hey back, go in,’ they’re tagged into those groupings. So when you’re trying to attack them a certain way, that’s how it goes when you get in there. A lot of times, the way a game goes, you’ll get into a mode where you’ll run certain plays more than others, so those consecutive carries happen.
That was clear as…….mud?
The last time the Titans ran the ball for more than a 100 yards was in Cleveland where he ran the ball 30 times for 116 yards.
In fact, that was the only game this year where the Titans ran the ball for more than a 100 yards.
The Titans are ranked 27th in the NFL running the football. They have run the ball 151 times for 615 yards for a 102.5 per game average.
The only team who had run the ball less than the Titans which has a winning record is the New England Patriots. The Patriots have Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola and other players who can make plays when needed.
The Titans don’t have those kind of playmakers on this team.
Had the Titans continued to run Antonio Andrews, Dexter McCluster and maybe Bishop Sankey on Sunday at Nissan Stadium, they could have won this game and hit the road at 2-4 instead of 1-5.
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