Tennessee Titans: Visiting Panthers offer hope


When the Tennessee Titans look across the field this Sunday, they will see a Carolina Panthers team that offers them hope of what they can be in the future.

After turning the page from the failed areal assault era that was Ken Whisenhunt, the Titans now look to become a run oriented, ball control, defensively stout team. A team that limits mistakes on offense, and forces their opponents to play near perfect games to beat them.

While that plan was successful for the Titans last week in the Superdome, it flies in the face of today’s approach to the game. Today’s NFL is as pass-friendly as ever, and the better teams are taking full advantage.

But Tennessee should feel encouraged, because the Carolina Panthers enter Sunday’s game as one of the elite teams in the league, and they still embody those old school principles.

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On paper, if you remove the names, and just list the team’s strengths and weaknesses, you will see no difference between the two.

Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota and Carolina’s Cam Newton were both collegiate superstar Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks. Both were drafted to be the face of their franchise, and both are well equipped to run the read-option attack.

Both teams lack explosive running backs and wide receivers, and rely heavily on their Pro Bowl caliber tight ends (Delanie Walker, Greg Olsen).

Both teams look to run the ball just as much, if not more than they throw. They both want to minimise risks, control the clock, and keep their defense fresh.

Speaking of defense, both teams are anchored by tough ones that are often called upon to keep close games close. At times, both defenses are given the unenviable task of winning games single-handedly.

So what’s the big difference between the two?


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As Cam Newton progressed as a quarterback over the years, Carolina’s approach has been the same. Run, run, run, Newton to Olsen, run, run, play stout defense.

The Panthers bring in players each year to fit that style, that philosophy. Staying the course has paid off as Carolina is 8-0, and looking to three-peat as NFC South division champions this season.

Tennessee is in the embryo stages of the new ground-n-pound era, but they can look no further than across the field this Sunday to understand that you can still win in this league with that approach.

And like the Panthers, the Titans have the roster to to it eventually.