Tennessee Titans: Is Lack of Downfield Threat a Problem?


Tennessee Titans ESPN reporter, Paul Kuharsky posted a couple of articles this week that point out how this offense, or lack of at times, may be due to the team not having legitimate threats downfield.

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The first article entitled: Titans getting second-fewest yards from wide receivers per game in the NFL tells us that only the St. Louis Rams get fewer yards out of the wide receivers than the Titans.

Tennessee gets an average of 107.6 yards per game out of wide receivers, the second-lowest mark in the league, ahead of St. Louis (102.3). The Cardinals are No. 1, with 225.3.

These numbers coming with both Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter in the lineup, the teams most likely candidates to affect these numbers.

Let’s face it, the problems we have with the offensive line and needing for Marcus Mariota to get the ball out quickly does not lend itself to having a great downfield passing game anyway.

The second article:  Lack of perimeter play stalling Titans’ offense has an interesting “scatter plot” that charts all of Mariota’s throws for the season and shows which targets were caught, where they were caught and how many yards the ball actually traveled in the air.

The chart does not account for yards after the catch.

With Justin Hunter now on IR for the remainder of the season, and Kendall Wright not up to full speed, it will be up to Dorial Green-Beckham, Tre McBride and Rico Richardson  to improve these numbers.

This is probably why former head coach Ken Whisenhunt had so many tight ends on the roster at the start of the season. He knew that any success he would get through the air would be short passes to the tight ends and depend on them to get an occasional good run after the catch.

This would would be proven out with the Titans averaging 93.1 yards per game from the tight ends.

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I think Paul is right about the downfield threat makes it easy for opposing defense to game-plan for the Titans, but I also think the bigger problem comes from the receivers they do have, are not playmakers. Except Delannie Walker.

Too many dropped passes at crucial times, receivers not running accurate routes, receivers not going up and fighting for the football and those pesky, drive stalling dumb penalties.

I’m reminded of a successful team up North, the New England Patriots for instance.

Problems with the offensive line, questionable running game, excessive injuries and Tom Brady rarely throws the ball downfield.

That team just won a Super Bowl and is undefeated in the 2015 season.

They have a great, solid defense, a very accurate quarterback and the short passing game has receivers who are playmakers.

I wonder how long these players would last in that system?

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The Titans have a young, but very accurate quarterback and a very good defense but are 2-7. Why?

While I agree with Paul Kuharsky, that this team needs a legitimate outside threat, I also know a team with playmakers can win without one.