When the Tennessee Titans posted their 2015 schedule back in the spring, like most fans, I circled the New York Jets and New England Patriots games on the calendar, and have waited in anticipation for this week to come.
Of course, I also anticipated that with rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota having 12 games under his belt by now, these two games against tough AFC East opponents would provide a nice test for his first-year progress in the NFL.
The Titans have lost five games by a touchdown and extra point this season, and are better than their 3-9 record. With a couple of lucky breaks and some better calls by the zebra’s, this team could easily have seven or eight wins which would give meaning to these two contests.
But like former NFL head coach Bill Parcels always says, “you are what your record says you are” and the Titans are what their 3-9 record says they are. A young team with a lot of work to do during the next offseason.
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We got together with FanSided’s Jets site, The Jet Press and their editor, Luis Tirado Jr. for a question and answer session as the Titans get ready to travel to the Big Apple for a week 14 date with the Jets.
You can find my responses to their questions at The Jet Press.
So let’s get to it!
The folks here in Music City thought they were happy with Zach Mettenberger under center and wanted the Titans to draft Leonard Williams with the second pick. How well has he played in his rookie year, and has he lived up to the hype of being the best player in the draft by Mel Kiper Jr?
Williams has played pretty well so far in his rookie season with the Jets. He adds a nice presence on the Jets’ defensive line and has definitely lived up to the hype of being the best player out of the 2015 NFL Draft. I’m unsure if the Jets plan to bring back Muhammad Wilkerson or part ways with Sheldon Richardson (off the field issues) after this season but either way, Williams could fill in nicely should one not be on the team anymore.
My wife and I went up to Nashville for the Titans week five game with the Buffalo Bills and found out how obnoxious they could be. It really had to suck to have them and Rex Ryan come into your house and win 22-17 in week 10. How did the New York fan base react to that loss?
It was like seeing an ex after a bad breakup and they’re rolling up in a BMW with the new love of their life just strutting their stuff because they know you made a terrible mistake by letting them go. It wasn’t really anything with the Bills but the fact that Rex Ryan beat the Jets in his first game back at MetLife Stadium that left fans with a huge knot in their stomach because he got the upper hand and left victorious.
Former Titan quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a rock for the Jets this year but is what the NFL calls a gap quarterback. 2016 doesn’t look to promising for quarterbacks in the draft, so Is Geno Smith part of the Jets future, are they going to develop Bryce Petty or will they look elsewhere for a franchise quarterback.
I don’t see Smith around after this season. I think the new leadership regime sees that he’s more of a distraction and the incident this past summer that got his jaw broken due to not paying back a teammate money will be one of the main reasons that his time is done with the Jets. He lacks leadership, maturity and above all else is one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL. I see the Jets bringing Fitzpatrick back, continuing to develop Petty and bringing in another quarterback via free agency.
Rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota has been a red-zone scoring machine this year, and has started to use his legs a lot more since Mike Mularkey took over prior to week nine. He has played all year without a deep threat but Dorial Green-Beckham had a break-out game against the Jags last week to open up the offense. What do you think the Jets will do to keep Mariota contained this week.
If the Jets are to win this game, it’s all about containing Mariota who has developed into quite the X-Factor this season for the Titans. I love his progression so far this season as the Jets’ defensive line will have their hands full as they will have to bring the pressure to keep him contained. I anticipate a lot of zone defensive packages and blitzing on key 3rd down conversions to keep Mariota grounded.
The Titans defense had a bad day against Blake Bortles and the Jags on Sunday but I expect the pass rush to return on Sunday against the Jets. Do the Jets have enough protection for Ryan Fitzpatrick to allow him the time needed to take advantage of the weak Titans secondary?
Our offensive line has been a weakness as of late as they’re not as cohesive as it can be. Injuries have hit key starters but Fitzpatrick and company have been able to manage thanks to the “next man up” mentality. I think he’ll be able to carve up the Titans’ defensive secondary this week thanks to the explosive tandem of Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall.
Who wins this game, and why?
Jets win 28-14 by Fitzpatrick continuing the momentum he’s been building these past few weeks. When his starting job was in danger of being lost to the hands of Smith, he stepped up big time and has been playing some pretty impressive and close to perfect football as of late. I see him having another monster game in a pass-happy offensive game plan straight to victory in front of the home crowd against the Titans.