Tennessee Titans: Three Takeaways from Week 5

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 08: Matt Cassel #16 of the Tennessee Titans reacts in the first half against the Miami Dolphins on October 8, 2017 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 08: Matt Cassel #16 of the Tennessee Titans reacts in the first half against the Miami Dolphins on October 8, 2017 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Here is what we learned from the Tennessee Titans’ Week 5 loss.

The Tennessee Titans fell to the Miami Dolphins 16-10 in a road game on Sunday afternoon. It was an atrocious display of football all around, but we’re getting the big bucks to analyze the Titans, so we’re going to break this thing down, no matter how painful it is.

The Tennessee Titans Need New Coaches

I’m not so sure that head coach Mike Mularkey is the problem, but I’m almost stone-cold positive that Terry Robiskie and Dick LeBeau aren’t the answers at both coordinator positions.

I drew a bunch of heat last season when I expressed doubt that LeBeau was the right man for the job going into the future, and I was met with some solid arguments, primarily that he didn’t have enough defensive talent to do anything with. Well, with all of the new additions, now he does, and he continues to play an ill-advised scheme that lays his cornerbacks and other positions out to dry. Jay Cutler’s awfulness disguised some terrible defensive play calls, the most notable being guarding against the pass on a 3rd-and-7 late in the game when the entire stadium knew the Dolphins were going to run the ball. Then there’s playing Adoree’ Jackson 20 yards off of Jarvis Landry, who has never ran a deep route. And let’s not even get into the three-man pass rushes. Enough is enough.

Now on to Robiskie, who is an enigma. Sometimes, he makes very clever play calls, but I’m beginning to wonder if Marcus Mariota isn’t just masking the ineptitude of his offensive coordinator. In a game where the run game wasn’t working in any way at all (3.4 team yards per carry), Robiskie continued to stick with it. It made slight sense since Matt Cassel was the quarterback, but when Cassel started to get into a bit of a rhythm with short, quick passes on the Titans’ lone scoring drive, Robiskie went right back to the ground and didn’t allow Cassel to get anything going thereafter. Enough is enough.

Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans /

Tennessee Titans

Taylor Lewan is Invaluable to the Team

This one shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering Lewan is a Pro Bowl left tackle, but he’s even more than that. Lewan is the heart and soul of the team, and his absence over the course of yesterday’s game was a huge blow to the Titans’ fiery and physical edge they tend to play with. The Titans were flat, weren’t getting into the opponents’ faces and just lacked any sort of gusto that Lewan usually exudes out of the team.

Then we get to the actual football aspect, which is arguably more important. Dennis Kelly is an okay backup, but you don’t realize how good Lewan is until you see Kelly getting dusted in pass protection by Andre Branch. The whole offensive line struggled to handle pressure yesterday, and a big reason for that was Lewan not being out there. The Titans can’t afford an extended absence.

Marcus Mariota Keeps This Team Afloat

As I mentioned above, it’s becoming abundantly clear that Marcus Mariota is a facade of this coaching staff. Mariota is a transcendental talent and is going to be a top five quarterback in this league if he can stay healthy, yet at times he looks uncomfortable or out of sorts. The Titans’ “offensive scheme” doesn’t cater to his talents. We’ve all seen it before: When the Titans run uptempo, hurry-up plays, Mariota slices defenses apart. But the staff is steadfast in sticking to their plans, which have been extremely hit or miss as of late, and Mariota continues to play incredibly well in spite of the scheme.

Robiskie and the Titans’ offense hasn’t brought out the best in Mariota. On the contrary, Mariota’s stellar play has been in spite of the coaches. Mariota’s ability to lead long touchdown drives or hit big plays for touchdowns also helps the defense out, but without him, this team is nothing. Then came a vanilla, scared game plan on Sunday to “help” Cassel, which ended up just losing the Titans the game. Maybe if Cassel wasn’t the backup (and someone better was) I’d be saying something different, but he is and it’s shocking to see just how indispensable Mariota is for the Titans.