An introspective look into the Tennessee Titans’ running game through four weeks of NFL football.
After the Tennessee Titans’ huge win at home against the Philadelphia Eagles, there is a lot to be excited for about for the Titans. But, can I bring us all down a little bit? Let’s talk about the giant problem for the Titans this season: the running game. Before I dive deep into this, I can already hear the keyboards typing back at me, but hear me out: It’s okay for us to talk about something negative about our beloved Titans, even when they are on a three-game winning streak.
A Bad Streak
For the third week in a row, there has not been one Titans runner to eclipse 60 yards. This is a bad streak, and one that needs to be addressed. The usage of Derrick Henry has been absurd and has some Titan fans shifting their view about him. The guy is a volume back; he needs to get 20-plus carries to start controlling a game. I don’t want to talk about the air game and keep it to the ground, and with the win over the Eagles, Dion Lewis had nine carries for a whopping zero yards. This streak must end, and I think it starts with the play calls. More between the tackle running and less WR screens to the outside as an extension of the run game.
Another problem I found interesting is the short yardage play calls, and more importantly the usage of the backs by the Titans. This is all coming from upstairs, and in a lot of 3rd and 1 and even 4th and 1 situations, we see Lewis in and Henry — the biggest guy in the game — on the sideline. Lewis did have a huge catch and run on a 4th and 2 situation against the Eagles that panned out huge for the Titans, but for the most part we have not seen him be effective in these situations, at least not on the ground. I do not believe that this is his fault, as he is not the one built for the situation, but it’s hard to put Henry in on virtually cold legs because he has not received the amount of touches that he needs to become effective in these situations. Therefore, I think the usage of the tailbacks deserves some scrutiny.
The Silver Lining
With all of that said, I truly believe that there is a silver lining, and in this situation, there is a HUGE one, whether you noticed it or not. The Tennessee Titans are 3-1 with virtually no running game. That is huge, because it shows that coach Mike Vrabel and his team are figuring out how to win with a one-dimensional offense. That is going to be a crucial factor for the rest of the season. Just think if they can get Henry 20 carries a game getting 150 on the ground, Lewis able to play on passing downs with 60 on the ground as well, and Marcus Mariota throwing 150-200 yards a game. This Titans offense will be the most ruthless offense in the NFL. That is the ideal plan.
I don’t know what will get the running game going, but we have seen the Titans win against some of the top defenses in the NFL without the use of a running game. Maybe, we don’t even want to see them start running the ball with the way it’s all been going without it, although it would be nice to get it goin. Agree or disagree with me? Come tell me on Twitter @ZacheriahW!