Todd Downing is the worst thing about the Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: George Walker IV /
Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: George Walker IV / /

The Tennessee Titans faced a nearly impossible task when they had to go on the road and play the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

For context, Andy Reid is now 21-3 after bye weeks and he had the additional advantage of playing at home in a primetime game. Adding more salt to the wound, the Titans were starting Malik Willis at quarterback instead of Ryan Tannehill.

It turns out that Mike Vrabel’s team was ready to overcome all of those obstacles and held a 17-9 lead in the 4th quarter. The one thing that they couldn’t overcome was the incompetence of “Offensive Coordinator” Todd Downing, who once again showed why he should have been fired last year.

As Titans Twitter turns against itself in (another) civil war, people are arguing about everything related to the team. The one thing that everyone agrees on is that Todd Downing has managed to make this offense nearly unwatchable.

Why should Tennessee Titans fans blame Todd Downing?

Every week he has a terrible play call at a crucial moment in a game, but we only really focus on it when the Tennessee Titans lose. The tight end screen pass to Geoff Swaim now joins the Chig Okonkwo jet sweep vs the New York Giants, and the Malik Willis jet sweep against the Indianapolis Colts, as the latest laugh-out-loud plays by Todd Downing.

It isn’t just these plays that hurt the Titans though, it is the most simple, basic stuff.

Under Arthur Smith, the Tennessee Titans ran their offense through Derrick Henry and the play-action pass. People forget that Corey Davis led the team in receiving yards until the final game of the season and Jonnu Smith led the team in receiving touchdowns. It wasn’t just about one person.

From a big-picture point of view, Todd Downing’s offense still features a lot of runs, they just do it in predictable ways that usually work against Derrick Henry. Instead of leaning heavily on play action, Downing likes calling plays out of “empty” and making sure that the defense knows exactly what is coming…for some reason.

Even more damaging than all of that, Downing finds what is working for the Tennessee Titans and then he stops using it. As if he is trying to put his name out there as a future DC, it seems like Downing is trying to show that he can shut down an offense better than anyone in the NFL, he just happens to be shutting down his own offense.

A prime example of this was the game plan last night vs the Chiefs. In that game Derrick Henry was playing like his hair was on fire and he was averaging 10 yards per carry in the first half (when they were using Tim Kelly’s scripted plays). Whether it was a straight handoff or a read-option play, Henry was tearing the Chiefs’ defense apart.

You would expect that they would lean heavily on Henry in the second half since they had an 8-point lead right? Nope, like the walking failure that he is, Downing only gave the ball to Derrick Henry eight times in the second half.

I don’t care if you start out on 1st and 30 every drive, you are never so far behind the chains that you should eliminate Derrick Henry from your playbook for an entire half when you are up by eight on the road.

Downing’s tenure is littered with bad decisions covered up by injuries and excuses, but the fact is that every player on the Titans’ offense has gotten worse since the team made the decision to promote him to replace Arthur Smith.

I don’t think he has a single redeeming quality as a play caller and no matter how many sad press conferences he has, that doesn’t make him the right choice to be in this position for a single minute longer. The question is just whether Mike Vrabel will pull the trigger on a move or whether he will just watch Downing destroy another season and then go down protecting him like a modern-day Mike Mularkey.