Let’s state the obvious, things are not good for the Tennessee Titans right now.
Once looking to be all but a lock to win the AFC South just a few short weeks ago, they have now lost three straight to drop to 7-6 and put themselves at real risk of coughing it up with the Jacksonville Jaguars gaining on them.
If we are being frank, the Tennessee Titans are dealing with the most turmoil they have ever dealt with during the Mike Vrabel era. It all started after the huge win in Green Bay when their already highly scrutinized offensive coordinator got arrested for DU.
Things got worse when they lost a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on a bad penalty, and then it seemed like things had reached rock bottom when they lost badly to the Philadelphia Eagles in a game where A.J. Brown torched them, and then they fired their GM two days later.
The backbreaking amount of injuries they have suffered certainly has not helped and was a huge reason for them losing as badly as they did to the Jacksonville Jaguars last week (another low point by the way). And you can tell the team is feeling all of it, as Jeffery Simmons called out their body language as being a factor in the disastrous loss.
When I think of the Tennessee Titans this year I get flashbacks to the 2018 Pittsburgh Steelers: a team that had all kinds of drama overtake the locker room and went from a 7-2-1 record to a team that completely missed the playoffs.
It was a complete humiliation for everyone involved, and the 2022 Tennessee Titans could be headed down a similar path especially when you look at their upcoming schedule.
Tennessee Titans must work hard to avoid the fate of the 2018 Steelers
Let’s start with the good news for the Titans — from a drama standpoint alone, they are not in nearly as bad of shape as the Steelers were in 2018.
That team was dealing with it the whole season, and almost all of it was centered around two of their best players.
Le’Veon Bell’s contract holdout was a distraction throughout the entire season, and it was bad enough to the point where his own teammates and even the head coach were criticizing him to the press. That alone was enough of a mess for the team, and that is not even mentioning the trouble Antonio Brown caused for them, and at this point, the less said about him the better.
Despite all of that, they jumped out to one of the best records in the NFL that year, and they were all but guaranteed a playoff berth until all of the issues reared their ugly heads. Once the losing commenced, even their quarterback had several moments in which he went to the media to criticize teammates for various things, which only exacerbated what a clown show their locker room was.
When you look at the Titans, they have obviously had plenty of their own distractions to deal with, and it is clearly affecting them on the field. One big difference between the two teams is that the Titans have done a much better job keeping their issues behind closed doors and if there is legitimate tension in the locker room, word hasn’t spread through the local media.
Another difference is the talent level between the two teams. In 2018, the Steelers were far in a way one of the most stacked teams and had minimal injuries, and that squad missing the playoffs was completely inexcusable.
Do not get me wrong there would be absolutely no excuse if the Titans were to blow the division title and subsequently playoff berth, but their team this year is nowhere near as talented as the Steelers were in 2018. And when you factor in all of the injuries, it is not difficult to understand why the Titans are reeling at this point in time.
And if Tennessee Titans fans were hoping for a reprieve, just take a look at their upcoming schedule. To finish the season the Titans will take on the L.A. Chargers (in L.A.) today, then two home games against the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys respectively, and then a final road game against the Jaguars. There is a very real chance that the Titans finish the season 1-3 and lose out on the division.
The good news for them this week is that there has been no other drama, and they have just been able to focus on the next game and the next game only. A time like this is also nearly unheard of for the Titans under Vrabel, and it would be crazy for him to lose the locker room over three weeks of adversity.
Even if their drama this year is not quite as bad as it was for the Steelers in 2018, the bottom line is that their playoff hopes are in serious danger. The combination of off-field issues, injuries, and inept coaching seems to be affecting the Tennessee Titans’ confidence, and they have to get it together or officially complete one of the most embarrassing collapses we’ve seen in recent memory.