New Tennessee Titans OC, Tim Kelly, is making sure that the team's identity on offense is changing and moving into the 21st century.
Derrick Henry had a great game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday and he looked like the version of the Henry that Titans fans got glimpses of against the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs last season.
That is fantastic and having a strong running game is something that Mike Vrabel will always preach and believe in. However, too often under Todd Downing, the Tennessee Titans were desperate to get into 12-play drives where they slowly marched down the field and we all know how that worked out.
The buzzwords we heard then was "effecient passing" and "manageable third downs" and you still obviously want those things, but if those are the themes of your offense then you are going to be a pathetic football team.
When someone asks an OC what his goal for the offense is, the answer should always be that the goal is to score points. If you look around the NFL, time of possesion isn't what wins games, it is just a byproduct of being the team with the lead at the end of the game that is trying to run out the clock.
The best way for that to happen is by creating explosive plays and that is something that the Tennessee Titans are trying to do. Sure, Derrick Henry's running plays are nice, but nearly every Tennessee Titans scoring drive this season has included an explosive pass play.
That isn't by accident, Ryan Tannehill has changed his mindset to fit this offense and he has shifted from a game manager into a gunslinger at QB.
Don't fight it Tennessee Titans fans, ball don't lie
You might laugh that off when you look at how the Tennessee Titans passing stats stack up against the rest of the NFL.
Sure, the Titans are bottom-5 in passing yards, but that is because they force-feed the running game too often and they have had trouble sustaining drives. They are actually 12th in passing yards per attempt, Tannehill is 2nd in ADOT, and the Titans are T-2nd in pass plays of 40+ yards.
This is an offense that isn't trying to rope-a-dope defenses anymore, they are trying to throw haymakers because they know that big plays are there to be made. With how much attention defenses still give Derrick Henry, stretching the field helps everyone involved.
Mike Vrabel said on Sunday that the play action doesn't work without a strong running game, and that isn't true. I would argue that having the threat of the play action (or just the threat of deep passes in general) allows a running game to run more smoothly.
No matter how many blockers you have on the line of scrimmage, the defense can continue to load the box until you are outmanned. However, if you spread a defense out and they know that you can hit some shots, they are going to be forced to honor that and take guys out of the box.
If you are on the fence about Tim Kelly, it is time to come on over to the right side of history. Through four games, he has walked in with three very good game plans and he rebounded well from his one bad day.
It is early in the season and this team still has a lot to prove, but the one thing that seems to be holding steady is that Ryan Tannehill is ready and willing to be a gunslinger in this offense, and fans need to take notice because it could actually be fun to watch the Tennessee Titans offense again (if the offensive line can just manage to protect the QB).