It’s Week 5 of the NFL season and the 1-3 Washington Commanders will be facing a 2-2 Titans team in Raljon.
The Titans come to DC down several players already early in the season. Unlike Washington, whose offense has suffered several setbacks, the Titans are most handicapped on defense. Several key players, including linebackers Zach Cunningham, Bud Dupree, Joe Jones, and Ola Adeniyi did not practice on Wednesday. Rookie wide receiver Treylon Burks is also likely to miss this week’s game with the Commanders.
At 2-2, the Titans are tied atop the AFC South with the Jacksonville Jaguars, having beaten the Raiders and Colts. They narrowly lost to the Giants in Week 1 and were absolutely throttled by the Bills in Week 2. They hope to continue their two game winning streak in Washington.
To learn more about these and other issues, I asked Jimmy Morris of Music City Miracles five questions about the state of the Titans and what to look for in this game.
1) Now in his 10th season in the league, Ryan Tannehill seems to still be playing at about the level he’s been playing for the past several years. Do you think he’ll remain the Titans’ QB for the next several years? Do you think there will be pressure to start Malik Willis at some point?
Tannehill’s the guy this year. That is all that is guaranteed at this point. I think they would love for Willis to be ready to go in 2023, but we will just have to wait and see what happens there. He played a ton in the preseason and got better every week. If he continues that progression for the next year he will be ready to make a push.
2) Derrick Henry’s yards and attempts per game are the lowest they’ve been in 4 years. Do you think that’s an anomaly as he works his way back from injury, or do you think that’s a new ”normal” for him? How much longer can he keep it up?
The Titans have had issues with their offensive line and Henry has traditionally been a slow starter. He did look a little rusty in week 1 but has looked more like himself with each passing week. His best game of the season came last week against the Colts. Hopefully, we will see him get stronger as the year goes on like he always has.
As for how long he can keep it up, that’s a really good question. The Titans re-worked his contract at the beginning of this year to where it makes it harder for them to move on from him after the season. They are gambling on him being able to keep it up for at least this season and next. Father Time comes for everyone at some point, but looking at Henry you can see how he might be able to hold him off longer than most.
3) From my perspective, Mike Vrabel is one of the low-key top head coaches in the NFL. Come playoff time, he occasionally gets some attention, but he seems largely to fly under the radar. Do you agree with the assessment of Vrabel, and if so, why do you think he’s underappreciated?
I think that’s a good assessment of him. There are a couple of reasons he’s underappreciated:
1. He’s the coach of the Titans. They just don’t get the attention that some other teams do because of the market and the style of football they play.
2. He’s not an offensive coach. Those are the guys that get all the pub, and with good reason.
What he did last year was nothing short of amazing. He led his team to the number 1 seed in the AFC after losing the heart and soul of his offense for the majority of the season and using more players than any team in the history of the league. He definitely deserved the Coach of the Year honors he won.
4) The Titans’ front office made a bold move by trading AJ Brown in advance of the draft this past year, and then picking Treylon Burks to take his place. So far, Brown is on a career pace in terms of yards per game in Philadelphia, and seems to be just what Jalen Hurts needed. Burks is still taking time to come up to speed. How do Titans’ fans feel about the short term and long term impacts of the deal?
Man, the relationship between Brown and the Titans went from really good to really bad in a hurry. Last year Brown was praising Mike Vrabel for how Vrabel helped Brown through some mental health issues. This year he is running his mouth about how Vrabel didn’t let them have any fun. It makes no sense for Brown to be mad at the Titans. They traded him to the Eagles to play with his buddy Jalen Hurts and he got a huge contract. It all worked out for him.
As for the short-term impacts of the deal, the Titans have a pretty big hole in the passing game. Brown was the best WR the Titans drafted in the entire time they have been in Nashville. He was the guy they could go to whenever they needed a big play. That guy hasn’t emerged yet for this team.
We will see about the long-term impacts. Treylon Burks has been OK but is now sidelined with turf toe. Brown, like you said, has been great for the Eagles so far. He’s had knee issues in the past. Will his health hold up long-term? Only time will tell.
5) What are you expecting the final score of the game to be this week? DraftKings Sportsbook has the over/under set at 43. How many points do you expect to be scored overall?
I think we will see a lot of points here. The Titans defense has struggled to get pressure with Bud Dupree out this week. It’s Thursday so it’s impossible to know for sure, but he seems like a long-shot to play this week. I’ll take the Titans in a 31-27 game.
Thanks again to Jimmy Morris for taking time out of his day to answer our questions about the Titans.
As of right now, Vegas has Tennessee as a 2 point favorite over Washington. How would you bet?
This poll is closed
Tennessee wins by 3 points or more.
Tennessee wins by 2 points or less, or it’s a tie.
As of now, Vegas have the over/under for this game at 42.5 points. Which would you bet?
This poll is closed
43 or more total points are scored.
Fewer than 43 total points are scored.