Tennessee Titans: Biggest Early Season Storylines for Week 3

Marlon MaloneyCorrespondent ISeptember 19, 2012

Sep 16, 2012; San Diego, CA, Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak walks off the field after the Titans were beat 38-10 by the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

A positive attitude should be expected of a fan base that witnessed its team just miss its first playoff berth since the 2008 season.

Hell, the Titans went from 6-10 in 2010 to 9-7 a year later, despite a truncated offseason due to the lockout, a player holdout and a full-scale coaching regime change.

Heading into the season, smart fans know to be wary of the wave of optimistic news being spewed out by every team source and media outlet.

Yet even the wariest of Titans fans couldn't have foreseen this season's start coming.

Yes, we all knew the first four games of the season would likely result in a .500 record at best, but right now, I have a hard time finding a win at all.

The storyline many Titans fans had in their heads before the season started was: Can the Titans make the playoffs and/or can the Titans take the division crown away from the Texans?

Through two games, the Titans have been outscored 72-23. I'll let that sink in...

Now to hit you with a barrage of more stats that paint an awful picture of the remainder of the season: Tennessee is ranked 31st in total offense, 32nd in rushing offense, 32nd in scoring offense, 25th in total defense, 30th in run defense, 30th in scoring defense and 31st in kickoff coverage.

I know, I know. We're only two weeks into the season and stats can be swayed heavily by one game, but Week 2 looked like a rerun of Week 1.

It's time for the storyline to change. Are the Titans the worst team in football?

It may sound harsh, but at this point in the season, it's hard to argue against it. I don't actually think they're the worst team in the league, but the thought has crept in obviously.

So now that the original preseason storyline looks like a pipe dream, what other new storylines have emerged?

1. Would the Real Chris Johnson Please Stand Up?

Rather than being able to pull out a Rolodex of legitimate excuses for Chris Johnson's poor 2011 campaign, I think it's time to question the logic of paying a guy $8 million a year and still have to answer questions about who the starting running back is every week.

CJ-what-the-hell-happened-k is averaging 1.1 yards per carry with 19 totes for 21 yards.

The offensive line of a team with two Hall-of-Fame offensive lineman for coaches has been atrocious in run blocking and poor in pass blocking as well, but Johnson appears to have lost the ability to make defenders miss.

We'll see how much longer this blame game lasts.

2. Jake Locker's Performance

Boy, did he look great against the Patriots. Then we all saw about what I expected from the second-year quarterback at this stage in the season.

The storyline for him hasn't necessarily changed, but Mike Munchak has had to answer questions about who his starting quarterback is, so take from that what you will.

3. Defensive Struggles

The Titans have struggled with tackling, penalties, run defense and blown coverages. 

Defensive coordinator Jerry Gray continues to start Michael Griffin at strong safety and Robert Johnson at free over a healthy Jordan Babineaux.

I'm not placing all the blame of the defenses struggles on this one adjustment, but Babs was one of the team's leading tacklers last year for a reason.

The defense has looked good for stretches, but has looked overmatched for the most part.

Things may look bad now, but the Titans did face a couple of quality opponents.

We all knew the Titans weren't as good as the Pats or Chargers—although a little more fight would have been nice—there will be better days ahead when the team plays some lesser opponents.

The key storyline through two weeks is that the Titans have a long way to go before being a playoff-caliber team, and now we know to temper expectations for the rest of the year.