NFL Week 6 Musings: Are the Tennessee Titans the League's Worst Team?
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The Tennessee Titans dropped yet another game badly, losing 30-7 to the Minnesota Vikings with their backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck at the helm. Now they are now looking like they could quite possibly be the worst team in the NFL, regardless of whether starter Jake Locker returns soon or not.
The stats support it.
Their offense is ranked 27th, and their defense is the worst in the league. They have the worst point differential of any team, too, having given up 93 more points than they have scored this season.
They are averaging only 65.4 yards per game on the ground; this is unacceptable given the fact that Chris Johnson is supposed to be an elite running back. His mediocre play is in no way substantiating his contract, and he's bombed in every game except one (141 rushing yards vs. Houston in a 14-38 loss). He's been 25 yards or under in four games and he's averaging just 2.9 yards per carry.
There is no way the Titans can even win more than three games with Johnson performing at that level.
The thing is, there doesn't seem to be much of a reason to expect things to change. Despite adding Steve Hutchinson to the offensive line, they're not providing Johnson the kind of blocking he needs to even average decent yardage per carry.
The wide receiving core hasn't done enough to offset the lack of run, nor has the lack of diversification in the offensive play-calling. Many Titans fans are calling for a new offensive coordinator since the talents of wide receivers Nate Washington and Kendall Wright are not being maximized.
The Titans knew when they drafted Jake Locker that he had accuracy issues, and it's showing this season with the Titans ranked 16th in passing yardage with 239 per game. Locker's completion ratio is 63.2 percent and he's thrown two interceptions and fumbled once.
Locker does have a passable QB rating of 90.2, but he still has a long way to go before even becoming a decent quarterback. He doesn't read coverages well (which only makes things worse with a porous offensive line) and his delivery is far too slow.
The defense also should be far better than it is. Kamerion Wimbley only one sack on the year and just nine total tackles (four solo). Akeem Ayers has done his job, but the defense desperately needs a playmaker to trigger some big plays.
Many felt that the maturation of Jurrell Casey, Ayers, Colin McCarthy, Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner would give the Titans a better defense, but they haven't developed as many had hoped. A lot of blame has again been given to poor coordinators.
The Titans should retool their entire coaching staff, since neither side has proven much at this point, given that they have a decent pool of talent on the roster.
The only thing the Titans can do at this point to salvage the season is to finish with a better record than the Cleveland Browns, and that probably wouldn't do it either. At least Browns fans can take solace in the fact the team has a talented young running back in Trent Richardson.
Titans fans have no such prospects to hang their future hopes on, and the Titans may just be out of luck if they can't land a top-five pick in the draft.
Tennessee needs that premier player, and fans are starting to get impatient. Chris Johnson's contract is now a true problem, and the team is going to have to hope a high draft pick and at least a partial return of Johnson to his former glory are enough to move the team towards respectability.
With a soft defense, an errant throwing quarterback and a running back that is exiting his prime three seasons too soon, the Titans just don't have any real silver lining. It's a pity to throw in the towel, but most Titans fans on online message boards are calling for the same dream: score a high draft pick.
It's not a state we like to see a franchise driven to, but the Titans could be tanking in eventuality.
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