Entries in Taywon Taylor (6)

Sunday
Jul292018

S13.332 - Titans Training Camp & a Look Back: 2015 Draft

Tuesday
Jun052018

S13.331 - Titans OTAs & News

Wednesday
Mar212018

S13.327 - Offensive Line

Wednesday
Feb212018

How Did The Titans’ 2017 Rookie Receivers Stack Up?

 

Let’s be honest, if you are a Titans’ fan, you can’t help but be a little disappointed with the performance of the wide receivers. This was especially true of the much-hyped rookie receivers. Corey Davis was the first receiver taken in the 2017 NFL Draft and Taywan Taylor was the 8th receiver taken. However, Davis came into training camp with an injury, and Taylor was not fully utilized in the system.

 

I have to admit that on my list of top 5 WRs I wanted the Titans to draft, Davis was my choice of who I thought the Titans would choose. He has a very high up-side, but this numbers seemed lacking at first glance (includes playoffs):

 

 

Corey Davis

GP

GS

Rec

Yds

Avg

TD

Fum

13

11

43

473

11.0

2

1

 

Now for 3rd round pick Taylor, he started out looking like quite the find, but somewhere along the line he wasn’t part of the plan for the offense anymore. Here are his numbers for the season (including playoffs):

 

 

Taywan Taylor

GP

GS

Rec

Yds

Avg

TD

Fum

18

4

18

240

13.3

1

0

 

The 2017 NFL Draft was touted as having a plethora of hot WR prospects, but with the lack of production from the Titans young receivers, it made me wonder what production that other teams was able to get out of their rookies. So that led me on a quest to pit all the rookie receivers against each other. To be as fair as possible I decided to collect the numbers on “per games played” averages. Although some of these players weren’t able to get into many games, their numbers might match others with much more gametime. Below are the top 5 rookie receivers in each measurable (all stats are per game played including postseason):

 

Receptions/Games Played

 

Name

Team

Round Drafted

Rec/GP

Cooper Kupp

Rams

3

4.4

JuJu Smith-Schuster

Steelers

2

4.1

Corey Davis

Titans

1

3.3

Trent Taylor

49ers

5

2.9

Kenny Golladay

Lions

3

2.5

 

Yards/Games Played

 

Name

Team

Round Drafted

Yds/GP

JuJu Smith-Schuster

Steelers

2

61.5

Cooper Kupp

Rams

3

58.6

Kenny Golladay

Lions

3

43.4

DeDe Westbrook

Jaguars

4

42.4

Corey Davis

Titans

1

36.4

 

TDs/Games Played

 

Name

Team

Round Drafted

TDs/GP

JuJu Smith-Schuster

Steelers

2

0.5

Cooper Kupp

Rams

3

0.4

Kenny Golladay

Lions

3

0.3

Corey Davis

Titans

1

0.2

8 Players tied at 0.1TDs/GP including Taywan Taylor

 

Fumbles/Games Played

 

*25 players are tied at 0 fumbles

 

20+ Yard Catches/Games Played

 

Name

Team

Round Drafted

20+/GP

JuJu Smith-Schuster

Steelers

2

0.8

Cooper Kupp

Rams

3

0.8

DeDe Westbrook

Jaguars

4

0.8

Kenny Golladay

Lions

3

0.7

Corey Davis (tie)

Titans

1

0.3

Chris Godwin (tie)

Buccaneers

3

0.3

 

40+ Yard Catches/Games Played

 

Name

Team

Round Drafted

40+/GP

Kenny Golladay

Lions

3

0.5

JuJu Smith-Schuster

Steelers

2

0.4

5 players tied at 0.1 40+/GP

 

1st Down Receptions/Games Played

 

Name

Team

Round Drafted

1st/GP

Cooper Kupp

Rams

3

2.8

JuJu Smith-Schuster

Steelers

2

2.6

DeDe Westbrook

Jaguars

4

2.0

Trent Taylor

49ers

5

1.8

Corey Davis (tie)

Titans

1

1.6

Chris Godwin (tie)

Buccaneers

3

1.6

 

As these stats indicate, Corey Davis was near the top in almost every category. Although he was the first receiver drafted and should have dominated the numbers, he still put forth a good effort in an offense that wasn’t friendly to the passing game. Something else that is very clear in these numbers, the other first round receivers were nowhere to be found. Mike Williams had miniscule numbers, and John Ross didn’t have any receiving numbers at all. So, for what it’s worth, Davis won the battle for the 1st round.

 

The obvious winners in this rookie class were Cooper Kupp and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Both put up numbers that proved they were a significant part of their respective teams offensive plan. However, with the late surge put on by Davis, it is obvious that he will be a force next season.

 

The obvious losers were the Bengals and Chargers. Both teams picked players that were expected to contribute in a major way right from the start, but neither team got much from their pick.

 

I believe the real proof of what the Titans have at WR with these two picks will be in the 2018 season. Corey Davis went from missing the entire preseason, but coming into the first game against the Raiders with 6 catches for 69 yards. However, after that he went out in the Jacksonville game and didn’t return until 7 weeks later. His return sputtered along until the last playoff game where he finally found the end zone for the first (and second) time. The only issue (other than his health) that the team and fanbase want answered is whether he can be a real deep threat. As of yet he hasn’t shown the speed we hoped for.

 

As far as Taywan Taylor, he may have shown us that he is potentially the real deep threat. He reminds me somewhat of Kendall Wright. When the ball is in his hand, he is a very dynamic player. He wants the ball, but might thrive more in the running game with sweeps and trick plays than in the passing game. Right now I see him as a true 4th receiver and the only way he could move up is if the Titans released players ahead of him.

 

To sum up the 2017 draft of receivers, the Titans didn’t hit a homerun yet. Other than early injuries, we don’t know why the previous offensive staff didn’t use the very weapons that were given to them. Now we have to wait to see how Head Coach Mike Vrabel and Offensive Coordinator Matt LaFleur look upon these weapons. Do they see them as inadequate and will ask for replacements, or will they realize that these players have been truly underused/misused?

 

By Michael Hopkins 

Monday
Dec042017

Mid-Week Take: Titans vs. Texans

 

Another Titans win. Another lackluster performance. However, something very different happened in this game... the crowd at Nissan Stadium had a heartbeat. With the game very much in doubt,  the Texans on the move, and the Titans were putting up a valiant effort, the Titans' fanbase rose to their collective feet, causing such a deafening roar that the Texan offensive linemen were confused into three straight false start penalties. This extra 15 yards wasn't enough to end the drive, but it did show the Titans players and coaches that this once proud fanbase has risen from a long slumber.

Running Game

The running game sputtered, but started like a 1970's Beetle; once it starts the reliability is undeniable. Both Murray and Henry carried the ball 11 times, and were both effective in different ways. Murray had flashes of his slashing runs to gain 66 yards (6.0 yards per carry). Henry had minimal gains until his burst of 75 yards at the end of the game where Mariota pitched him the ball in a misdirection to the left. He ended the day with 109 yards (9.9 yards per carry) and a touchdown, breaking the 100-yard barrier for the 2nd time. Mariota also added 23 yards on 3 carries (7.7 yards per carry) and a touchdown. The running game amassed 198 yards; the highest total for the season. Although this total was perhaps overly bolstered by the 75 yard run at the end of the game, it was more than pleasing to see this part of "Exotic Smashmouth" produce something besides 2 yards and a cloud of dust.

Mistake-Free Mariota

Mariota had his first interception-free game since week 7 vs. Cleveland, and he did show some flashes of running the ball with aggression. However, with the exception of Delanie Walker (and perhaps Eric Decker), he has yet to find a real connection with any of his wide receivers. Corey Davis is coming along, but with all honesty appears to need work on his toughness. Taywan Taylor has great speed and elusiveness, but rumors abound that he is not learning the system like he should. Rishard Matthews is an excellent receiver, but there is nothing that really shows a true connection between him and Mariota. I'm not sure this is something that can be solved this season. Most likely needs to happen is an offseason workout between Mariota and one or more of his receivers. If he is the leader we hope we drafted, this will also be in his mind as well.

Defensive Successes

On the other side of the ball, the Titans' defense continues to improve from the last few seasons. The run defense can only be described as "Madden-esque". I can't remember the last time I saw some many tackles for a loss or little-to-no gain. With 14 tackles from the defensive line and an addition 25 tackles added by the linebackers, the defense continues to deny quality running backs from having a big day. On top of that, the defensive backs are immensely better than they were just last year. As much as it pains me to say this, even Brice McCain has improved to the point of not making game-killing errors. This alone is a minor miracle performed by the Dick LeBeau scheme. The defense isn't great yet, but they are definitely very good. I am a firm believer of the old saying, "Offense sells tickets, defense wins championships." If we keep this up, then the Titans can expect to see the playoffs more often in the future.

Conclusion

This team has yet to put together a complete game by all 3 phases, but maybe this team is built in such a way that as long as two phases are performing the Titans can come away with another win. The one thing that no one can deny is this team has come together to find ways to win where, in the past, they would have folded like a house of cards. This has translated into an excitement in the fanbase that is coming to a crescendo at the right time. Right now, all I can say is #TitanUp!