Entries in Tennessee Titans (19)
Let me start out by saying this article will probably have you shaking your head and maybe even cursing my name under your breath, but please continue to read to fully go on the ride with me.
Q. Are Titans fans spoiled brats that throw tantrums after every play that doesn't go their way?
A. There is quite possibly a large number of fans that scream at the coaches, players, management, etc. after every failed play and especially after every loss. At every game I attend at Nissan Stadium there is a large contingent of the fan-base that screams at the coaching staff for their play calling. If the team is winning or losing, it doesn't seem to matter, there are fans screaming, "That's the worst play I've seen in my entire life!" or "I hate <insert coaches name here>! He's the worst coach in the league!" These are usually screamed in the 1st quarter when the game is still very much in doubt. As the game progresses, these same people (after a few alcoholic beverages) have become even more belligerent. They have added more colorful language to their rhetoric without considering the potential for younger ears nearby. On the comical side I have even seen a fan scream that the coaching staff should throw the ball downfield more and the play-calling is too conservative, only to have the coach do the very thing they desired and fail. The fan then turns around and screams "What kind of call was that?!" The funny thing is you expect that type of fanatic at the game, but with local sports talk radio and Internet team sites (like this one), you get a fan that can't stop being angry even when faced with overwhelming facts and logic. Admittedly, as my wife can attest, I am TV screamer. When sitting at home watching the Titans play away games I have been called out for yelling at the team for poor play. My wife can name each one of my canned howls... "Unbelievable!", "Horrible call!", or her personal favorite, "You gotta be kiddin' me!" So, does this make me a "closeted" bad fan?
Can the Titans' management team and coaching staff really be that pathetic? Are they just "taking the paycheck" and "mailing it in"? Are we as fans the patsies of the NFL and the Tennessee Titans franchise for continuing to support such incompetence? Well, to be honest, these questions are not as sarcastic as they may first appear? We have all experienced that player that "took plays off" or that coach that seemed to be in way over their head or even an ownership group that wasn't around to answer these very questions.
Fans, by their very nature, are deeply passionate about their team, and Titans' fans are no different. However, I think there might be some that have been fans from the beginning (Titans' franchise beginning not historic Oilers) who were spoiled by playoff and even Super Bowl visits, and demand this organization continue to deliver exceptional seasons without exception. Your question might be, are the fans wrong for this? Absolutely not. However, when the only thing you have to say about the team, to whom you express deepest devotion, is a couple of seasons of tirades then bailing out by selling your tickets to opposing fans, maybe you have a loyalty problem.
Have the Titans had several seasons where the team put a less than mediocre product on the field? Yes. However, count yourself lucky you're not a Browns fan, or a Bengals fan of the late 80's and 90's, or a Buccaneers or Saints fan of the 20th century... I could keep going. There are very few teams that say they are untouchable when it comes to putting a stinker of a team together. Let's just look at a few you might think are truly great franchises the Titans need to be: Admittedly, the New England Patriots could probably be called the "team of the 21st century" to this point (and a true thorn in my side for most of my life). However, in the late 1980's and early 1990's the Patriots were a team that couldn't get out of their own way. They posted records of 5-11 in 1989, 1-15 in 1990, 6-10 in 1991, 2-14 in 1992, and 5-11 in 1993. From 1989 to 1999 they had a record of 73-103. This isn't spectacular by any measurement. There is also "America's Team" (I just threw up in my mouth a little), the Dallas Cowboys. From 1986 to 1990 they were 25-54 and again from 2000-2005 they were 40-56. They were the epitome of mediocrity. Finally, let's consider the team that has won the most Super Bowls, the Pittsburgh Steelers (quite possibly the most obnoxious fan-base in the NFL). They missed the playoffs 11 times from 1980 to 2000 (52%). What do all of these numbers tell us? Almost nothing except, if you are to call yourself a fan of any team, no matter what the team, then you need to expect the good times with the bad. What makes you a good representative of that team is how you react during both.
Am I saying that as a fan you shouldn't yell at your team? Absolutely not. I'm just saying that you need to remember while you are "letting your freak fan flag fly", you need to keep your brain engaged and realize that for better or worse you have fallen head-over-heels in love with a team that you know in your heart is great. Keep yelling (within reason), just keep lovin' that flaming thumbtack. However, if you are one of the ones that demands the team win every home game before you decide to leave your cave once again, then maybe you have just discovered you are not the true fan you considered yourself to be. You might want to consider a franchise that doesn't lose. Oh wait, as I pointed out earlier, there isn't one.
Before the Titans drafted Marcus Mariota there was so much hype whether he could play under center after playing in shotgun his entire career, and whether he had the "leadership personality" needed to guide men at this level. His first season was a struggle to stay upright and a struggle in an inept offense, but now he appears to be one of the hottest QBs in the league. This gave me an idea, I need to compare his first 24 regular season starts against some of the NFL's greatest QBs (in the modern era). After some deliberating I decided to compare him against the following QBs (past and present):
- Dan Marino
- John Elway
- Tom Brady
- Joe Montana
- Brett Favre
- Aaron Rodgers
- Steve Young
- Peyton Manning
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Marcus Mariota is destined for Canton and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but these numbers do show very good news for the Titans faithful that have had very little to remain faithful about over the last several seasons.
The 3 statistics that I really find interestingly positive are the completion percentage (63.24%), the touchdown-to-interception ratio (2.44), and touchdowns (44). The completion percentage tells me that he is more accurate than most or that the coaching staff has worked extra hard to assimilate his particular skills into an NFL offense. Either way, he has very healthy relationships with his receivers that should prove a continuation of his improving numbers.
His 44 touchdowns and 2.44 touchdown-to-interception ratio shows me that he will continue to drive this offense to higher and higher scores. The number of times he has been sacked is a huge concern that I believe has already been successfully addressed with the reworking of the offensive line this season.
There are a few other numbers that are not shown here. On the positive side, Mariota is quite possibly the fastest QB in the league and has shown he is a real threat as a runner. On the negative side, he has shown an unfortunate lack of ball protection, fumbling on many inopportune occasions. He has worked very hard as of late on protecting the ball.
Again, these numbers comparisons are just an interesting way to prove where you've been as a team and not a true measurement of where you might go. That being said, Marcus Mariota is in very good company amongst the QB historical elite.
Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans came into Thursday night's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars reeling from a recent disappointing home loss to the Indianapolis Colts, and show the home fans what they've been waiting to see for more than a season. The offense ran up 27 first half points and 354 yards (more than any other team this season for a half of football). The defense held the Jags to zero points and only 60 yards in the first half. Even the special teams didn't make any first half mistakes.
In the last 4 games, the offense has been scoring the number of points this team needs to win (30, 28, 34, and 36). Mariota has thrown 10 TDs with only 1 interception and 949 yards, Murray has rushed for 406 yards and 3 TDs, Walker has 146 yards receiving and 2 TDs, Matthews has 177 yards receiving and 3 TDs, and Wright has 229 yards and 2 TDs. In the game against the Jaguars, Mariota was particularly sharp and now seems to be in complete sync with Offensive Coordinator Terry Robiskie. The offensive line has been especially strong in their part of the "Exotic Smashmouth" scheme. Although both Murray and Derrick Henry are slow starters in each game, they finish with a kick, and in most cases have had strong performances. Although there isn't a huge stand out in our receiving corps, there are a cohesive unit without huge egos to get in the way.
The defense has been cranking up the pressure on the QB too. Although the secondary has shown some definite cracks and the linebackers have had trouble covering the running backs and tight ends, the defense as a whole has kept the team close enough to win every game. Derrick Morgan has 5 1/2 sacks, and Brian Orakpo and Jurrell Casey have 3 sacks each in the last 4 games. They have only allowed 220 total rushing yards as well, with Avery Williamson getting 28 tackles alone.
The only piece of this team that seems to be seriously lagging behind is the Special Teams unit. They have allowed returns for touchdowns, missed extra points, failed to recover onside kicks, and received critical penalties. All of this has actually cost the team points and very likely cost the team at least one win. In all likelihood, this team could be sitting in first place if this unit were to stop making so many mistakes. It has already cost one job on the team. It might cost more before the end of the season if things don't get better.
Even with one of these units not pulling their weight, this team looks poised to take over the AFC South.