Six matchups to watch during Titans-Jaguars

Off-Topic Discussions

Six matchups to watch during Titans-Jaguars

Postby zhangzk » Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:44 am

The Titans pulled off a big win over a division rival last weekend despite being down their top three tackles Womens Customized Tennessee Titans Jerseys , Pro Bowl tight end, and starting quarterback. They’ll look to knock off another AFC South team this weekend, but they will be getting at least one — and possibly three — of those key players back for the trip to Jacksonville.The Jaguars are coming off an impressive win in their home opener over the Patriots and are looking to open up a two-game division lead just three games into the season. On the other hand, a Titans win would leave Tennessee sitting at 2-1 and in first place despite the crazy slew of injury issues they’ve been faced with to open the season. This certainly isn’t a “must-win” for either side, but the stakes are high and the rivalry will add just a little more juice to this game. Below are the matchups that I am most looking forward to watching.Derrick Henry vs Jaguars defensePhoto by Frederick Breedon/Getty ImagesDerrick Henry is a legend in Jacksonville. Playing his high school football in suburb just north of the city, he still holds the national all-time high school rushing record with 12,124 yards. He also turned in one of his best games as a pro when the Titans played in Jacksonville last season, finishing with 14 carries for 92 yards and a touchdown. He played the role of the Titans closer in that game — a 37-16 laugher that was over by the start of the 4th quarter — coming on strong in the second half as the Jags defense wilted in the Florida heat.Now Henry returns home once again to play in a revived rivalry that has his handprint all over it. Titans fans love few images more than photos of Henry stiff-arming or bulldozing Jalen Ramsey or other Jags defenders. Jags fans hate those same images just the same.The Titans have failed to really get Henry on track early this season and that needs to change for them to succeed this weekend. Of course getting Taylor Lewan (and possibly Jack Conklin) back in the lineup will be a huge boost to the running game. Henry has run well in my opinion and the general outlook on his season so far is probably quite a bit different if the refs don’t call a phantom holding penalty on his long touchdown run in Miami, but this needs to be one of those Angry Derrick Henry games.The Jaguars defense is built to pin their ears back up front and rush the passer with an excellent secondary and athletic linebackers covering the back end. That’s what they want to do. What they don’t want to do is tackle a 240 pound back running behind a physical offensive line. Regardless of who starts at quarterback, I suspect the Titans will come in to this game looking to lean on Derrick Henry and the running game to wear down the Jags defense.Corey Davis vs Jalen RamseyPhoto by Logan Bowles/Getty ImagesDavis is clearly the focal point of the Titans passing game this season with four times as many targets as any other Tennessee wide receiver and more than double the next most targeted player at any position. The passing game has been relatively conservative through two weeks — a function of game planning around backup tackles and a backup quarterback — but if they begin to open things up, it figures to be Davis leading the way.The Jaguars often use their First-Team All-Pro corner Jalen Ramsey to shadow the opposing team’s top receiver and I would expect that to happen with Davis. Whether that keeps Tennessee from funneling targets towards their top receiver will largely depend on how often he’s able to win against Ramsey.That will be a big test in Davis’ development. Last season he aggravated a hamstring injury early in the first Jaguars game and then was held without a catch in the second matchup (the only time he’s gone catchless in an NFL game). He was open deep a couple times during that game, but the Titans chose to play it conservative with their defense playing lights out after jumping out to an early lead.Both Davis and Ramsey are extremely physical and fierce competitors which should make this a fun matchup to watch regardless of who comes out on top. Tennessee is going to need a few big plays from their top wide out on Sunday.Titans tackles vs Jaguars edge rushersReinhold Matay-USA TODAY SportsGetting Lewan back for this game is huge. The Jaguars best edge rusher, Yannick Ngakoue, lines up over the left tackle about 75% of the time and Ngakoue versus Pamphile would have been a big problem. Instead, the Titans will have Lewan at his usual post. In four games against the Titans, Ngakoue has been held to just one sack compared to 20 sacks in the other 30 games of his career. Lewan has had his number so far and the Titans will hope that continues on Sunday.The opposite side of the field is far less settled for the Titans. There is a chance that we see the return of Jack Conklin and that would clearly be the best case scenario. However, if he’s not quite ready to go this week, they’ll likely turn to Kevin Pamphile at that spot with Dennis Kelly remaining out for another week. Tyler Marz got the start there last week and performed admirably, but I would still expect Pamphile to get the nod.The Jaguars typically will play Calais Campbell as the defensive end across from the right tackle on early downs before bumping him inside and letting Dante Fowler rush from that spot on 3rd downs. Pamphile — or Marz if he’s the choice — will need help with both guys throughout the game. Even if Conklin does go, we may see the Titans help to his side as he tries to knock off the rust. Having Lewan playing on the left will make that possible.Brian Orakpo and Harold Landry vs Josh WellsJim Brown-USA TODAY SportsThe Jaguars lost starting left tackle Cam Robinson to a torn ACL midway through last Sunday’s win over the Patriots. That means reserve offensive lineman Josh Wells will get the 5th start of his career on Sunday. The Titans will primarily line up Brian Orakpo and Harold Landry against Wells a week after those two had five pressures each against the Texans. The Jaguars offensive line has been good through two weeks, allowing Blake Bortles to be sacked just once, but the Titans pass rush will be a much tougher test than the Giants or Patriots were.Orakpo had 2 of his 7 sacks in 2017 against Jacksonville, including a strip sack of Bortles during the first meeting. Landry was extremely close to getting his first NFL sack a few times during his outstanding debut last week and he will continue to try to break through against a beatable pair of Jags tackles this week.Adoree’ Jackson, Logan Ryan, and Malcolm Butler vs Keelan Cole , Dede Westbrook, and Donte MoncriefChristopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY SportsThe Jaguars receivers have outperformed expectations early in the year, particularly Keelan Cole who turned in a 7 catch, 116 yard, 1 touchdown against the Patriots which included a highlight reel one-handed grab along the sidelines. Westbrook and Moncrief have had impressive moments as well. The Titans trio of cornerbacks will have their work cut out for them in this game, but they’re playing pretty well themselves. Jackson is coming off, arguably, the best game of his career and Butler is certainly playing better than the numbers would suggest. Logan Ryan has only been targeted five times over two games, and indicator that he’s doing a nice job of taking away space in the slot. Last season, Bortles was 35 of 68 (51.5%) for 381 yards, 1 touchdown, and 4 interceptions in 2 games against the Titans. However, he’s also coming off what was probably the best game of his career against New England. The only thing consistent about Bortles’ NFL career has been inconsistency. He is capable of being the guy that we saw against the Patriots or the guy we saw against the Titans in 2017 at any given moment. However, if the corners can make the windows tighter it makes it all the more likely that Bad Bortles shows up.Jurrell Casey vs Andrew Norwell and A.J. CannJim Brown-USA TODAY SportsCasey spent most of last week reminding everyone why he’s considered one of the best interior defensive linemen in the game, racking up 8 pressures, 2 sacks, and 2 run stops against Houston. He has typically dominated against Jacksonville throughout his career with 8 sacks in 14 games.However, the Jaguars spent big money in the offseason to try to shore up the interior of their offensive line by signing former Panthers guard Andrew Norwell to a massive free agent deal. Norwell went all of 2017 without allowing a sack or QB hit, the only offensive lineman to achieve that feat last year. He’s clean through two weeks this year as well.I would expect to see the Titans trying to get Casey lined up against right guard A.J. Cann on 3rd downs more often than not. Cann isn’t terrible, but he’s been a below average player for most of his career. Making matters worse, he picked up a triceps injury that made him a limited participant in practice all week. He’s listed as questionable headed in to this game, but chances are he plays. When Casey does line up against Norwell that will be must-watch football for those that love line play. Those are two of the best in the game at what they do and I’m excited to see who gets the best of that matchup.The Titans officially have a tight end problem Five weeks in to the 2018 NFL season, the Titans top receiving tight end is Luke Stocker with 5 catches for 63 yards. Delanie Walker — who was injured midway through the opening game in Miami and is unlikely to return any time soon — is second with 4 catches and 52 yards. The guy that everyone expected to step up when Walker went down, second year tight end Jonnu Smith, has just 2 catches for 21 yards for the entire season. The Titans entire tight end room has been blanked in the box score two weeks in a row and has just 4 catches for 35 yards combined over the last four weeks. The problem extends far beyond catching passes though. The Titans aren’t getting much from their tight ends as run blockers either. Luke Stocker ranks 30th among tight ends in run blocking on PFF Tennessee Titans T-Shirt , while Jonnu Smith checks in at 42nd. The Tennessee running game is being hurt by missed blocks from this position group far too often right now.The fallout from the tight end struggles ripples through the rest of the roster as well. The lack of a viable receiving threat out of this group puts more pressure on the young receivers and depth receivers like Darius Jennings and Nick Williams. We’ve seen how that has worked out to this point. The blocking failures have virtually crippled the play that should be the staple of this rushing offense, the outside zone. That’s been reflected in Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis’ statistics through five weeks. Bad tight end play is hampering virtually every aspect of this offense right now.Jonnu Smith played pretty well during his rookie season as the No. 2 to Walker’s No. 1, leaving most to believe that he could prove to eventually be become the team’s top option at the position. He followed that up with a great offseason, finishing a close runner up to Derrick Henry for the coaching staff’s offseason recognition. By all accounts — including my own — Smith looked like a player poised to take the next step in 2018. All that build up makes his performance over the last four weeks that much more frustrating. His blocking has been a problem and he’s not offsetting it with any production in the passing game. Worse, it seems as if he may have lost some of Marcus Mariota’s trust when he dropped that easy 3rd down pass against the Eagles. Since that drop, there have been multiple plays where Mariota has seemingly passed up an open Smith to throw elsewhere, including the ill-fated throw to Nick Williams in Buffalo. The coaches may be losing some faith in their young tight end as well. Smith’s snap count dropped to 78% of snaps against the Bills, marking the first time it’s been under 90% since Walker got injured. Stocker was the primary beneficiary, jumping from 35% in Week 4 to 59% in Week 5. It’s not as if Stocker has been tearing it up this season either. He’s clearly a better blocker than Smith, but even on his best day he’s not a serious threat as a receiving option. Playing Stocker more and Smith less could yield more consistency at least, but it certainly lowers the ceiling of what the offense can be. The only other options on the roster currently are MyCole Pruitt and Anthony Firkser who was just promoted from the practice squad. Pruitt has gotten a little playing time over the last couple weeks, primarily as a blocker, but he entered the league as a big time athlete who was quite productive as a receiver in college. Firkser may be the best receiving tight end on the roster right now given what we’ve seen from Smith to this point. He’s not strong enough to hold up as a point of attack blocker though which limits what the team can do with him on the field. The free agent market is pretty barren at tight end. The two options that have performed at the level of a TE1 previously in the NFL are Coby Fleener and Martellus Bennett. Fleener was last seen being released by the Saints after failing to be medically cleared to return from a concussion. Bennett has recently tweeted that he won’t be planning on returning to the NFL because he can’t pass a drug test. Neither of those guys are realistic options. There isn’t a Kenny Vaccaro type free agent tight end that can come to the rescue. A trade for a tight end could be possible in theory, though midseason player trades are pretty rare in the NFL. Cameron Brate would make the most sense in my opinion. O.J. Howard has supplanted him as the top tight end in Tampa Bay which makes him somewhat expendable. He also has ties with Titans GM Jon Robinson who was part of the front office that brought Brate to Tampa as an undrafted free agent in 2014. We’ve seen Robinson come back to guys he has connections with before so that model fits here. The problem is that Brate just signed a 6 year, $41M contract extension earlier this offseason so it would appear that the Bucs see him as a part of their long term future, even if he’s not the top tight end. As the Titans are proving right now, a second tight end can be pretty important. That’s also a big contract for the Titans to take on considering they just handed out an expensive extension to Walker earlier this offseason and will have possible extensions to discuss with Mariota and Kevin Byard this spring. I just don’t see how a Brate deal gets done realistically and there isn’t another deal out there that makes a ton of sense for both sides.So what do the Titans do to make it better?Obviously, the Titans were never going to replace Delanie Walker. You don’t just lose a 3-time Pro Bowler and rattle right along like nothing happened. This was always going to be a team effort to pick up the large amount of slack left by his injury. Wide receivers like Corey Davis, Taywan Taylor, and Tajae Sharpe must continue to improve. The Titans need their offensive tackles to get healthy and stay healthy so the tight ends don’t have to chip and help in pass protection so often. However, Tennessee is going to need to find a way to get something out of the tight end spot. The most optimistic solution would be to stay the course with Smith and continue to coach him up and that’s ultimately what I expect they’ll do. He’s a young player with plenty of physical ability. It’s just about getting the mental side of the game to slow down for him. If I was Matt LaFleur or Marcus Mariota, I would be trying to find a way to get Smith an easy catch or two early on in the Ravens game to try to get him jump started and build a little confidence. Another option is to elevate Stocker to the TE1 role. That at least improves the team from a blocking standpoint. They could then bring Smith on for certain packages or even take a look at Pruitt or Firkser in a potential “3rd down tight end” role if Smith continues to struggle. It’s a less than ideal solution because it limits how multiple you can be out of the same personnel package, but being multiple may not be a luxury the Titans have right now.Tight end is one of the toughest positions on the field to play. You have to know the route tree as well as pass protections. You have to run like a receiver one play and then block like an offensive lineman the next. Right now Smith is offering neither and it’s really hurting this offense. I don’t think it’s time to give up on him altogether, but it is time for the Titans to admit that there is a problem at this position and start addressing it one way or another.
Posts: 207
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:55 am

Re: Six matchups to watch during Titans-Jaguars

Postby tippyfinite » Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:03 am

Below are the matchups that I am most looking forward to watching.Derrick Henry vs Jaguars defensePhoto by Frederick Breedon/Getty ImagesDerrick Henry is a legend in Jacksonville. Playing his high school football in suburb just north of the city, he still holds the national all-time high school rushing record with 12,124 yards.

happy wheels online.
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:00 am

Re: Six matchups to watch during Titans-Jaguars

Postby veevet » Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:30 pm

Posts: 145815
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2018 5:02 am

Return to General Discussion