NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Titans and Raiders have both started the season with high playoff expectations, but one of them will start the season 0-3 Sunday at Nissan Stadium.
Both teams have suffered heartbreaking losses and found themselves in desperate mode early on. Injuries hit the Titans once again, who will play without Harold Landry, Bud Dupree, Taylor Lewan and Kyle Phillips.
Landry started the season at Injured Reserve with a knee injury; Lewan joined him Saturday having also suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Dennis Daley got his first start for the Titans on Sunday’s left tackle. The Titans sent a fifth-round draft pick to Carolina just before the season to get Daley already ahead of Dillon Radunz, a second-round recruit in 2021.
The Titans are looking for consistency on Sunday’s offensive. They scored on their opening drive in their first two games against the Giants and Bills, but they only have 13 points in total after that.
“This is a game plan game right?” said quarterback Ryan Tannehill. “It’s a game you practice all week like any other game plan. Those were just a few games we liked so we called them in early, but it really was just because of the execution, being able to run the called game that came in and did our job, nothing more, nothing less.
To operate more consistently, the Titans had to be able to win at the scrimmage line, run Derrick Henry and set up Tannehill to play the pass.
Henry averaged just 3.1 yards per carry after the first two games. He said they should do better, everyone, but “the sky doesn’t fall”.
Henry has 21 carry for 82 yards against the Giants. Against Bills, he has 13 carry for 25 yards.
The good news for the Titans is that Henry usually bounces back massively after his worst game. Since 2018, when Henry ran less than 60 yards, the Titans were unbeaten next week.
Head coach Mike Vrabel made it clear that he wanted the Titans to play with their identity and return to doing better. That basically means beating people up with Henry and then building from there.
“Just think of every moment in our lives when things weren’t really great,” says Vrabel. “We have all faced difficulties. You gather around what you believe in, your core beliefs and your family’s, the people you trust. That’s my message, ‘Do the things we believe in and we know work.’”
The Raiders running defense has given up 109 yards per game, but only 3.7 yards per carry. The danger for the Titans is that if they can’t run the ball and they fall behind, it will allow Raider pass rushers Max Crosby and Chandler Jones to just pass and tee off at Tannehill as Jones did last year as a Cardinals when he had five sacks. .
Defensively, the Titans had to find a way to pressure Derek Carr without starting outside linebackers Harold Landry and Bud Dupree. That puts a lot of pressure on Jeffrey Simmons inside and likely means Denico Autry will slide out in a sure pass situation.
If they can’t, new Raiders wide receiver DaVante Adams is likely to tear them apart as Stefon Diggs did a week ago when he scored three goals in Buffalo’s 34-point win.
Raiders also have injury problems. Hunter Renfrow’s wide receiver came out and dashed back Josh Jacobs in doubt.
Kickoff is scheduled for noon at Nissan Stadium.
Source : www.wkrn.com