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VOL. 44 | NO. 46 | Friday, November 13, 2020

Looking back, ahead at Titans’ unusual season

By Terry McCormick

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With the Titans having a short week and a Thursday night game against the Indianapolis Colts, we will forego the usual four downs and the usual game-plan slant. Instead, we will examine four areas regarding Tennessee’s season thus far.

First down

Derrick Henry drives the train. He doesn’t get 100 yard every week. He had just 68 yards against Chicago. But now that the calendar has flipped to November and the weather will soon be getting colder, it should soon be Henry time again for the Titans.

Last year, Henry really didn’t hit his stride until around this time last season. He had just one 100-yard rushing game in the first nine games of 2019 before closing with a fury and winning the rushing title. This year, Henry has 843 yards after half a season with the Titans hoping for a repeat of last year’s fast finish.

Second down

A.J. Brown is a big-time playmaker. Brown does special things with the football in his hands and has yards-after-catch ability that few Titans receivers have ever shown. His combination of size and speed make him a feared weapon, who should only keep improving.

Remember last year in the playoffs? Bill Belichick chose to take away Brown instead of Derrick Henry and paid the price with Henry running over the Patriots defense on the way to a postseason win.

Third down

The defense might be salvageable. Tennessee’s defense had been a problem for weeks, thanks to a non-existent pass rush and a shaky and banged-up secondary. The acquisition of Desmond King should give the Titans a major upgrade at nickelback. If Tennessee can get both Adoree’ Jackson and rookie Kristian Fulton back, then suddenly the secondary starts to look like a strength rather than a liability.

As for the pass rush, Derick Roberson already has impressed more than Vic Beasley. Now, the Titans just need Jadeveon Clowney (whose knee injury might shelve him) to give them something down the stretch.

Fourth down

Special teams are a mess. Some of it is that All-Pro punter Brett Kern is out with a wrist injury. The Titans have to hope he will be back soon.

Until then, Ryan Allen looks OK as a fill-in. Long snapper Matt Overton likely just had a one-week run, as newly signed Matt Orzech takes that spot. And Stephen Gostkowski is up and down, and still can’t be truly counted on when needed for a clutch kick.

The Titans have to hope problems they have had – especially with Gostkowski – somehow resolve themselves and don’t flare up at a critical time like against Pittsburgh.

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