Henry, Mariota among top concerns

Friday, September 20, 2019, Vol. 43, No. 38
By Terry McCormick

Same old Titans – win when they are not expected to, lose when they are not expected to.

The Titans’ ugly 19-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts was a blown opportunity to take early control of the AFC South. Now on a short week, they get to go to Jacksonville to try and right their situation. But since the game will be played Thursday, before the deadline for this edition of the Ledger, this week’s four downs section will be four observations of where the Titans are after two games.

First down

Are they using Derrick Henry enough? Henry is the type of back who gets better the more carries he gets. He had 19 carries for 84 yards in the opener and 15 for 81 against the Colts. For a guy who supposedly is the focal point of the offense, the Titans may not be giving him enough carries.

When Henry got on a roll at the end of the third quarter, he was then on the bench for the first couple of plays of the fourth period with that drive still going. It eventually stalled and turned into a missed field goal.

Second down

Do they trust Mariota or not? The answer, at the moment, seems to be leaning toward no. Mariota played mostly dink and dunk against the Colts and took only a couple of down the field shots in the opener against Cleveland. The Titans have to open things up more because it is putting them into bad third-down situations, where they have been dreadful, going three for 20 in the first two weeks.

Third down

Hello my name is … That has to be the way free-agent pickup Adam Humphries feels early in his Titans career. The Titans signed Humphries, who caught 76 passes for the Bucs last year, to a hefty free agent deal. In two games, he has had three receptions for 4 yards.

Fourth down

Figure it out earlier. While most of the criticisms have been about the offense and its inconsistencies, the defense is not without culpability.

In each of the first two games, Tennessee has surrendered touchdowns on the opening drive. That is something that cannot continue to happen, especially if the offense can’t be counted on to provide game-changing plays.