vel

Rise Up...or Get Gone! Scouting the Opponent: The Tennessee Titans

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This team is very frustrating. Very. From getting blown out and embarrassed week one to bouncing back in convincing fashion in week two to laying a complete egg in week three. When you can't even rely on some of your pillar players to play a clean 60 minutes of football, what do you do? Matt had a great game, but his INT led to another 10 point swing in a game we lost by 3. That is just plain old inexcusable and not something a HC can fix. Players constantly jumping offsides. Your stud DT not getting off the field resulting in a 12 man on the field penalty. Basic, elementary level stuff that millionaire players shouldn't be struggling with. Especially since they aren't rookies. Mistakes happen. But these mistakes are just careless. It shows the players aren't fully locked in and engaged. Julio was the only player who showed any degree of fire and frustration. This was a very big problem right now that can potentially tank this team and this season. The good news? It's only week three. As much as I was confident this team should have beaten the Colts, I knew this result was much more likely to happen than I cared to admit. This was the most Falcons thing to happen. They got comfortable. They relaxed. They didn't take the Colts serious. They saw the same talent gap we all saw. They thought just showing up would be good enough. But they forgot they still had a game to play. By the time they woke up, it was 20-3. You saw the talent gap in the second half, when they held the Colts to 7 points while scoring three straight TD drives. But the problem was the continued self inflicted mistakes that no coach should take the blame for. Jumping offsides is a player issue. Every single time. It extended several drives, which either resulted in points or restricted the offense's ability to exploit their advantage further. Until the players hold themselves and each other accountable, you can bring Bill Belichick in here and they'd still be trending for an 8-8 season. 

We are 1-2. Ugly loss to a solid Colts team that should not have happened. This was the worst defensive performance from this team:

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Even with Matt's INT, this offense wasn't stopped. Yet, just look at the EPA from the defense. It was worse than the Steelers game from last year. DQ didn't do his part. At all. Playing soft was stupid. Period. Why he didn't force Brissett into mistakes is a big question he needs to ask himself. But again, the players were still bad. I saw Debo jogging to cover a deep crosser behind him that was easy pitch and catch for the Colts because of his poor effort. How does your MLB play like that? Seriously. He's supposed to be the heart beat of the defense and if the other players see that, what do you think is going to happen? It's unacceptable but that's player accountability. DQ and Ulbrich can cuss him out all they want, but you never see Luke Kuechly doing that. He's got a standard for himself that he holds everybody else to. Until the players have that for themselves, you'll continue to get these ugly performances. 

Last point:

Even though it-'s frustrating and grim, one thing DQ has proven is that he won't let this thing get out of hand. Yes, 2018 was ugly. They went on a skid. But they also bounced back. Ugly losses happen to every team. The Titans even beat the Patriots 34-10 last year. Think about that. The 9-7 Titans. The Patriots rolled into Nashville and thought the Titans would roll over and this happened in November. Well into the season. They also beat the Eagles last year too. The two SB participants the year prior came to Nashville and left with L's to an inferior team. A team that didn't even make the playoffs. It happens. 

The players still respond to DQ and he continues to coach and look at the issues head on. It remains to be seen how 2019 will pan out, but best believe, they lose to the Titans and a 1-3 record with this roster and DQ won't be seeing 2020. I know people are down on him. Rightfully so. But DQ has looked in the mirror more times than I think the players have. They need to decide what kind of team they want to be. At the end of the day, the talent on the field has to produce. What made the LOB so great was not Pete Carroll and Dan Quinn, but the players on the field that could take what their coaches were trying to do and bring it fully to life each and every snap. From Sherman's brash and arrogant nature, to Kam's ferocious physicality, to ET's cerebral and confident demeanor, those guys brought it every week and didn't let anybody, neither their opponent or their teammates, have a breather from the pressure of the LOB. Until this team, defense in particular, finds those fiery players, it won't matter. 

Image result for titans logo

Head Coach: Mike Vrabel
Offensive Style: Balanced, West Coast Offense
Defensive Style: 3-4 defense

2018 Record: 9-7
Falcons All Time Record: 7-7

The Way I See It: Quite frankly, the Titans are a mediocre team. Which means jack shlt with this Falcons team, since they're just as mediocre right now. Throw the rosters out of the window. The Falcons haven't decided who they want to be. The Titans are relying on a very subpar QB, but the gap between Mariota and Ryan isn't as big as it should be given Matt hasn't been making good decisions on his own. I said this in the breakdown about the Colts game:

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This is an opportunity to show the Falcons are a class above the Colts in their current form. Don't hang around with lesser teams or take them lightly. We saw this group get ran out of Cleveland last year because "it was the Browns". Show you take every game seriously and start re-staking your claim in the top tier of the NFL. 

It applies here. They didn't take the Colts seriously until it was too late. This Titans team is just as capable of leaving Atlanta with a 35-10 victory as they are getting blown out 35-10 on the road. Just like Atlanta. Mess around and you will be 1-3 and you are what your record says you are. 

How We Match Up: Again, we match up well. Since the Vikings game, we haven't had a match up problem. It's a want to problem. If they don't want to play on Sunday, then all bets are off. They'll let inferior players out play them in match ups they should own. If they play their game, the Falcons should win this one. Same thing I said last week. The Falcons play the first half of the Colts game like the second half, they win 42-14. The ability is there. The Titans aren't any less talented than the Colts. They have talent on offense in Henry, Lewis, Davis, Brown, Humphries, Walker, and Sharpe. Mariota is subpar, but the same was said about Brissett and the defense chose to let him look like Matt Ryan. On defense, the Titans have a good chunk of talent. Very well rounded but can be inconsistent and poorly coached. Sounds like a spitting image of the Falcons defense. I don't know who these match ups favor honestly, because both teams are wildly inconsistent. 

When the Falcons are on Offense: Matt Ryan. Man. 29/34, 85%, 304 yards. 3 TDs. 8.94 YPA. 

 

Matt Ryan should have been praised this week for having a phenomenal game, picking apart a defense I noted didn't match up with this offense at all in anyway. Especially without Leonard. They dominated the soft middle of the defense like I expected. But the one glaring thing is the interception. I know people are pointing to the defense and saying "So Matt has to play perfect for us to win?!". I get all of that, and I'll get to the defense very shortly. But Matt is continuing to make grave mistakes in scoring positions. That pass to Stocker is completely indefensible. Not only was it to a limited TE in double coverage, but it was ridiculously high and just a poor decision to any weapon not named Julio. If that throw was to Julio, I'd grumble and move on. But forcing that pass to a blocking TE in scoring position is just not one I'm going to let slide. He throws that ball in the dirt and the Falcons might have won this game. Same with the Eagles game. And even the same with the Vikings game. He's throw three straight INTs in scoring positions. Two inside the ten yard line. That's up to 21 points right there. He needs to stop. The second half though, he was electric, leading the offense to three straight TD drives and several third and long conversions that shouldn't have happened. That's the Matt we've been waiting on. It's as simple as that. Matt shows up and balls out, the Falcons most times will win. This Titans defense is tough and not going to give up things like the Colts defense. But they are also prone to some clueless plays that make no sense. If we get second half Matt, they win. The running game showed some signs of life, but had to get shut down due to the situation. Freeman was at 5.5 YPC. It was consistently churning out 3-5 runs. You saw it on that 15 min drive in the third quarter. That's what wins games. They'll need that again Sunday. 

When the Falcons are on Defense: I really hate these guys man. Something I've said multiple times now, they are too busy listening to the noise on how good they should be and were after the Philly game. Are they talented? Yes. Should they believe it? Yes. Should they play like it? Yes. Do they? No. 

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Allen also puts it more on the players than the coaches. He referenced a practice in the days leading up to the Indianapolis game when players were flat.

“Last week we had a time where we came out and we started off slow, and it took the coaches to say something,” he said. “It has to be the players.”

Allen believes the Falcons play better when they “think we’re the underdogs and nobody cared about us and we didn’t have people saying we were the high-flying (Falcons).”

When you have players who can actually be flat in September, only two games into the season, you may have a problem. The coaches shouldn't have to get them up. Like Rico said, it's the players. The other problem is this whole "We play better when we're under dogs..." Who is calling you the underdog? The media. So you're telling me the media can influence your week to week performance? Again, that's the players. That's pathetic. And until the players choose to change, it won't matter who the coach is. They are focused on being praised instead of kicking a**. They are missing a lead dog. Alpha male won't let a Jacoby Brissett just march down the field repeatedly on them without getting pissed about it. Who would be in his teammates faces pissed that they keep jumping offsides. There is no killer instinct on this side of the ball. That doesn't come from coaches, no matter how many times fans try to make that case. If it did, they'd have it in spades with the DC from the LOB. Mike Smith coached a very physical and at times dominating Jags defense, but that mentality didn't come here because he couldn't bring Donovin Darius, Mike Peterson, Rasean Mathis, Marcus Stroud and John Henderson with him. Those guys were hard hitting, nasty men who didn't just role over because the media said they were good. Yet, Smitty couldn't react it here because he never had those types of guys on his roster. When your best player gets called for an offsides and 12th man on the field penalty, that's want to. 

Does this defense want to? I guess they may since people are talking so bad about them now. Maybe they'll want to make a point that they can play fast and physical every week, not just the prime time games. I don't know. This one honestly doesn't come down to the Titans offense. It comes down to the Falcons defense. You saw in the second half, Brissett turned back into a pumpkin because the defense chose to play better. But even when it was time to make a play, they chose to step on their dlcks with a penalty instead of a play. Yes, DQ is bringing in a full referee crew this week for practice, but jumping offsides isn't because of the refs being ticky tack. It's because the players are lackadaisical. They can get 5 sacks and multiple three and outs, or they can struggle to get off the field. Neither would surprise me. 

Vegas Line: Vegas has the Falcons as a 4.5 point home favorite, with the o/u set at 46.5. Take it for what you will. 

Prediction: Oh well. The Falcons chose to show they don't know how to take every week seriously. We can get a very good game that convinces us to be fans again. Or we can get a stinker that convinces more people on the "Fire DQ" bandwagon. That's where we are three weeks into this thing. As an eternal optimist, I'm also very rational and don't blame people for it at this point. They haven't earned any goodwill. All of it is gone. Each week for the next few weeks is going to be a wait and see approach. I thought we'd know who this team was after the Eagles game. But it's clear, this team doesn't even know who they want to be yet themselves. We'll keep waiting, but at this point, nothing will surprise us on Sunday. 

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Nice write up!

The offense as long as they are clicking, will keep us in this game. Defense just plays entirely too much loose zone for my liking. Nothing wrong with playing zone, just needs to be much tighter coverage. It is what it is....

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Troubling trend: Sacks. The Browns and Colts each got Mariota four times in the first two games of the season before the Jaguars went wild. Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell had his way with Jamil DouglasBen Jones and anyone else who was in his path, recording three sacks. Rookie pass-rusher Josh Allen had two sacks, and overpowered Jack Conklin most of the night. The offensive linemen, specifically Douglas, must do some soul-searching, because if they continue to play like this, Mariota won't last the season.

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24 minutes ago, Cole World said:

Troubling trend: Sacks. The Browns and Colts each got Mariota four times in the first two games of the season before the Jaguars went wild. Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell had his way with Jamil DouglasBen Jones and anyone else who was in his path, recording three sacks. Rookie pass-rusher Josh Allen had two sacks, and overpowered Jack Conklin most of the night. The offensive linemen, specifically Douglas, must do some soul-searching, because if they continue to play like this, Mariota won't last the season.

At this point, I don't think it's safe to assume what the Falcons can do based on what other teams have done. They play up and down to every team they come across. They could be the team to get one sack and the Titans think their OL is back on track. 

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Great article as usual. And as usual I agree with pretty dam near every single word. The Falcons ~ I'm talking from the HC to the players ~ everybody has to cut the BS and the players have to start playing up to their capability. The first step is to stop with the stupid penalties. The next step would be to get up in people's faces on D. Dump this Charmin-soft defense and start getting after people again, like the Eagles game. I thought this stupid soft zone was why Manuel got fired. Guess not. lol.

As you said, the players have to want it bad enough to play focused and fired up from the get-go. They still look like they're playing Game 2 of the preseason just about every week. Continued lack of effort and sloppy play is going to cost the Falcons another season out of the play-offs ~ and will also cost their HC his job.

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I’m loving these threads Vel.**** I haven’t even red the novel and I just pushed like because.

We need thread quality like this as you mentioned I’m frustrated as fark this week and I need some sustenance and you my friend are providing it.

Thank you.

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4 hours ago, vel said:

 

Apparently, it's more player to player accountability or you get benched according to a separate tweet that AC says fines won't mean anything.

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6 hours ago, vel said:

 

 

1 hour ago, Ergo Proxy said:

Apparently, it's more player to player accountability or you get benched according to a separate tweet that AC says fines won't mean anything.

We used to have this when I used to play rugby.2 or 3 times a year lock yourself in the changing rooms a court session was held.

Disputes were settled internally penalty’s paid drinking insued.It got messy it got bloody some court sessions but all was settled you always dealt with problems within the group.

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@vel Wasn't about the quote the whole thing given how long it is but I really wanted to address this point you made.

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It shows the players aren't fully locked in and engaged. Julio was the only player who showed any degree of fire and frustration. This was a very big problem right now that can potentially tank this team and this season. The good news? It's only week three. As much as I was confident this team should have beaten the Colts, I knew this result was much more likely to happen than I cared to admit. This was the most Falcons thing to happen. They got comfortable. They relaxed. They didn't take the Colts serious. They saw the same talent gap we all saw. They thought just showing up would be good enough.

This this the number one reason I've lost all faith in Dan Quinn and I think he's nothing more than Jim Mora 2.0 at this point. Far too many games in his 4 going on 5 years now where the team just isn't mentally prepared to play and that starts with the coach. Yes, he can't play the game for them but if he can't motivate them to where they take every game seriously like it's the most important game of the season so games like the one last Sunday aren't a common occurrence, than he needs to be gone. We lived through it all with the Mora led Falcons for 3 years and we've put up with it with Quinn. One thing that the Falcon led Smitty teams did on a regular basis was take care of business against the opponents they were clearly better than. Smitty wasn't ever gonna be the guy to lead the Falcons to the promised land but he made sure the Falcons didn't lay eggs against teams they were clearly better than. You can count on 1 hand the number of games the Falcons lost under Smitty that were as embarrassing as that game against the Colts were as far as clearly having the talent advantage but just coming out and not showing up. When the Falcons lost under Smitty it was because the other team was simply better.

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8 hours ago, Falconsfan567 said:

@vel Wasn't about the quote the whole thing given how long it is but I really wanted to address this point you made.

This this the number one reason I've lost all faith in Dan Quinn and I think he's nothing more than Jim Mora 2.0 at this point. Far too many games in his 4 going on 5 years now where the team just isn't mentally prepared to play and that starts with the coach. Yes, he can't play the game for them but if he can't motivate them to where they take every game seriously like it's the most important game of the season so games like the one last Sunday aren't a common occurrence, than he needs to be gone. We lived through it all with the Mora led Falcons for 3 years and we've put up with it with Quinn. One thing that the Falcon led Smitty teams did on a regular basis was take care of business against the opponents they were clearly better than. Smitty wasn't ever gonna be the guy to lead the Falcons to the promised land but he made sure the Falcons didn't lay eggs against teams they were clearly better than. You can count on 1 hand the number of games the Falcons lost under Smitty that were as embarrassing as that game against the Colts were as far as clearly having the talent advantage but just coming out and not showing up. When the Falcons lost under Smitty it was because the other team was simply better.

Ehh... All faith? Not yet. If they hadn't responded in the second half the way they did, I'd be with you. But every team has duds every year. Even the Patriots. They lost to the Dolphins on a hail mary and got abused by the Titans to the tune of 34-10. The "We're on to Cincinnati" clip? That was after a massive egg on MNF. Even the best team ever lays eggs and has their players questioned. It's all about the response. Outside of 2018, these type of games have rarely happened as well under DQ. 

NOW! If it's week 13 and we're still having this discussion, I doubt DQ survives the offseason. But so far, unless the roster gets depleted with injuries, he doesn't have a history of that like yall keep trying to make out. 

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18 hours ago, NWFALCON said:

They need some public shaming. 

Really? As if being called out on the loudspeaker by the ref isn't public enough.

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