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About laiyongcai92

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    Titans Offense Must Eliminate

    To Improve , Mistakes It is no secret: the Tennessee Titans offense has struggled thus far in 2018.The run game has sputtered and been mostly ineffective for the better part of 5 games, as evidenced by the team’s current rank of 24th in rush DVOA (which accounts for strength of opponent) according to Football Outsiders.The Titans have played 21 total periods (counting overtime) this season. They have been held without a touchdown in 16 of those 21 quarters. The nerve injury sustained by Marcus Mariota, the multiple injuries suffered by Taylor Lewan, the devastating injury that ended Delanie Walker’s season, Jack Conklin’s recovery from a torn ACL, Dennis Kelly’s mystery illness, and the demise of Rishard Matthews have all factored in to the offense’s struggles, no doubt about it.Tyler Marz struggled mightily filling in for the injured Lewan on Sunday after the league’s highest-paid tackle exited the game with a foot injury.But the crazy part is that despite all the injuries and all the ineffectiveness, the Titans offense could be doing much better if the team could simply eliminate mental mistakes and execute when it counted.One position group that has struggled consistently with making mistakes is the team’s pass catchers, particularly when it comes to... well... catching the ball.The graphic above was posted prior to Sunday’s game at Buffalo, but I can’t imagine the number improved much after Nick Williams’ costly drop in the 4th quarter.There are lots of things that could be better about the Titans’ offense, but for today’s article, we’re just going to look at the Titans drops, because those miscues are pretty easy to identify, and for the Titans, they’ve come in pretty huge moments.I reviewed all of the Titans’ incomplete pass attempts since Week 1 and determined that there were 8 (give or take) drops by Titans receivers on balls that should’ve been caught (the most questionable one is the downfield play against the Eagles where Taywan Taylor was egregiously interfered with Youth Dennis Kelly Jersey , drawing no flag).6 of these 8 drops occurred on third down. Let’s take a closer look at each painful drop to assess just how much damage the receivers are doing to the offensive production...NFL Gamepass.This first one came on the Titans’ very first possession of the season. The offense drove to the Dolphins 28-yard line and, facing a 3rd-and-4, Mariota lofted one into the end zone for Taywan Taylor.Now this isn’t exactly an easy catch, and there may be a small amount of pass interference, but the fact of the matter is the ball landed squarely in both of Taylor’s hands and bounced cleanly out, costing the team a touchdown. This is one you expect your starting-caliber receivers to catch.And I don’t mean this next part to be blaming Taywan Taylor for the disastrous start to the season, but hear me out - had Taylor caught this ball, every play that followed would have changed (you know, the butterfly effect and all), including (but not limited to) Marcus Mariota’s injury, Taylor Lewan’s concussion, and Delanie Walker’s broken ankle.So, all in all, a brutal first drop. Moving on...The second one came Week 3 against Jacksonville. Rishard Matthews questioned his role in the offense. Perhaps if he had managed to make this simple reception, he would’ve received more snaps...NFL Gamepass.As you can see from the endzone cam, this third-and-2 pass attempt deep in Jacksonville territory hits Rishard Matthews exactly where quarterbacks are instructed to hit their targets - in the hands directly in front of the facemask. Naturally , Rishard Matthews did not want to be a Titan anymore so rather than set the team up with a first down in the red zone, he dropped the pass, ending the drive.Moving on to later in this game...NFL Gamepass.In the second quarter, the Titans faced a 3rd-and-6 from their own 20 yard line. Tajae Sharpe does a nice job of getting open over the middle, and Mariota delivers a great throw that hits his receiver right between the numbers.Sharpe tries to corral this pass between his arms as if he’s fielding a punt. As he rolls over, the ball squirts free. Incomplete pass, drive over, Titans punt. Shall we discuss the next one?NFL Gamepass.Onto Week 4: here we have one of Mariota’s best plays as an escape artist in the pocket. Notice that it is again third down. Mariota, evading the rush, somehow keeps his balance and maneuvers back around to find an open Jonnu Smith just beyond the first down marker. Rather than use his hands, Smith goes for the ole’ bread basket catching technique, and the ball doinks straight off his chest into the ground, killing another Titans drive deep in opponent territory. Mariota’s reaction is a reflection of how we all felt. Later in the game...NFL Gamepass.This one was not on third down, and it should’ve been flagged for a pass interference penalty, as Leodis McKelvin clearly grabs Taywan Taylor’s facemask. For those reasons, this is the least egregious drop of this breakdown. Even so , Mariota delivered a beautiful pass that hits Taylor in the hands. PI or not, it’d be nice to see him catch this ball.Let’s take a look at another...NFL Gamepass.This next one, again in the Week 4 game, is a bit tougher to see, but using the end zone cam you can tell that this ball hits Taywan Taylor squarely in the chest - again on third down - and Taylor is again unable to secure the pass, thus ending another Titans drive.This next one belongs in a slapstick comedy routine...NFL Gamepass.The speedster Darius Jennings runs straight past the Philadelphia defense and Mariota delivers a perfect downfield strike, in overtime, needing a touchdown to win the game.Jennings feels compelled (for reasons unknown) to jump as the pass is arriving and thrust his chest upwards into the ball while alligator-arming the attempt to secure it. And so, with the chance to set the Titans offense up inside the red zone, the undrafted free agent proved that he is indeed capable of being yet another Titans receiver to drop a crucial pass.The Titans are very lucky that this drop did not cost them a win. I wish I could say the same about the next one...NFL Gamepass.I don’t think I need to elaborate on how devastating this drop was, as Marcus Mariota says enough with his reaction at the end of the play.Converting on third down is a great way to gain an edge in any given week. If the offense can sustain drives, it keeps the opponent off the field while increasing the team’s chances of putting points on the board. This much is obvious. So while the Titans certainly have a lot of kinks to iron out with the offense after five weeks, they’d be in a lot better shape if they hadn’t turned 6 sure-fire first downs into incompletions.Was Mariota throwing shade at his receivers with his word choice during his press conference on Sunday?(Just kidding, that’s a joke...)Before we end this breakdown focusing on the mistakes of Titans pass-catchers, I’ll leave you with one more play...What to watch for during Titans-Buccaneers The Titans are back in preseason action tonight as they host the Buccaneers at Nissan Stadium following a couple joint practices during the week. As always, the primary objective is to get out of the game with no major injuries Youth Marcus Mariota Jersey , but here are a few other storylines to keep an eye on during the game. The preseason debut of Corey DavisGeorge Walker IV-USA TODAY SportsCorey Davis seems to be on track to take the field in a preseason game for the first time tonight. We don’t know how long Davis and the other starters will play, but even seeing him work with Marcus Mariota for a drive or two would be a very positive step. The Titans need their 2017 first round pick to play like the star they drafted him to be this year. With Rishard Matthews’ status still up in the air and Eric Decker dropping balls in New England, the Titans are putting a lot of eggs in the Corey Davis basket. The good news is that Davis has looked like one of the best players on the field during training camp. He still has moments of inconsistency, but he’s also making a ton of plays and has turned in some truly unbelievable catches while working against a very good group of cornerbacks. The Titans offense targets him frequently in the passing game in practices and I would expect that to be the case tonight as well. Davis turning in a strong performance and helping the first team offense click like it did in Green Bay would be a great first step for the second year wide receiver.Taylor Lewan vs Jason Pierre-PaulChristopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY SportsDuring the Titans-Bucs joint practices this week, Pierre-Paul got the best of Lewan in a couple reps, including one that the Bucs’ Twitter account put out from a one-on-one pass rush drill. Pierre-Paul then scoffed at Paul Kuharsky when he asked him about competing against Lewan, acting like he dominated the Titans left tackle. JPP is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL so there is no shame in getting beat by him on a couple reps, but knowing Lewan’s personality I wouldn’t be surprised to see 77 come out with an extra large chip on his shoulder when he lines up against Pierre-Paul tonight. This should be a fun battle to watch. Wide receiver rotationUSA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinWe know that Corey Davis will likely get the start at one wide receiver position, but I’ll be interested to see who is taking the first team reps opposite him. That had been Taywan Taylor’s role for the majority of the offseason, but Tajae Sharpe has reportedly gotten some reps there this week as well. I would still expect to see Taylor open the first drive with the starters, but it’s possible that Sharpe gets a reward for a strong week of practices. In the slot, I would still expect to see Nick Williams working as the top option inside with Michael Campanaro continuing to deal with whatever injury is holding him out of practice, but it will be interesting to see if Deontay Burnett gets any run earlier in the game. Burnett continues to make plays in practice and looked pretty good with limited opportunities in Green Bay, but he’ll need to show more to truly get in the mix for a 53-man roster spot. The other guy I want to see more of is Devin Ross. He’s another undrafted receiver that has shown some promise in camp and had a nice catch and run on a WR screen against the Packers. I think he’s most likely competing for a practice squad spot rather than a 53-man roster spot right now, but he’s been good in camp.Will last week’s stars shine again?Benny Sieu-USA TODAY SportsThe way to earn a role — or a roster spot — during training camp and preseason is to bring it every time out. It’s not enough to just flash once and then coast. Coaches want to see consistency and for bottom of the roster players, they want to see if they can do it against better competition.That will likely be the test for the stars of the Titans first preseason game. Players like Harold Landry Youth Rashaan Evans Jersey , Sharif Finch, Corey Levin, LeShaun Sims, and Jayon Brown will be looking to stack another strong performance as they make a case for a bigger role. Landry, Sims, and Brown are all going to make this roster, but could earn more playing time. The stakes are higher for guys like Levin and Finch who are fighting for roster spots. Adoree’ JacksonChristopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY SportsJackson has been one of the stars of training camp and he may have had his biggest day during Thursday’s practice against the Bucs. He recorded three interceptions during that practice, including this pass in the endzone that he tipped to himself and then celebrated with a casual flip.The flip is cool, but the coverage here is fantastic as he mirrors DeSean Jackson’s route and makes it look easy. I get that his first preseason game wasn’t great. He gave up a couple catches and missed a tackle during the Packers opening drive, but I really think Jackson is going to have a Byard-esque breakout campaign this year. We saw him start coming on late last season and he’s picked up where he left off this year. Keep an eye on 25 tonight.