The Houston Texans travel to Nashville for a rematch with the Tennessee Titans. They lost earlier in the season 17-10 in a game that was never really that close. However, the Titans have been struggling lately and they lost their starting quarterback for the season. We caught up with Jimmy Morris of Music City Miracles to ask him some questions about the upcoming game.
The Titans have hit a little slump since the Titans and Texans met last time. What do you attribute those struggles to? Are you worried about the Jaguars catching you in the standings?
A bad offensive line and a ton of injuries. For the second year in a row, this team is on pace to set the NFL record for players used in a season. Last week they played without five defensive starters and that doesn’t even count Harold Landry who was lost for the year before the season started. This week they will be playing without Ryan Tannehill and at least two starters on the offensive line. Hopefully they will get Treylon Burks back this week, but they will still be severely short-handed.
I am absolutely worried about the Jaguars catching the Titans. It is shaping up for the week 18 game between the Titans and Jaguars to be a win-and-in game. The only hope on the Titans end is that they can get some of the guys that are currently hurt back for that game.
Malik Willis will likely start the remainder of the season for the Titans. Will we see a different Malik Willis this time around?
He looked better in the game against the Chiefs than he did in the game against the Texans. They let him throw the ball a little more as he only attempted 10 passes in the first game against the Texans. That will be their game plan headed into this one as well, but they should be more confident about what he can do this time around. They won’t be terrified to let him put the ball in the air if the need arises.
As an aside, this playing experience is going to be really valuable for him and the Titans. The Titans have a lot of decisions to make this offseason. They need to learn as much about Malik as they can before then.
Jon Robinson was fired since we last talked. What happened to bring ownership to that point? Do you think Mike Vrabel will be the leading voice moving forward or is there anyone else out there we should be on the lookout for?
The deterioration of the overall talent on the roster; especially at offensive line. They drafted a first round offensive tackle (Isaiah Wilson) in the 2019 draft and second round tackle (Dillon Radunz) in the 2020 draft. Wilson is out of the league and Radunz couldn’t beat out Dennis Daley, who is the worst tackle in the NFL. There was also the A.J. Brown trade where they gave up one of the best young receivers in the league during a window where the Titans didn’t seem that far away from being a Super Bowl contender. Amy Adams Strunk said the game A.J. had against the Titans didn’t have anything to do with the decision to fire Robinson, but it is hard to believe it didn’t throw some fuel on the fire.
Mike Vrabel will most likely have more say in roster decisions going forward, but the Titans will hire a GM after the season. I would bet that they bring someone in from the outside instead of promoting from within, but they do have some guys currently in the building who have been highly sought after.
What is your sense of the Titans long-term? Do they make a QB change after the season? Are there other major pieces you think they are missing? Do they need to make the playoffs for everyone to be safe?
As we sit here right now, I haven’t seen enough from Willis to think they would be willing to hand the keys to him for next year, so my guess is that Ryan Tannehill will be back for next season. They will have to make a decision after 2023 at the latest.
The biggest pieces they are missing right now are on the offensive line. They need a LT, LG and possibly a C if Ben Jones decides to retire after the season. They also need more weapons on the outside. Treylon Burks looks like a really good player, but they are going to need more playmakers to go with him.
As for people being safe, Mike Vrabel is. DC Shane Bowen is as well. He’s done a great job. Todd Downing, the worst OC in the league, will hopefully be fired. There will likely be some staff changes that go along with that, but that is the biggest change that needs to be made.
The Titans beat the Texans by seven last time even though they dominated for most of the game. Do you think this game goes the same way or do you expect another result? Are there any specific bets you feel comfortable recommending?
Man, I’d be hard pressed to bet on the Titans with all of the injuries they currently have. The line opened at Titans -7 but has since moved to Titans -4 with the news that Tannehill is out. It’s going to take some Vrabel magic to pull this game out, but I think he can do it. Titans 21-17.
We want to thank Jimmy for joining us again and answering our questions. It will be a tight race down the stretch as the Titans try to hold off the Jacksonville Jaguars. We want to wish Jimmy and the Titans the best of luck for the rest of the season and invite you to visit our sister site Music City Miracles for more in depth information and commentary on the Titans.