It might seem like an eternity ago with the holiday come and gone and a trouncing at the hands of the Cleveland Browns, but these teams just played a couple of weeks ago. Of course, in the NFL every game is a new game even when it involves the same two teams. Players get hurt and others get healthy. Houston Texans fans can only hope is is them that get more healthy.
We caught up with Jimmy Morris again. While the Texans and Titans might be bitter division rivals, those of us at SBNation are one big happy family. Morris has been doing a great job over at Music City Miracles providing great content on the Tennessee Titans. He was gracious enough to sit down and answer some questions about the Titans and the state of the NFL this week.
Battle Red Blog: With the season coming to an end in a couple of weeks, what do you think the future is for Mike Vrabel? Do you think his seat is warm? Should it be?
Jimmy Morris: His seat will be warm heading into next season. There wasn’t much else that could be done by a coach with this roster. They need to upgrade at pretty much every position across the board. The team is still playing hard, and that is a testament to Vrabel’s leadership.
With that being said, he needs to win next year. You can only get by so long with the excuse of the roster not being good enough. Vrabel has more say over personnel now than he did under Robison, so an offseason where the Titans will likely have a top-10 pick and the most cap room of any team in the NFL makes 2024 really important for his future here.
BRB: Will Levis is clearly the guy moving forward and was very impressive in the last game. Do you see Ryan Tannehill sticking around as a veteran backup or do you see them moving in a new direction?
JM: I don’t see a scenario where Tannehill is back next season. It would be tough for any guy who has had as much success as he did with the Titans to be replaced and then hang around. They will need to have a veteran to back up Levis next season, but it likely won’t be Tannehill.
As a side note, if Tannehill wants to play next year and Arthur Smith is still the coach in Atlanta, don’t be surprised to see Tannehill sign with the Atlanta Falcons.
BRB: It’s hard to imagine the Titans without Derrick Henry but do you think his time has come to an end in Nashville? If so, do you see them running the same system with Spears or opening things up a bit with Levis?
JM: It’s a good question on Henry. I think he is going to want to play next year, and he has been so important to this franchise. The biggest question is will he be willing to sign here for a lot less than he has been making and with a drastically reduced role. I don’t see the market being huge around the league for him, so it might make sense for him to stay here on a 1-2 year deal.
They won’t run the same system with Spears. He isn’t built to be a 20+ carry per game back. Hopefully that means they will open things up with Levis and Spears, but they are going to need to upgrade the pass catchers if they are going to do that.
BRB: It seems there have been more games this year decided partially because of questionable calls than in years past. I know the Titans faithful are still upset about a late hit that wasn’t called in week 15. What would your fix(es) be?
JM: It’s a good question. I think you start by making NFL officials full time employees. Give them more time to work on their craft. There are also some places where replay should be expanded, but this time you have to make sure that they are willing to actually overturn a call if it is obvious that it should be overturned. That wasn’t the case when they opened up pass interference to replay. There were so many times where it was obvious that PI occurred but they very rarely overturned the call on the field.
BRB: According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Texans are opening up as slight favorites (+3.5) at home against the Titans. How do you see the game going? Are you comfortable recommending any prop bets this go around?
JM: So much depends on which quarterbacks are playing. Let’s say Stroud and Levis both play, I think this game has sneaky shootout potential. The Texans probably win a 28-24 game.
We want to thank Jimmy for his time and prompt responses to our questions even though this is a week most people take off from work. We hope the Texans don’t take the week off as they are desperate for a win, so they can sneak into the playoffs this year. We want to wish Jimmy the best of us luck and the Titans as well. Of course, we hope that luck begins on Monday.