KYO (Know Your Opponent) Week 9: Tennessee Titans vs San Diego Chargers
Last Sunday, the San Diego Chargers dropped a tough one in the Mile High City to their rival, Denver Broncos.
Some very questionable play-calling led to a heartbreaking defeat against the World Champions.
This Sunday, the Bolts return home and will host the up and coming Tennessee Titans. The football team from Tennessee has surprised many pundits. They’re currently 4-4 and have a real shot of winning the AFC South.
Like we do every week here at EVT, let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Tennessee Titans.
Murray has had a strange career. He was a highly recruited running back in high school, and then he went to Oklahoma, where he never had a chance to play a full season because of injuries. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, and after a couple of frustrating seasons, Murray showed the league he was a force to be reckoned with. In 2014 he ran for 1,845 yards for the Cowboys. He then signed with the Eagles and had a horrible season last year. This off-season he was traded to Tennessee, and he’s been on fire, as he is currently second in the league in rushing with 756 yards. Murray is a little banged up presently, but reports are he should play on Sunday. The Chargers have stopped the run effectively this season, but will have one of the biggest tests of the year with the more than capable DeMarco Murray running the ball.
2. The Offensive Tackles
Murray’s success can be somewhat attributed to the level of play of his two offensive tackles, Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin. Both of them are first-round picks, and though they’re not great pass blockers, they’re both maulers in the running game. They constantly open up holes for Murray, and the Chargers will have their work cut out for them. If Denzel Perryman and Jatavis Brown both miss from the middle linebacking corp, then it could be a long day for Chargers fans. Brandon Mebane will be counted on heavily to slow down Murray and redirect him to the outside of the line.
I know he’s still developing, but Mariota, in his second season, has shown enough poise to give the Tennessee Titans hope for the future. Mariota played in a spread offense in college at Oregon, so he’s still getting used to a pro-style offense. Having a reliable running game has gone a long way into developing this young QB. The Chargers must stop Murray on early downs and force Mariota to beat them in third-an- long situations. Joey Bosa will be pressuring Mariota, that you can be sure of.
Some guys keep getting chance after chance to show everyone just how bad they are as a head coach. Mularkey is a great guy, and his players love him, but he’s not the guy you want to lead your franchise. Tennessee’s success this season can be traced to their weak schedule. Make no mistake, as bad as Mike McCoy can be, he’s not as bad as Mularkey. Questionable play calling and an inability to motivate his players are areas that are suspect when it comes to Mularkey.
2. The WR position
Every young quarterback needs targets to throw to downfield. Mariota is stuck with guys like Tajae Sharpe, Kendall Wright, and Rishard Matthews as his receivers. Safe to say those are not the targets you want your franchise QB to grow old with. The team needs help in this area, and the Chargers will have no difficulty containing this group on Sunday. Stopping Murray will be the focus of the day.
3. The Secondary
The Titans have neglected their secondary for way too long. The unit features guys like Jason McCourty and Perrish Cox in the backfield. Last week, even Blake Bortles had a decent game against them. That should tell you all you need to know about this unit. Philip Rivers will have the opportunity to throw the ball, and Tyrell Williams and Dontrelle Inman should both have good games.
So there you have it. In my mind, San Diego should dominate this game. The only way the Titans can steal this game is by shortening the game by running Murray and Derrick Henry all day. The Chargers should be ready to contain Tennessee’s talented RBs and force Mariota to beat them with his arm. This approach should enable the Chargers to let loose Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. If this happens, the Bolts will be 4-5 by Sunday Night.
I am a lawyer that loves everything San Diego!