Can the Jaguars win on Sunday and pull off the sweep of the Titans on the road?
There is no need to explain how important the game today between the Jaguars and Titans is to fans of both teams. A win keeps whatever playoff hopes alive in both cities. A loss puts a big dent in any postseason celebrations.
The Jaguars are looking to sweep their AFC South rivals, which would give them their only two divisional wins this season. It won’t be easy as the offense has sputtered the previous two games and the defense has been less than mediocre at times.
How has your team changed since the Titans faced the Jaguars in Week 3? Has the change at quarterback made that big of a difference?
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here have been some big changes since Week 3. Left tackle Taylor Lewan, who was suspended the first four games of the season, is back, although his penalties have been a serious issue. Rookie right guard Nate Davis will be another big change, as he took over for fellow right guard Jamil Douglas in Week 4. Douglas was abysmal in Week 3, sporting a 12.4 pass-blocking grade by PFF. Both Lewan and Davis are definite upgrades over swing tackle Dennis Kelly and the aforementioned Douglas.
Aside from that, the biggest change has been at quarterback. Ryan Tannehill has proven to be better than Marcus Mariota in every way, leading to his 3-1 record as the Titans’ starter. Tannehill has shown superior pocket presence, arm strength, and accuracy to that of Mariota in his four starts. On top of those qualities, he’s been clutch, with three game-winning drives. Overall, this offense has been much improved from the earlier version that the Jags saw.
Who has surprised you the most this season in a positive way for Tennessee and why?
I think it’s a tie between Tannehill and defensive lineman DaQuan Jones. Jones wasn’t even a sure bet to start this season, and now he finds himself as the highest-graded player by Pro Football Focus on the Titans through 10 games. Tannehill, on the other hand, figured to be an improvement over Mariota, but I didn’t expect him to lift this team and play as well as he has. The Titans’ season would be over if not for Tannehill’s emergence.
Can Derrick Henry have the same kind of game against the Jaguars like he did last year in Tennessee?
Because of his elite big-play ability, [Derrick] Henry is capable of having blowup games on any given week. What’s even better for Henry and the Titans is that their run blocking has been improving every week and now Henry is finding room to run that he didn’t see earlier in the season. Fresh off a bye, I can definitely see him having another monster game against the Jags, especially given their struggles against the run this season.
What makes Mike Vrabel the right coach for this organization?
I think the jury is still out on [Mike] Vrabel. The fans have grown frustrated with him thanks to a lot of questionable calls on fourth downs and late in games. Putting the fans aside, I get the sense that the players love him, and that doesn’t surprise me because he seems like a really down-to-earth guy who knows how to deal with people.
That said, Vrabel has got to get this team to the playoffs if the fans are going to have renewed faith in him moving forward.
The Titans win on Sunday if…
Derrick Henry gets the ball early and often. The Titans have made the mistake of ignoring him early in some games this season, and that simply cannot happen this week, or any week, for that matter.
Give Henry the rock 20-plus times and let him take the game over in the second half against a tiring defense. He is the focal point of Tennessee’s offense and if he can get going, the Titans will be a tough team to beat most weeks when they can control the clock and keep their defense rested.