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With AtoZSports Nashville reporting

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With AtoZSports Nashville reporting

Post by laiyongcai92 » Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:46 am

that Rishard Matthews is requesting to be released from the Titans after becoming unhappy with his role in the offense http://www.titansfootballauthentics.com ... -authentic , there are immediately a ton of questions. First, it should be noted that the Titans haven’t done anything official with Matthews just yet. My guess is that the team will look to see if they can get anything for him in a trade. Chances are teams aren’t exactly going to be leaping at the opportunity to give up valuable assets for a guy who was getting passed in the rotation by Taywan Taylor and promptly quit on his team because of it. Don’t expect much in return if the Titans do swing a deal. Also, the chances of them trading Matthews for another receiver are extremely slim. If a deal doesn’t materialize — I would be surprised if one did — then I would expect them to negotiate a settlement with Matthews on his contract and release him.The most important question coming out of this situation — at least to Titans fans — is how does the team replace him in the passing game? The answer to that depends somewhat on which Rishard Matthews you’re talking about. The guy from 2016 and most of 2017 who led all Titans receivers in yards and touchdowns or the guy from 2018 who somehow turned 95 offensive snaps in to just 6 targets, 3 catches, and 11 yards? The Matthews from early in his time in Tennessee was a reliable chain-mover who also offered a surprising amount of ability as a down field threat despite not having the speed of a true burner. He was an outstanding run blocker and willing to fight for a ball in traffic. However, the 2018 version of him has been nothing close to that level. Since returning from injury shortly before Week 1 kicked off, Matthews has looked slow and lethargic on the field. He’s struggled to create separation or put himself in position to be targeted more often. It’s not like No. 18 has just been running wide open and the quarterbacks haven’t been able to get him the ball. He’s had a defender stapled to his jersey pretty much every time he headed out on a pass route.Replacing that version of Matthews will be relatively easy for the Titans. In fact, it sounds like a possible reduction in his already limited snaps may have been the cause of his sudden departure. Looking back, there has been some smoke around this situation for a while now. First, there was the mystery injury — later revealed to be a torn meniscus — that held him out of OTAs and then pretty much all of training camp. Then there was the sudden firing of his agent and Matthews signing a strange team-friendly contract extension that he negotiated on his own. You also had the strange comments from Mike Vrabel when called out Matthews in the media for not practicing well enough. Vrabel followed that up this week when asked about Taywan Taylor’s increased role, saying that reps are distributed based production in games (and, to a lesser extent, practice). Reading between the lines, those comments very much seemed to hint at a bigger role for Taylor moving forward as he had clearly been the most productive wide receiver outside of Corey Davis. That could also be read as a slight at Matthews who has contributed virtually nothing despite a pretty significant share of snaps. My guess — and this is pure speculation, but it’s the most plausible scenario in my opinion — is that the Titans started installing the game plan for the Eagles game and Matthews wasn’t happy with his role in that plan, complained about it, and things escalated from there. However it went down http://www.titansfootballauthentics.com ... -authentic , the Titans must now find a way to create a dynamic passing offense without their two most reliable returning targets in Matthews and the injured Delanie Walker. If there was any doubt before — there shouldn’t have been — it’s been erased now. Corey Davis is the focal point of this Titans passing attack for the 2018 season. He was already leading the team in snaps, targets, catches, and yards by a landslide and that will continue moving forward, but all of those things were going to be true regardless of whether Matthews stuck around or not.Taylor, as I mentioned above, has easily been the most productive Tennessee receiver outside of Davis through three weeks and as a result his snap share has grown each week. He jumped from 13% in Week 1 to 41% in Week 2 to 52% (second highest on the team) in Week 3. It seems highly likely based on Vrabel’s comments that Taylor was the player who was squeezing Matthews out to begin with and with No. 18 taking himself completely out of the picture, that will only add more to Taylor’s plate. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing for the Titans either. He is clearly one of the most dynamic athletes on the team— as evidenced by the weaving touchdown run after catching a quick screen against Houston — and putting the ball in his hands more often is a good thing for this offense. Tajae Sharpe is the guy who was losing snaps as Taylor’s role grew over the last two weeks. He dropped from 84% snap share in Miami to 47% against Houston to 39% in Jacksonville. However, he figures to see his role bounce back to some extent in the wake of Matthews’ departure.The guy to really watch though, in my opinion, is Nick Williams. Matthews ran over 70% of his routes from the slot during the first three weeks according to PFF, compared to just 31% for Taylor, 24% for Davis, and 16% for Sharpe. While Matthews was out during preseason, the Titans were running Williams as the first team slot receiver when the team went to 11-personnel with Davis and Sharpe or Taylor lined up outside. Matt LaFleur told the Midday 180 guys during camp that he preferred having a dedicated slot receiver rather than rolling multiple guys through that spot and Williams now stands as the only “true” slot receiver on the Titans roster. There is a real chance that he gets some serious work at that spot. Darius Jennings has consistently been getting 6 or 7 snaps on offense in addition to his heavy lifting as a key special teams player. I don’t think he sees a whole lot more work on offense based on Matthews’ departure, but he’s just an injury away from possibly having a pretty significant role on the team now. Some will clamor for the Titans to bring in a veteran receiver, but I’m not expecting them to add one. I think it’s more likely that they bring back someone like Deontay Burnett or Cameron Batson who already knows the offense and can add depth to the group rather than shaking up the top of the depth chart even more.My guess is the snap distribution breaks down something like this:Davis 80-90%Taylor 60-70%Sharpe 40-50%Williams 40-50%Jennings <10%With Vrabel telling the media that Marcus Mariota will start and “have no restrictions” yesterday Youth Marcus Mariota Jersey , the time is now for the young wide receivers to start producing for the Titans. The Titans were one of three teams in the AFC South division to suffer an opening week loss.However, the loss in Miami was more excruciating due to the overall game length and the casualties accrued. Losing Delanie Walker late in the game was a shot to the heart. To lose a leader, an offense producing, tone-setting player like Walker for the season overshadowed everything else that transpired.Yes, Marcus Mariota was lost early with an injured arm and returned sooner than he should have. Yes, we can’t forget the visual of a lifeless Taylor Lewan on the field of Hard Rock Stadium. When the cornerstones of the team are all eliminated from the game - and one for the season - it is almost impossible to stomach. But - and it’s a HUGE but - despite the egregious penalties that went in favor of the Dolphins, despite being without our starting quarterback and left tackle for the remainder of the game and despite losing Walker for the year, the Titans aren’t out of the hunt yet. Although the game felt like it was lost by double-digits, the Dolphins narrowly won 27-20. Had Taywan Taylor held onto the ball, had Walker’s facemask not held a Dolphin defenders hand to negate a 60 touchdown run by Derrick Henry, had we took the points instead of going for it on fourth down inside the 10 yard line - the outcome would have been different.But, it happened how it happened. At the end of the day, there are specific plays we as fans would like to get back - but also a handful players/coaches would want back too.Elephant in the RoomThe home opener will likely lack some of the positive ambiance that was initially anticipated. The dark cloud of Walker’s injury will still be lingering Sunday morning.For HC Mike Vrabel, his work started on the plane ride back to Nashville. He undoubtedly knows how much Walker meant both on the field and in the locker room. Vrabel will have to find a way to address team with a genuine understanding as opposed to a calloused “next guy up” approach. It will be difficult, but is achievable. Vrabel and OC Matt LaFleur must also have a lengthy discussion with Jonnu Smith - who will have a drastically larger role in the offense moving forward. Smith, who has Delanie-traits, needs to figure out how to maximize his production in Walker’s absence. The Titans could reach out to some former players that are looking for employment. Anthony Fasano would be my preference Youth Rashaan Evans Jersey , but whether or not he is pursued is unknown.Once the team gets clarification on the severity of Mariota’s injury, the coaching staff will waste no time tailoring the game plan to the players they’ll have available Sunday needs to happen quick.Division Opponents Houston also suffered a seven-point loss to an AFC East team Sunday. The Texans had 167 yards on the ground led by RB Lamar Miller’s 98. Deshaun Watson had 40 and Alfred Blue had 36. The Titans defense struggled in containing Kenyon Drake and Frank Gore in Miami. The Texans will attempt to exploit the Titans run defense by feeding their backs and encouraging Watson to rely on his wheels when the opportunities arise. The secondary had their hands full with Kenny Stills - who accounted for two touchdowns and over 100 yards. Despite recording two interceptions, the secondary must prepare for covering receivers longer due to an ineffective pass rush. Speaking of the pass rush - the defense couldn’t need Harold Landry more. Landry’s youth, speed and bend was something that could have made a difference in the “almosts” sacks that were. At times, Titans defenders were not even in the same area code as Ryan Tannehill. If Still can have a day like he did, DeAndre Hopkins will be a headache. He has wreaked havoc in games against Tennessee and his notorious push-offs can be expected. Nevertheless, the Titans have to find a way to eliminate Hopkins.Will Fuller - who has also developed into a thorn in the Titans side - did not play against New England and is dealing with a hamstring injury. We’ve been down this road before. Fuller missed the first three games of the 2017 season, then was ready to go against the Titans in week four. He finished the game with two touchdowns. A year prior, he returned a punt for a touchdown that also impacted the end result. If Fuller is a no go Sunday, that helps the Titans chances. If he is miraculously healed, it could be a long day. The Titans have to be ready to take the best Houston has to offer. If Tennessee takes the field without both starting tackles, Mariota and (the obvious) Walker, the team must depend on the offensive line to do just enough to allow Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry space.Lewis and Henry (on the 60 yard touchdown) both looked like they can help carry the offense no matter who is under center. They may not have a choice.