From the AFC’s No. 1 seed to 0-2, the Tennessee Titans have lost three consecutive games dating back to last season’s Divisional Round tumble.
In troubling times, there are rumblings for change, but Titans head coach Mike Vrabel isn’t looking to make sweeping alterations at this point. In particular there has been a clamor among the fan base to move on from offensive coordinator Todd Downing, but Vrabel believes at least for now that past triumphs trump current tribulations.
“We have to understand who we are and what we believe in and what we’ve had success in in the past. This isn’t all of a sudden a time for wholesale changes,” Vrabel said Tuesday, via the Nashville Tennessean’s Ben Arthur. “This is about getting back to basics and what we believe in and what we’ve had success in and making sure that everybody sees it the same way that I do. I think we’re going to make sure that we’re doing less better. Instead of trying to do a whole bunch of stuff, we’re going to get back to doing things with fundamentals and technique and trying to make sure everybody understands the basics.”
The basics for the Titans offense have been Derrick Henry leading the way on the ground and Ryan Tannehill finding success off of that. So far this season, the Titans have been stuck in park, having scored but 27 points over two games and just seven in a Monday night lambasting at the hands of the Buffalo Bills.
Henry is averaging a modest 53.5 yards per game so far and only 3.1 yards per carry, while Tannehill, seemingly struggling to find chemistry with his wide receivers sans A.J. Brown, has averaged just 191.5 yards passing per game.
Tides must turn for the Titans’ offense in a hurry, but for now, Vrabel is hunkering down and supporting his staff rather than pointing fingers.
“I have confidence in our staff,” Vrabel said. “I have confidence in the guys that we put out there. We have to continue to coach and execute better.
“I appreciate everybody’s opinion, but I have to make sure that everybody here – players and coaches – are all aligned and I know that they are. That’s how you get things fixed and you win a game.”
Downing coming under fire is nothing novel in Nashville. Criticism was levied on Downing, who filled the OC absence left by Arthur Smith, last season when the Tannehill-led passing game waned and Tennessee’s offense fell flat in a 19-16 AFC Divisional Round loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Including the playoff loss, Tennessee has scored just five touchdowns over its last 12 quarters of football. Vrabel stood by Downing then and he’s doing so now, as he isn’t ready fire anybody at this juncture, stating it is “not something that’s going to happen right now.”
“No process that we’ve had has been good enough on offense, on defense or special teams,” Vrabel continued. “When you lose, we all could do more. Everybody has to come in here a little bit better with our approach.
“Now is not the time for self-preservation. This is the time for rallying around each other, getting with people that you believe in and people that you trust.”