Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bobbles, Blunders and Blocks, Oh My! - Sharona's Shots on Offense - Titans -vs- Jags

The 4 and 6 Titans, coming off a bye week after a tremendous win in Miami, traveled to Jacksonville to face the 1 and 9 Jacksonville Jaguars. The Titans hoped to carry the momentum from a great team victory in Miama through the bye and into week 12 but unfortunately it didn't happen as the Titans fell to the 1 win Jaguars 19 to 24. Despite being overall more productive on offense, the Titans inexplicably only managed to score 19 points.

The stats are troubling at best as the Titans outgained the Jaguars in every category except points:

1st Downs
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from Penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays
Total Yards
Yards per play
Total Drives
Comp - Att
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks - Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs

On Monday after the loss, head coach Mike Munchak announced the team's offensive coordinator, Chris Palmer, was being relieved of duties and being replaced with quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains. It is rumored this change had been contemplated prior to the Jaguars loss and it wouldn't be surprising. Despite being loaded with talent, the offense has underformed for the better part of the year and the playcalling has been headscratching at times. I do not believe Palmer is a scapegoat I think his offense wasn't very good and his players did not respond well to it. It has widely been reported there was a disconnect between Palmer and his players. 

Loggains is regarded as a bright guy who has been around football pretty much his entire life. He played football at Arkansas, was hired as a scout in Dallas by Sean Payton, and joined the Titans in 2006 as a coaching administrative assistant. He became quarterback coach in 2010. Vince Young, Kerry Collins and Matt Hasselbeck have all blossomed under him and he is respected by the players. He also assisted offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger in calling plays when he became sick with cancer. Despite that there is no one on the staff with any significant playcalling experience and the Titans added Tom Moore, a longtime offensive coach in the NFL, to the roster today. 

So how did the offense fail to produce points? In summary, there were some well let's just say interesting  calls at significant times, players bobbled passes, failed to do their job blocking, and blunders players and officials alike. Let's dive in and take a look.

In my opinion, Jake Locker had a nice game. His numbers really do not reflect how well he played. He finished the 23 of 44 for 261 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, and 1 sack. His first interception was a tipped pass and the second interception was a prayer pass at the end and I find it impossible to blame him too much for either. 

The Titans used the shotgun formation only 11 times in the first half, and only twice in the first quarter. They used it 22 times and additionally went no huddle a lot, in the second half.  This is completely opposite to what they did in the Miami game, and what was successful in the Miami game. Furthermore, the Titans only rolled Locker out right, a play that was wildly successful in Miami, a couple of times. Inconceivable!

Locker threw some really nice passes in this game including this nice pass to Damien Williams. More on that guy later. He was also victimized by some bobbles and drops from his wide receivers and tight end Jared Cook. More on that later too. I only saw Locker throw a couple of bad passes and he was under pressure.

Nate has to catch this pass.
He also has to get possession of this ball and keep his feet inbounds.

Speaking of Damien Williams, I have been intending to mention that guy before and it just hasn't made it into the blog but for the past few games he has made a play that makes me think "hey that guy should play more." Williams played 26 of 73 snaps, was targeted 4 times and had two credited receptions for 46 yards with a 4 yard YAC. However, this touchdown pass from Locker to Williams should have counted if not for a dreadful blunder by the officials and insufficient camera angles at the stadium.

 This was another nice catch by Williams.

Finally, while I didn't screen shot it, Kenny Britt has at least one downfield block per game that is just a great play. I understand he is still recovering his ACL but that is impressive. So was this touchdown pass by Locker and catch by Britt.

File this under blunder too and put it where you may but the Titans also failed to put points on the board when the longest drive of the game, a 12 play 63 yard drive that ended in a missed Rob Bironas field goal.

After averaging 117 yards per game since week 4, Chris Johnson had 21 rushes for 80 yards for a 3.8 yards per carry. He also added a nice pass over the middle in space that went for 22 yards. He had some nice runs including this 31 yard gain in the 4th quarter that set up a Rob Bironas field goal.

He also had some plays that went for negative yards, some only losing a yard or two. At times he does see daylight and tend not to follow his blockers but it is hard to blame him on those runs.

Speaking of more blunders, there were missed blocks that led CJ to lose 1 or 2 yards on a couple of occasions as well.

The biggest blocking blunder(s) of all occurred at the end of the third quarter where virtually every Titan missed a blocking assignment. You may feel free to view the following images with the theme from Benny Hill playing in your head.


Speaking of missed blocks, Jared Cook has slipped in his blocking and generally has just slipped overall in his play. More on that later too.

 This missed block caused CJ to lose yards.

You can file this under blunder too and I blame this entirely on Chris Palmer but on the Jake Locker snap, we had no one helping out on the line and Locker gets slammed from his blind side. I do think Reynaud should have been the guy to try and pick up the blitz.

File this under another Palmer blunder as well because this play just took way to long to develop, was called on 1st and 15, and didn't go anywhere.

I like Jared Cook I really do and I think he could be a great tight end and create a lot of havoc but he is simply too inconsistent. He also let Aaron Ross push him back on a reception in this game and it cost the Titans a 4 or 5 yard gain and ended up being a 1 yard loss. He played 47 of 73 snaps, was targeted 8 times, had 6 catches, 1 drop, 1 target leading to an interception, a YAC/rec of 3.8 and had 47 yards receiving. The mismatch you expect particularly against the worst defense in the league just didn't materialize.

Another area of concern I have with Cook is that at times he seems to run the same or similar routes to other receivers and end up in the same area as other receivers. Just an observation.

By contrast, Taylor Thompson played12 snaps.

Enough of the bad, let's end this shindig on a high note. The good news is that Kendall Wright has turned into the Titans most dependable and perhaps complete wide receiver. Locker throws to Wright, who puts a move on the defensive back, spins and gains extra yardage. Pretty.

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