Behind Enemy Lines: Week 5 Q&A with Titans Wire

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The Jacksonville Jaguars will take the field for their second AFC South contest of 2021 as they will play host to the Tennessee Titans. They will also be looking to garner their first win of the season against a Titans team that won the division last season, which won’t be easy, especially with all the team went through this week.

As for Tennessee, they are coming off a rough week, too, after falling to the New York Jets by a score of 27-24. And while they may not need a win more than the Jags, they will come into Week 5 hungry like the Jags.

To get some more intel on the Titans heading into Sunday, we sat down with Titans Wire editor Mike Moraitis this week. Here are five questions on the organization that he was able to fill us in on:

By your eyes, what were the key factors of Tennessee’s loss to the Jets?

Ryan Griffin, of the New York Jets, tries to get away from Rashaan Evans, of the Tennessee Titans. Sunday, October 3, 2021 [The Record]

TW: It was two major issues, both of which have now blown up two games for Tennessee this season. First off, the offensive line did a terrible job in pass protection and allowed seven sacks, which helped derail the offense. Also, the secondary continues to allow big plays in the passing game. The Titans’ defense allowed a handful of 20-plus-yard passing plays to the Jets, including two of 50 yards or more. Tennessee has given up at least two 50-yard passing plays in two separate games in 2021.

The Titans injury report was pretty long, but they did have a lot of players return as full participants Thursday. Does the health situation of the team still concern you heading into Sunday, though?

Sep 23, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Taylor Lewan (77) defends the pass rush of Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Lerentee McCray (55) during the second half at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

TW: The biggest concerns are Julio Jones, Taylor Lewan, and Brett Kern, all of whom didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday. The Titans’ offense is struggling mightily, so not having one of its best receivers and left tackle would only make things worse, although Lewan has played poorly to start the year. Also, Kern’s absence was felt last week when Johnny Townsend shanked a punt, setting the Jets up with good field position. The good news for Tennessee is that it looks like the team will be getting some key players back in A.J. Brown and Bud Dupree, so there’s a light at the end of the very lengthy injury tunnel the Titans are in right now.

Obviously, the Titans’ biggest addition was receiver Julio Jones this offseason, but what other key moves were made to bolster the roster?

Tennessee Titans outside linebacker Bud Dupree (48) and Tennessee Titans linebacker Ola Adeniyi (92) celebrate their overtime win against the Seahawks at Lumen Field Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021 in Seattle, Wash. [ The Tennessean]

TW: The three biggest signings were all on the defensive side of the ball in Denico Autry, Bud Dupree, and Janoris Jenkins. While Autry has been as good as advertised, Dupree and Jenkins have been very disappointing. Dupree has missed two games after suffering a setback to his surgically-repaired knee and has yet to tally a sack, but it looks like he’ll be back in Week 6. Jenkins has been flat-out awful in coverage and a big reason why the Titans are giving up so many big plays.

After winning the division in 2020 and going to the AFC Championship in 2019, what are the expectations for Mike Vrabel and Co. this year and what do you believe happens if they aren’t met?

Sep 16, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel congratulates players after a defensive stop during the second half against the Houston Texans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

TW: It is a Super Bowl or bust kind of season for the Titans, especially after the addition of Jones, which showed this team is really going for it. Knowing that, the Titans have to at least make a deep playoff run if Vrabel wants to avoid the hot seat going into 2022. Granted, he has done some great things since taking over, but ultimately success in the NFL is measured by Super Bowls, and he’s not going to have much longer to achieve that goal with the Titans.

What are your predictions for Sunday’s game?

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) celebrates his team’s overtime win against the Seahawks at Lumen Field Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021 in Seattle, Wash. [The Tennessean]

TW: I think we see another big game from Derrick Henry, and the Titans’ offense gets back on track through the air. However, the Jags keep it close thanks to Tennessee’s suspect secondary in what will be Trevor Lawrence’s best game as a pro. Titans 31, Jaguars 27

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