Despite changes, Titans' offensive struggles all too familiar

Monday, September 12, 2011 at 10:38pm

So many changes. So little difference.

Even with a new head coach, a new coordinator and a new quarterback, the Tennessee Titans offense was plagued by familiar issues in Sunday’s season-opening 16-14 loss to Jacksonville.

Roughly 24 hours later, the talk centered on a lack of rhythm. In particular, inefficiency on first down limited subsequent opportunities for running back Chris Johnson and created third-down situations that were difficult to convert.

“We had a bunch of games last year that happened the same way,” left tackle Michael Roos said Monday afternoon. “It [was] tough to get a rhythm and get things going.”

Prior to Monday night’s games, only the Minnesota Vikings (with 43) had run fewer offensive plays than the Titans (49) during the opening weekend of play. Tennessee’s time of possession (20:22) was last among the 28 teams that had completed their openers, as was the number of rushing attempts (13).

“On offense when you only play [49] snaps … there is very little room for error and usually the reason you are having [49] snaps is there is a lot going on in the game,” coach Mike Munchak said. “And with [the Jaguars] having success of moving the ball and controlling the clock we had to really do something early in that game and we didn’t. So that made it hard to get the run game going.”

Johnson was held to fewer than 10 carries (nine, to be exact) for just the third time in his career.

Predictably, the Titans are 0-3 in those games. In fact, they have lost 12 straight in which Johnson has run the ball 17 times or fewer — a streak that dates back to the final game of his rookie season.

“I was hoping that just in this game alone he would get 15 to 18 carries,” Munchak said. “…You are going to want a guy that can make a play at any time to touch it as much as you can.”

Johnson carried it once each for no gain on each of the first two possessions, both of which were three-and-outs. Three other three-and-outs followed and seven of the first nine possessions ended with punts.

Jacksonville, on the other hand, had four drives of more than 10 plays and had 10 points before it punted for the first time.

The Jaguars also converted half of their 18 third-down opportunities whereas the Titans were just 4-for-11 (36.3 percent) on third down.

Tennessee’s third-down success rate last fall was 34.8 percent and its average time of possession (25:54) was last in the NFL.

“They came out at home and we punted the ball right back to them at three-and-out, they had some momentum and they went ahead and made some plays,” Munchak said. “…They had seven third-and-ones in the game. We stopped them on one down by the goal line. Also they fumbled once, but that’s a high number.

“We knew that going in that that’s kind of their deal, and if we don’t score points on offense that’s what they are able to do to teams.”

In other words, it was the same old Jaguars. The same was true of the Titans.


• Safety Chris Hope (shoulder), defensive end William Hayes (shoulder) and wide receiver Damian Williams (hamstring) were injured in Sunday’s game. None was considered serious but all three players underwent MRIs on Monday to determine the exact nature of their ailments.

Of those that did not dress because of injury — defensive end Derrick Morgan (knee), defensive end Jason Jones (knee) and running back Javon Ringer (back) — Ringer is the least likely to return to action this week.

20 Comments on this post:

By: T-BONE on 9/13/11 at 5:18

The fans (fanatics), the obese freedom fries tatter eaten ones in circus tent size "titans jerseys" say...

Give me a break! It's time for these overpaid mercenaries, with no loyalty to anyone but their bank accounts and bail bondmens to "pony up"! These "wussy" football players need to start putting on a real show! They are our "Gladiators'' right; Well then, let the show begin! First of all take off the "wussy" helmets and "padding" (I thought only women wore "pads"). We want to see some skulls cracked open, some brains leaking out, eyeballs popped out of the head, some spurting blood, dead bodies piled on the side lines! Come on "wussy boys" we want something more for our millions of dollars!

By: serr8d on 9/13/11 at 5:53

T-Bone, you need one I think. Implanted somewhere. Hop on it.

As far as our offensive struggles, could we expect any more from Chris Johnson? He did lay out and missed training camp. This outcome is as easily predictable as sunrise.

Doesn't get any easier Sunday, when the red-hot Ravens visit. They just came off a pounding of their top rival, the highly vaunted Pittsburgh Steelers, in a rout that made Pittsburgh seem as impotent as T-Bone.

This might not be a good thing getting ready to happen next Sunday.

CJ, you needs get up to speed very quickly. It's time to see if you are worth your contract, or not.

By: fdanshep on 9/13/11 at 6:04

I have never had a man crush on Chris Johnson and believe that his yardage will continue to diminish throughout the life of his contract. I do not believe he will gain 1,000 yards this year. No one disputes that once Johnson gets into the secondary he is a hard man to catch but he is spending too much time dancing in the backfield searching for the opportunity to go all the way. I would take a healthy Arian Foster of the Texans over him in a NY minute.

By: mayorofstcharles on 9/13/11 at 7:59

perhaps we should trade Hasselbeck for HE (Hasselbeck) is the epitome of mediocrity.

By: TITAN1 on 9/13/11 at 8:51

One game and some are running around saying the sky is falling. The odds makers see it closer than those who are guaranteeing a blowout. 5 1/2 spread is not a blowout. But, that is why they play the game.

By: joe41 on 9/13/11 at 9:37

We just did not look good on offense at all. I am not throwing in the towel by any means but I would have expected a lot more from this group. We had and still have a great chance to win this division if we play half way decent.

By: TheHunter on 9/13/11 at 10:14

That's a 5.5 early HOME dog TITAN1, I would take that bet & bet the mortgage on the Ravens. If all our offense can muster is 14 points against Jacksonville WITH Chris Johnson, then how are we really going to fare against a Playoff Caliber Team, hint, The Titans aren't a playoff caliber team, we don't have a top 12 quarterback or a top 12 defense, nor do we have a bruiser to get us those tough yards (he's in Tampa btw)

By: jwk6179 on 9/13/11 at 10:20

But if the Titans had won on Sunday, you would then have a lot of people running around stating that the Titans ARE THE DOMINATE TEAM in the AFC South and George Plaster on the air telling fans to purchase Play-Off tickets. After ONE GAME.

By: tn.native on 9/13/11 at 10:33

What the Ravens did to the Steelers tells you something about the team coming in on Sunday. It could be a very long afternoon if we played like we did in Jacksonville. I think that Munch wants to win games but he is going to have to start playing JL if he is the future QB of the team. It will take at least a season to bring a new quarterback into the mix and get this team in sync. Week 3 and 4 might be our best shot at a win. It's going to take a lot of dings to wear some of this newness off to get to the bone of who the play makers are going to be. The Ravens will try and bottle up CJ and that will require some success throwing down field. We won't beat the Ravens with field goals.

By: TITAN1 on 9/13/11 at 11:36

jw, why does someone who is a packer fan that lives here in middle Tennessee care about what we Titans fans here in Titan country say about our Titans?

By: TITAN1 on 9/13/11 at 11:41

Hunter, the rat birds could blow us out, but I'm thinking it will be a close game. Many times a line comes out and people can't believe it, then it turns out to be very accurate. As I said, we could get blown out, but I think it will come down to the wire. I think Munch has what it takes and has a great staff. We have a lot of talent on the team and I think it will come together.

By: jwk6179 on 9/13/11 at 1:13

jw, why does someone who is a packer fan that lives here in middle Tennessee care about what we Titans fans here in Titan country say about our Titans?

Because I live here and I half to listen to OBNOXIOUS TITAN FANS like you brag about the Titans DOMINATION and SUPERIORITY ever time they get lucky and eke out a victory on a FLUKE PLAY. Yet, if they lose a game, you and your ilk will get up there and say "It's only one game"!

Yesterday, you posted about me being a Packers Fan and a Raiders Fan. I HAVE NEVER MENTIONED THE OAKLAND RAIDERS ON THIS BOARD OR ANT OTHER BOARD. Where did you get this BS from about me supporting the Raiders?

By: TITAN1 on 9/13/11 at 1:26

jw, are you saying you are not a raiders fan as well as a packers fan?

By: TITAN1 on 9/13/11 at 1:37

Oh, and who said the Titans dominate and are superior? Do you have voices in your head? Oh yeah, GO TITANS and GO BRAVES!!

By: jwk6179 on 9/13/11 at 1:38

I have NEVER SAID I was a RAIDERS FAN on HERE or anywhere else. I have stated on here that I am a PACKERS FAN, but I've NEVER STATED ANYTHING ABOUT THE OAKLAND RAIDERS ON ANY WEBSITE OR ON HERE. YOU SEEM TO KNOW A LOT ABOUT ME, MY NAME, WHO I SUPPORT,etc. Just how did you get this information?

By: d4deli on 9/13/11 at 2:23

You can only be a successful team if you work together as a team. When you throw a bunch of guys together and they haven't been together long--even adding someone later after the others have had an opportunity to come together in training camp will throw off a team. You will see the rhythm and the response on the field, when these guys become a team. Just because your name is on the roster doesn't make you a team. I too, was unimpressed by this recent game. Hope springs eternal....

By: richgoose on 9/13/11 at 4:52

I have always wondered what kind of menial job TITAN1 has? If he were an animal I would guess that he was a lemming.

By: TITAN1 on 9/13/11 at 5:34

jw, I really believe you are an alright guy. I know you mean well and like to stir it up about the Titans. Heck, I would probably do the same if I lived in another state away from my favorite team. There are many fans here that kept pulling for their favorite team after the Titans came to town. My neighbor is a die hard Steelers fan and is in our fantasy football leagues.

By: TITAN1 on 9/13/11 at 5:36

richgoose, I probably should be offended, but considering the source, I'm really not.

By: serr8d on 9/13/11 at 6:07

At least, when Titans fans start booing Hasselbeck and shouting for Jake Locker, we won't embarrass ourselves like the Broncos fans did last night; booing Kyle Orton and crying out for TEBOW!.

Jake Locker has a better throwing arm than Tebow, and might succeed in the NFL were Tebow is likely doomed to failure.

Yes, if it's already naasty by halftime, best put in Locker and start getting him forged. Hasselbeck isn't, and won't ever be, a Titans star.