Titans fall to Jaguars, continue to flounder

Sunday, October 4, 2009 at 5:34pm

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A favorite catch phrase around the NFL these days says, “It is what it is.”

And so it is, with the Tennessee Titans who are still a winless team four games into 2009, and finding many more questions than answers after Sunday’s 37-17 trouncing courtesy of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In the first three games, the alibis were that little things were preventing the Titans from winning games – an offensive mistake here, a blown defensive assignment there and the usual special teams blunders thrown in randomly – in three close losses.

But in Sunday’s embarrassment, the Titans were exposed as an 0-4 team heading deeper into the bottom of the AFC South standings. With the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots up in the next two weeks, the Tennessee’s fortunes don’t appear to be improving.

“There’s got to be an attitude change in that guys have got to get the job done,” center Kevin Mawae said. “You can’t just walk out there and throw your helmet on the field and say, ‘We went 13-3 last year. We’re the baddest dudes in town.’ Because right now, we’re 0-4 and our record shows we’re one of the worst teams in the league right now.”

There is plenty of responsibility to go around with the Titans, who spotted the Jaguars a quick 10-0 first-quarter lead and were essentially out of the running by halftime, trailing 27-3.

“We need more out of everybody. We need more out of me,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. “We all need to come back to work. And everybody needs to do a little better job.”

The problems were everywhere for the Titans Sunday. For the second straight week, Tennessee dug itself an early hole, giving up Josh Scobee’s 22-yard field goal on the opening drive, then a 9-yard touchdown run to Maurice Jones-Drew.

That touchdown drive was set up on a short field after 34-yard punt return from Jacksonville’s Mike Thomas put the Jags in business at the Titans’ 35. It was indicative of what was to come for the Titans, as Jacksonville began seven different possessions in Tennessee territory.

“When we lose close games, it comes down to one play here or one play there. Today, it was a lot of plays,” defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. “We need to get serious about this and fix this thing quickly. You can only say we’re a good team for so long. We’re 0-4. We’ve got the worst record in the league. Until we step up and win a game, we’re not a good team.”

The breakdowns were everywhere on defense as the game quickly spiraled downward for the Titans. The pass rush managed just two sacks – both after the outcome was largely decided. And for the third time in four games, the secondary was shredded for 300-plus yards. This time, it was the previously struggling David Garrard that torched the Titans with three-step drops. Garrard hit 13 of his first 15 passes on the way to a 27 of 37 day for 323 yards and three touchdowns.

Garrard guided Jacksonville to a 20-3 lead after Josh Scobee 50-yard field goal with 3:21 to play in the half. But after Chris Johnson lost a fumble to Reggie Nelson on the Titans next drive, the Jaguars cashed in again, going 41 yards in six plays with Garrard finding Mike Sims-Walker from 15 yards out against Jason McCourty in a touchdown originally called incomplete that replay reversed for a score and an insurmountable 27-3 halftime edge.

The Titans spent most of the second half trying to play catch-up, getting a pair of consolation touchdowns on Kerry Collins’ 14-yard TD toss to Nate Washington and a 10-yard scramble for a score from Collins with 5:28 to play, cutting the lead to 30-17.

But the Jaguars wasted no time showing who was in control on Sunday, as Garrard converted a third-and-3 play into a 33-yard touchdown toss to Marcedes Lewis, completing the thrashing of the Titans.

Collins’ final numbers were decent – 29 of 48 for 284 yards with one TD – but two interceptions hurt, and all but 61 yards came in the second half with the game already out of hand.

When it was over, a team that began the year with high expectations, suddenly has seemingly been left with low self-esteem in trying to figure out where the 2009 season has gotten off track.

“We have things we need to work on that have been adding up. It’s been accumulating on us. Teams see the bad stuff that we do,” defensive end Jevon Kearse said. “The Colts are going to watch all four games we’ve played and they’re gonna see what people are doing that’s hurting us, and they’re going to do the same thing. We’ve just got to do a good job of correcting those things, which we haven’t been doing the last couple of weeks.”

Time is now running short for the Titans to try and find an answer in time to salvage any respectability from what they thought was going to be a potential Super Bowl run.

Sunday’s loss gives the Titans their worst start since the 0-5 beginning in 2006. But that was a team with little to no expectations that managed to finish 8-8. A different circumstance than this year’s team that returned 20 of 22 starters from a 13-3 squad of a year ago.

“We started 0-5 and now we’re 0-4. Hell, when you start of 0-and-whatever, it’s a bad situation,” Mawae said. “I’m not going to compare that to this year or any other year I’ve played. This is 2009, and right now, the 2009 Tennessee Titans aren’t getting the job done.”

And at 0-4, it is what it is.

 

17 Comments on this post:

By: frank brown on 10/4/09 at 6:58

Is there any possibility that the cause of the Titans problems are that they have been scrimmaging Vanderbilt? I can see how this team could easily be 3 and 13 but the real mystery is how did this bunch go 13 and 3? Who left other than Swartz and Haynesworth?

TODAY, OCTOBER 4,2009 was a day of infamy for the state of Tennessee and the city of Nashville.

By: wolfy on 10/4/09 at 8:12

Frank, as always, thanks for offering anything other than real constructive criticism. And once again for opening your mouth and removing all doubt.

Kerry appears to have lost all confidence. He throws off of his back foot and looks lost most of the time. This team has a fragile ego that looks for bad things to happen. I think their problems are from the neck up..They go from losing 3 games a combined total of 13 points to getting blown out by a middle off the road AFC team.This shows you theres a fine line in the NFL.

By: frank brown on 10/5/09 at 7:08

Wolfy

Remember this article early on stated "It is what it is" A disaster and not worthy of constructive criticism.

By: blktenn on 10/5/09 at 7:37

Kerry is NOT the reason WHY the titans are losing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1. The water boy or girls are not the reason WHY the titans are losing.
2. The announcers are not the reason WHY the titans are losing.
3. The metro Police departments are not the reason WHY the titans are losing.
GET MY POINT????????
What is KERRY Doing to help the titans win???? NOTHING
Tennessee fans do not want a black Quarter back!!!
Steve Mcnair went through all types of racism, including threading his life. Ask Frank Wycheck.
Many of you say it does not matter that VY is black. If he Kerry’s back up was white many, many titan fans would be screaming for a change.
Why you ask is the team not motivated? Jeff Fisher has to answerer for that.

By: gid on 10/5/09 at 7:55

blktenn
You are a racist

By: blktenn on 10/5/09 at 7:56

GID you mamma is

By: frank brown on 10/5/09 at 8:17

blktenn

I am with you. They need to play Vince Young so that if he does have a career left this team will destroy it. You really do not want this fragile young man to take the field with the light armor he has surrounding him do you?

By: dargent7 on 10/5/09 at 9:23

This "board" has gone off the deep end. Tenn. doesn't want a black QB? I never thought of it that way before, but I think Fisher should of put Young in at least by the 3rd QTR. Collins was throwing the ball well until 3rd and long. Then INTERCEPTION time. Fisher has a tendency to coddle his players and take time, but the clock's runnin'. Unless Manning gets arrested for 2 DUI's between now and Sunday, Indy will kill us.

By: TITAN1 on 10/5/09 at 9:47

While the playoffs are still possible, they are obviously not probable. As everyone knows I am a big fan of coach Fisher, however, if he does not start VY against the Colts I have lost a lot of confidence in him. I am not saying Kerry is the only problem or that we would start winning with VY, but confidence starts with the QB. If the QB is confident and playing well it spreads to the other players. I hope he will make VY the starter the rest of the year to sink or swim. At the end of the season if he has played like the player we drafted, then the future looks bright with him as our QB. If not, then trade him or cut before next season and try to get Brady Quinn from Cleveland or get one in the draft. Our secondary? Now that is a different story. Just my 2 cents.

By: tytanz27 on 10/5/09 at 10:05

I am absolutely speechless about the start of the season. I wasn't naive enough to think that another 13-3 season was in the offering,but, I certainly did not see this coming. The reasons for the awful start are long and numerous. The question is where do we go form here? I say start VY . Not because he is blk. But, because he is supposedly the teams future. Bud Adams said so. He should start so we can see if it is going to work with him after all the bs. of last year. If he isn't going to work out, we need to be looking at that position near the top of the draft. Because, thats clearly where we are headed.

By: Alphadog7 on 10/5/09 at 10:30

Wow, surprised to see such race-baiting on these boards. Collins is the reason they aren't losing worse. He is putting up good numbers despite despite the lack of help from his team. Anyone who watched VY in preseason can see that he is inconsistent at best. Lots of physical talent, but he is not ready to go. A change in QB would be a disaster when QB is clearly not the problem.

By: gdiafante on 10/5/09 at 10:43

Fisher's a terrible coach, he just happens to have a 13-3 season every once in a while to keep his job. They could go winless this year and he will still be the coach.

I hope they do start VY, because it can get worse, and I do love to see a good trainwreck.

4 games behind the Colts and Manning is lights out this year. Turn out the lights...the party's over...

By: Cowboy84 on 10/5/09 at 11:32

No one saw this coming and that seems to be the biggest problem. The players and coaches have no idea how to deal with a season that is all but over. Fisher keeps talking about plays that could have been made and how that could have changed things, or we're better than our record.
At this point no idea for trying to malke something out of the season should be off the table. Start VY? sure. How about giving LenDale the ball some instead of hoping for the big play with CJ? VY on the field with KC? What's there to lose, it might give VY some confidence that the coaches still think he can help this team win.
None of those sound crazier than the Titans being 0-4.

By: wayneCaluger on 10/5/09 at 11:37

I see our one solution dumb as ever fix all Vince Young fan is back. There is no one solution fix to this problem and if it is it’s certainly not changing the quarter back until you can stop the defensive hemorrhaging. We have the same team that went 13-0 last year except Albert Haynesworth and Jim Schwartz as our Defensive Coordinator. Yes, Albert finally had a great year, but there years Albert was either hurt or suspended for six games and the Titans won without him and many were the result of a great defensive effort.

To hang all the problems on the offensive primarily Collins is about as dumb as it gets. Currently the Titans leads the cellar dwellers in points scored (75) or roughly 19 points a game compared to the Rams at 24 points over 4 games. On the other side of the ball our defense has allowed 108 points or giving up an average of 27 points per game. In three out of the four losing games the defense has given up over 300 passing yards against rookie and virtual no name quarterbacks. We don’t have a Payton Manning or a group of receivers that can win a shootout. When you score 31 points against Houston and you still can’t win, inserting Vince is not the answer.

In my opinion if there is a one solution start with coaching and while Fisher is suspect one with decisions he has made, “anyone can return punts and kickoff’s” so let’s not re-sign Chris Carr and let our only experienced punt and kickoff man go this year the biggest money saving decision was replacing Jim Schwartz with Chuck Ceil. When Schwartz took the job at Detroit he didn’t go barging basement shopping for a rookie Defensive Coordinator he went after a seasoned veteran Günter Cunningham for his Defensive Coordinator.

He wasn’t like Fisher didn’t have other options. Gregg Williams a 19 year veteran with three years of head coaching experience was waiting by the phone finally getting a call from the Saints and what a job he has done as their Defensive Coordinator. Why Cecil whose only claim to fames was that of a the NFL most Vicious hitters during his 4 year stint with the Packers ending his career with the Oilers two years later.

Ceil has zero prior coaching experience spending his first three years with the Oilers/Titans as “Defensive Quality Control Assistant, meaning he watched and analyzed game day footage before being promoted to work with (not coach) safeties and defensive backs. Two years ago he was promoted to work under Schwartz as the defensive back coach. So we have a guy with virtually no head or defensive coordinator experience at any level in charge of a defense calling defensive plays, alignments and coverage assignments/plays if a zone that has been successful in turning a three All-Pro defensive backfield into the Keystone cops.

In my opinion Fisher needs to be on the phone begging Buddy Ryan out of retirement had have him or someone of his caliber lined up going into our bye week. In the meantime Fisher should tell Ceil to keep the defensive line starters on the field and ditch platoon starters with second and third level defensive linemen. I’m sure Buddy Ryan would tell his defensive starters, if you want off the field then stop them on three downs. If not the only way off is on a stretcher or special teams.

Once we have stopped second rate quarterbacks from trying to decide which open receiver to throw to (why run the ball) then and only then do we need to look at any offensive issues we have starting with same old cookie cutter Mike Heimerdinger offensive before someone snatches up two of the best Offensive Coordinators available, Mike Shanahan and Jon Gruden. Until we can muster a consistent run attack (Houston and their rookie defense is the lone exception) you are not going to have any sort of offensive threat no matter if you get Payton or whoever. There are times you have to move the ball on the ground and we cannot do that either and that’s primarily an offensive line issue.

By: jps13pat on 10/5/09 at 12:52

For those of you who think we still have a shot at the playoffs, sorry. An 0-4 team making the playoffs has happened once in the history of the NFL. I looked at the schedule after last week's game and thought we were going 8-8. Unfortunately, I tabbed Jacksonville as two wins, so right now we're looking at 7-9. Hate to be a downer, but "it is what it is."

I say we start VY after the Patriots game. If you put in VY, it's not because you think you're going to win more games. It will be because we need to figure out what kind of a qb he's going to be. Our defense is losing us the ball game. There's no sense throwing him to the wolves against the Colts or Patriots. If we can't stop the Texans or Jaguars, we won't stop the Colts or Patriots.

On a side note, I think Reinfeldt owes us a public apology for letting our best player leave while sitting on a pile of cash.

And on another side note, I would love to have Shanahan as offensive coordinator. It would be fun to see what he would do with Lendale and CJ.

By: wayneCaluger on 10/5/09 at 3:18

Jps13pat I don’t agree with you are the mass that we need to start VY to see what kind of quarterback he can be. He is not a rookie, but a four year “veteran NFL quarterback” and if anyone has not figured out his shortcoming by now, including some very serious pre-season rookie mistakes by now then what can I say! VY is not the first nor will he be the last great college player who just doesn’t have what it takes to make in the NFL. About half if not more of the Heisman winners are player I either never heard or don’t recall.

Even if we could get Shanahan or Gruden as our Offensive Coordinator they need quarterback and we don’t really have that. The main reason Norm Chow was brought in was to try and find an offensive scheme that would work with VY instead of getting a Shanahan or Gruden quality Offensive Coordinator who has to and must fit their offensive scheme. But atlas the NFL is not Division 1 College so by VY second year NFL teams had put together defensive schemes that VY couldn’t handle. Out goes Chow and great College offensive mind and may have been a great NFL offensive mind as well, but we will never know considering the hand he was dealt. Now Mike Heimerdinger like all NFL coaches, it’s my way or the highway—you either learn my offensive plays or you don’t play. VY cannot or at least better put refused to try and learn anything last season sitting in the background sulking will Chris Simms stood along Collins and Heimerdinger as they went over plays.

But for now lest fix what is broke the worse, that is the lack of any defense. If you listened closely to what Bulluck said, sic “We are executing the plays and assignments the coaches are calling, but they must be guessing wrong”.

In the meantime Heimerdinger needs to change the look of our backfield, perhaps inserting both CJ and Lindale changing one of these two out with Ringer. CJ with his speed gives you a wide receiver option, but could be a decoy with White and Ringer both a run threat. Hall is a good blocking back, but limited as an offensive threat. Surly White or Ringer can do a better job of blocking than CJ. As Heimerdinger now runs it its CJ all the way to the red zone running to the outside. Once in the red zone its White hitting a wall seldom finding a hole if there is one and he can cut fast enough. I was impressed with the cuts Ringer made in pre-season and the holes he found.

As for Seinfeld he is a major improvement over Floyd Resse. So far his draft picks are winners and it appears most like CJ, Finnegan, Britt, Ringer, Cook, Moulton naming a few has NFL potential. Very few of Floyd Resse picks are even around. As for Albert, no defensive and with one or two offensive exceptions are worth $100 million. While you can’t set on a pile of money you cannot blow it all on one player. Look what that $100 million has bought the 2-2 skins so far, a loss to Detroit and barely getting past the 0-4 Buc’s (16-13).

Lets fix the defense first and then tweak the offense

By: jps13pat on 10/7/09 at 12:17

Wayne - I agree with most of this. The defense is our biggest problem, and you are correct in saying that no player is worth $100 million. However, there were other DT's available this offseason who were affordable and much better than Javon Haye, a player who couldn't cut it on a terrible Tampa Bay team. Fisher got used to bringing in DT projects and having Schwartz turn them into Pro Bowlers. That's not happening with Chuck Cecil.

I also agree that Heimerdinger should play Lendale and CJ at the same time more often. Football is all about matchups, and that would be a matchup nightmare for any defense.

Furthermore, I agree the Reinfeldt is a better GM than Floyd Reese. His drafts are solid. I wouldn't say great, but they're solid. The problem with Reinfeldt is that he has one major flaw that Floyd Reese has, and that's player turnover. The great teams keep their best players. We shouldn't have paid Albert $100 million, but Reinfeldt should never have let it get to the point where another team could offer him that much.

Nevertheless, I will disagree with you on the following points. A good NFL coordinator will alter their game plan to fit their personnel. Yes, they will bring in players who fit a style of play that they prefer, but not all coordinators are privy to a team that is entirely to their liking. Norm Chow didn't get fired because of Vince Young. Norm was fired because he never adapted to this team or to the NFL style of play.

I'm also in contention with you regarding Vince Young. Yes, we all know VY's shortcomings, but despite those shortcomings, the kid has won ball games. I think everybody is up in arms about Vince because there's nobody to compare him to. He does not have the arm of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, or even Kerry Collins for that matter. But they don't have his legs. You've got to get a second look at Vince Young because you see his shortcomings. But you also see his win-loss record. After four years in the league, even the coaches haven't figured out what they've got with VY yet.