Titans Week One, the day after
The day after every game, the NFL releases snap count data and the Titans head coach, Mike Mularkey, has a press conference. It is my opinion of the facts, so please make a note of the difference there. It’s customary to second guess the coach here. It’s what happens and is somewhat inevitable with these stats. If I were to think the Titans should hire a new coach, I would say so. I’m not saying that at all. Go easy here guys. It’s just an article once a week that is meant to be critical. I won’t write this “preamble” each week. I only do it once per year.
Let’s get to it:
During today’s presser, Mularkey was asked: What has Daquan Jones has done to get more snaps at nose tackle? Mularkey explained that he can be disruptive, very good against the run, holds the point, and played pretty well. He also complimented Jones as a pass rusher. When asked if Jones would slide outside. Mularkey replied, “No.” After the coach explained that they were aware of the Raiders empty sets, he said, “he (Jones) will be in there(NT) more.” So Mularkey went from declaring him the nose tackle to saying ‘in there more.’
After stating yesterday that they prefer Logan Ryan over the slot wide receiver, we have two positional updates.
Johnathan Cyprien’s hamstring injury will put him out a few weeks. Tye Smith broke his hand. There has been no designation on Smith yet. LeShaun Sims is expected to play in week two.
Mularkey stated that Searcy would be moved up(to starter) to replace Cyprien. He also said they were fortunate to have depth. Kalan Reed and Curtis Riley are cornerback safety hybrids that could fill in for Smith or Cyprien.
Cyprien did not play well as a free safety outfielder-type. The Titans needed to address this anyway. Last year’s starter, Rashad Johnson, is still an available free agent. Denzel Johnson played the outfielder role well in three of four preseason games. He could be activated. To activate or sign a player, the team must release another. Unless they place Cyprien on injured reserve, a move would cost someone a roster spot.
The offensive line and Marcus Mariota played every snap as they often do. Eric Decker had more snaps than any receiver with 60 of 64. DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry were roughly a 66-33 percent split.
Yesterday, Coach Mularkey stated how Corey Davis played more than expected. He backtracked on that today saying, “No, I don’t think so.”
Taywan Taylor was a “victim” of the packages. Mularkey stated that he played pretty well, he just wasn’t in those packages. Taylor has a smallish frame. If the Titans are going to run that odd set with the wide receivers next to the tight end, that’s not really Taylor’s strength. Taylor needs to move around be outside or in the slot like a traditional wide receiver where he can utilize his speed.
Above, I added a red box around this tight grouped formation area. I only see Davis running four routes lined out like a traditional wide receiver.
Matt Harmon of NFL.com tweeted that the Titans used a three wide receiver set on 76 percent of their snaps. Phillip Supernaw was the second starting tight end. He only had nine snaps. They usually use two or three tight ends as their base offense. The Titans haven’t done this since before Ken Whisenhunt, so their offensive packages were a complete surprise and quite different.
Fullback Jalston Fowler only had three snaps but Mularkey said, “That position is about as important a position on our football team as there is.”
I imagine Titans fans should probably expect more common formations next week.
Jayon Brown is a player that “got me” this week. He’s only listed as being on the field for 56 percent of snaps, yet he seemed to be on the field most of the game.
Five snaps for Aaron Wallace did not fit his playing time, his rest he was given, nor a single Mularkey quote from this offseason. That was especially odd.
If you add up the snaps of the defensive linemen, the total comes to 130. The Titans play a 3-4 set and played 66 snaps on defense. Those would multiply to be 198 snaps. I am “reading into” that as 66 snaps where linebackers were on the line of scrimmage or there were less than three defensive linemen at the line of scrimmage.
Sylvester Williams makes $7 million this year. He played 14 snaps yesterday.
Eric Weems played 43 percent of special teams snaps. Brynden Trawick played 83 percent of them. Daren Bates played 63 percent of special teams snaps. This usage does not appear to meet the expectations. Since neither player actively plays defense or offense, the usage should be more toward 100 percent. The Titans spent a lot of money on these three players to ramp up their special teams play.