Scout's Take: Minimizing Derrick Henry Failed The Titans in New Orleans

Scout's Take: Minimizing Derrick Henry Failed The Titans in New Orleans

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans are a veteran team with Ryan Tannehill, DeAndre Hopkins, Kevin Byard, Denico Autry, and Jeffrey Simmons standing out front, but the best veteran and most productive over his Titans' career, Derrick Henry, was off the field and on the sidelines for over half of the offensive snaps.

Sep 10, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) and running back Tyjae Spears (32) and running back Julius Chestnut (36) sit on the bench against the New Orleans Saints during the second half at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
   Derrick Henry between Julius Chestnut and Tyjae Spears/ © Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The identity of a Mike Vrabel team has been to play tough defense and tackle well, play ball-control offense and win both lines of scrimmage while controlling time of possession.

Without Henry, the team lost its identity in Week One.

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Ryan Tannehill Crushes Titans' Chances In Loss to Saints

Ryan Tannehill Crushes Titans' Chances In Loss to Saints

NEW ORLEANS – To say Sunday was a playoff-caliber performance from Ryan Tannehill is to under-appreciate his three-interception divisional playoff game performance against the Bengals on Jan. 22, 2022 and the 165-yard dud in the Titans’ loss to Baltimore that ended their 2020 season.

Sep 10, 2023; New Orleans, LA, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) is helped up after being sacked in the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Sports
  Ryan Tannehill gets a hand from Andre Diullard/ © Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee’s starting quarterback was a different level of awful Sunday against the Saints.

Poor decisions were everywhere, and while there was too much pressure around him he seemed to help create it for himself at times. Quarterbacks of winning teams find ways to make plays around and despite encroaching defenders, but Tannehill seemed flustered by them and unable to regain his regular calm though he said “I didn’t feel off.”

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PK TV: We reviewed Saints 16, Titans 15

Paul KuhasrskyNEW ORLEANS -- When's the last time we came away from a Titans game wondering if they should have used Derrick Henry more?

Sunday's 16-15 loss to the Saints qualifies as such a game. He had five second-half carries for 12 yards. But more carries would have meant fewer chances for Ryan Tannehill interceptions, right?

Tannehill was a crusher in this terrible loss, one of the ugliest game in memory for a team that has no lack of a list. 

He threw three picks, two that they can say pressure factored into. But his decision-making was poor all game as he also missed two wide-open touchdowns that could have taken all the tension out of the game. The Titans could have had a plane ride back to Nashville with a 1-0 record.

They came home 0-1 and with some major questions. That revamped offense is the biggie and we discussed every angle of the game from the Superdome Sunday evening. Please rewatch it at the private Facebook page or on YouTube below.

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Is This The End Of Ryan Tannehill And Derrick Henry As Titans?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – This could be it.

As a pair, Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry have been the core of the Titans’ offense since the sixth game of the 2019 season, a stretch during which the Titans have posted a 37-23 regular season record (.612), won the division twice, gone to the playoffs three times and played in the AFC Championship Game once.

Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry
Ryan Tannehill piches to Derrick Henry

Sunday in New Orleans, they each begin their final season under contract with a franchise that has positioned itself with potential replacements. The Titans have drafted quarterbacks in successive years, trading up to take Malik Willis in the third round in 2022 and Will Levis in the second round in 2023 and they chose versatile running back Tyjae Spears in the third round this spring as well. [Unlocked]

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Tennessee Titans vs. New Orleans Saints: NFL Week One Showdown Analysis

Tennessee Titans vs. New Orleans Saints: NFL Week One Showdown Analysis

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Week One is for optimism and hope. Sixteen organizations get to call themselves undefeated and feel good about their futures going into Week Two. The other 16 raise questions and doubt and find someone to blame for the loss and no longer having the chance to go 17-0.   

But opening day is really about finding out what team you are going to have throughout the next five months of football.

Jeffery Simmons
   Jeffery Simmons/ Angie Flatt

The reason no one truly knows anymore is that offseasons are cut short. Very few starters play in pre-season games so the evaluations are left to practice, past years' performances and the belief that some players have developed over the offseason.   

The Titans and Saints have those same hopes and optimistic outlooks heading into Sunday at noon.  

The Titans catch a break with the Saints' most dynamic offensive player, running back Alvin Kamara, starting a three-game suspension.

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The Paul Kuharsky Podcast: Titans' Mystery Offense, Reserve QBs And Money Matters

The Paul Kuharsky PodcastNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- New coordinator, new quarterback coach and passing game coordinator, new running back coach, new tight ends coach, new offensive line coach.

It's a new offense for the Titans.

And while we've heard about it and seen some glimpses, the bigger features have been behind curtains that won't be opened until Sunday at noon in New Orleans.

How do the Titans feel about what they are unveiling and how different can it be?

That's where the latest edition of The Paul Kuharsky Podcast begins but we go much deeper than that, of course.

Listen through Apple, Spotify, Google, TuneIn or iHeart or watch on YouTube which is embedded below. Please like and follow on the platform of your choosing.

Other subjects I dive into:

     💥How life changes for Malik Willis and Will Levis with the Titans in regular-season mode.

     💥 The great the Titans did with the salary cap through what could have been an awful offseason.

     💥 Kearis Jackson's training camp turn-around.

     💥 Teair Tart met the conditioning challenge, now can get get pass-rush snaps?

     💥 Winning respect the Tyjae Spears way.

Jasper's is our sponsor, and you should check them out.

This is the front door to PaulKuharsky.com.

If you like what you hear or see here, you'd really love the rest of the site. Come join the fun.

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PK TV: We Hit All Your Titans' Questions On Captains, Injuries, Matchups And More

PK TVNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Four days ahead of a season opener with more questions than any since 2018, we gathered Wednesday evening to discuss the ones most important to you.

We discussed the Titans' election of seven captains including Azeez Al-Shaair (pictured), Treylon Burks' knee (I have no doubt he playing in New Orleans) and the key position group to this and many games to come.

I'm was curious about how you felt heading into a game against a sold defense considering the new offense is one of Tennessee's biggest questions, particularly up front.

We also delved into the current spending strategy at cornerback and offensive line and considered if that may be the long-term strategy for the franchise at those two positions.

You can rewatch the conversation at the private Facebook page or on YouTube below. Thatks to those of you who were part of it.

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Sunday Features: The Titans' Rebuilt O-Line, DeAndre Hopkins' Debut And Potential Pass Rush Dominance

Sunday Features: The Titans' Rebuilt O-Line, DeAndre Hopkins' Debut And Potential Pass Rush Dominance

Peter Skoronski
  Peter Skoronski/ courtesy Tennessee Titans

By MIKE HERNDON, columnist

The 2023 NFL season is upon us, and after an offseason that sometimes seemed to be veering in multiple directions, we’ll finally get to see what Ran Carthon’s first version of the Tennessee Titans looks like when it kicks things off in New Orleans on Sunday.

The Saints represent an interesting measuring stick for the revamped Titans squad. New Orleans finished 7-10 last season, Dennis Allen’s first as head coach following Sean Payton’s temporary retirement. Defensively, Allen’s group was stout, allowing just 20.3 points per game, good for ninth-best in the NFL, but they were even better down the stretch as they didn’t surrender more than 20 points to any team over the final eight games of the season.

Their 5.0 yards per play allowed was sixth-best in the league in 2022 and they ranked top-five in virtually every pass defense statistic. The run defense, however, took a big step back from their league-best ranking in 2021, allowing opponents to rush for an average of 4.5 yards per carry, the ninth-highest rate leaguewide.

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