Here I sit, hours after the game, and the reality of the Titans overtime win still hasn’t fully sunk in. When the 2018 schedule for the Titans came out, I am sure only a select few of people considered the Titans to have a chance in this game, and those were probably the fans who can’t see past their own bias. As the game started, I was interested to see how Vrabel and the coaching staff was going to attack the defending champions defense. The growing confidence these players are showing from week to week is nearly a mirrored image of that of the fanbase and their growing confidence in this team. With each positive stride, another level of trust is gained.
For the Titans, the city of Nashville is like a beautiful girl who once loved the two tone blue, but has since set her eyes on a team in gold and blue, but the team in two tone blue are ready to win her back. The city has been revolutionized over the course of the last decade with a major influx of Californias, who followed Nissan, and other tourists who were converted into residents. As a Chattanooga resident, every time I go home to Franklin, TN to visit family and loved ones, it’s like going to an all new city, versus the home of my childhood. The fans that loved the Titans of my youth, who loved McNair, Eddie, Wycheck (just to name a few), have been lulled to sleep with the losing records and each heart breaking loss.
Over the years these fans of old have moved on to the things they consider more important, and rightfully so. But today’s win is a big step in the right direction for the Titans to win over the city of Nashville, but they still have a lot of ground to make up, and they’ve got their work cut out. I know, as someone who has followed the Titans for years, you watch every game and anxiously wait for the bottom to drop out. Honestly, as the final drive took place, I was waiting for a mistake, turnover, or botched play that would feel all too natural for Titans fans, but to my surprise it never happened. These are some of the same players that we’ve seen lose close games, and even ones we were favored to win.
Last year, we lost to the Cardinal, 49ers, Dolphins, and nearly lost to the Browns so when the Super Bowl champs come town, you timidly watch and wait for the Titans to do what the Titans have always done; beat themselves. For so long, Titans fans have grown accustom to the struggle of gaining a win, yet we’ve watched teams like the Ravens, Steelers, and Patriots have years of winning records and playoff berths, but the Titans just remained the same. As the 2018 season started I had to sit back, take a deep breath, and ask myself, “are you ready for another year of agony?” Week 1 was a game that you had to take with a grain of salt, but most fans overreacted as I documented in a previous post. Week 2 came and I was honestly surprised by the win over the Texans, but I wanted to see more from the Titans. Week 3, and here come the big bad Jaguars – which was a great test for this team. The offense struggled to take off, but the defense played great and showed their ability to impact the outcome of a game. But there was still something taking place within this team to explain the real change happening with the Tennessee Titans.
For years now, Jon Robinson has been wheeling and dealing and bringing in top talent. Fans have seen his ability to scout talent and Robinson has gained the trust of the fans, but after two years of working with a coach he didn’t choose, Robinson yet again made another great deal. Mike Vrabel came in, and his leadership and football knowledge impressed me enough to overlook the fact that he’s walking into his first year as an NFL head coach. However, Mike Vrabel is becoming the heartbeat of this team with every passing week.
His gritty attitude and focused work ethic permeates the product that the Titans put on the field. Vrabel, with the help of his well assembled staff, has the ability to game plan and scheme against the top teams in the league. His method of coaching and developing the players that Robinson has brought in is showing to make the pair a dangerous duo. So when you sit back and wonder what is making this Titans team so different, don’t wonder anymore. I believe the best is yet to come.
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