Over the course of the last 5 seasons, Titans fans have seen some of the best possible scenarios, with big wins over the Jaguars and Chiefs, as well as the worst possible scenarios, which I won’t detail since the memories are still all too real. Every Sunday when the Titans suit up, I get a rush of anxiety thinking through the absolute worst possible outcomes that could cause the Titans to lose the game or reduce the chance of them making the playoffs. “What if Mariota gets his leg broken like Joe Theisman or.. or what if Jurrell Casey tears his Achilles?” We’ve all been there. But what if I told you the worse possible scenario for the Tennessee Titans has already happened, and the effects of it are showing itself through the weakness of another position group?
Coming into the 2018 season, there have been plenty of times that the receiving core has been noted as a potential concern, due to the lack of experience for such a young group. With the offseason, and the flurry of Free Agents that grabs our attention and all of them get snatched up so quickly. The Titans spent their time talking to N’Damukong Suh. Most Titans fans, who once said “I don’t want him here,” were the same fans spending every hour following his every move and fantasizing about how he’d look in our new uniforms. Yet, Jon Robinson kept his composure when Suh signed with the Rams, and the Titans moved on.
Dion Lewis and Malcolm Butler both got their payday as they became the newest players to join the two-tone blue and the Titans extended Taylor Lewan and Delanie Walker. Titans fans rightfully celebrated as they watched their beloved General Manager do his thing. The offseason was going well, but Titans fans, blinded by their bias (and I’m speaking about myself here as well), convinced themselves that the Wide Receivers group was in a good place and that Corey Davis, Taywan Taylor, Tajae Sharpe would all be legitimate contributors within the group despite the fact that we haven’t seen them do so. But nobody thought through the idea of what would happen if the best player on the team was to go down with an season ending injury.
The Titans week 1 game against the Dolphins, as we all know, was the longest football game in NFL history, but it was also the strangest. Even though I watched that entire game, I can’t tell you a single thing that happened after the second weather delay. It was like I got sucked into the Bermuda Triangle of Football, and was warped into a daze. But during this game the worst possible scenario came to fruition for the Titans when Delanie Walker dislocated his ankle.
Delanie Walker has been one of the best players in Titans history, in my opinion, and feel free to @ me on Twitter if you don’t agree. For the guy to have come here in the first place was a sign and a wonder, and let me remind you that some how Ruston Webster got Delanie to come here. Yeah money talks, but wow. Since 2013, Delanie has contributed both on the field and in the community, making both his team and the City of Nashville proud to have him. Coming into this season all of our hopes were high, but nobody considered the idea of him going down or how it could affect the Titans.
With the recent win over the Eagles, the offense showed itself to be deadly when firing on all cylinders, but the lack of consistency is still a major issue. Even with Rishard Matthews requesting his release, most of us thought, “did you see Corey Davis against the Eagles? 6 catches, over 100 yards, and a touchdown? We don’t need Rishard.” – Let me stop you right there. I agree that losing Matthews wasn’t that big of a concern since he wasn’t getting the snaps in practices or in the games, but it made the wide receiver issue go from a scratch to a gushing wound. I think we would’ve seen a big game from Davis prior to the Eagles game had Rishard and Delanie been there to open up the defensive coverage and allow Mariota to pass. Even now, for us to be getting ready for the Ravens this Sunday, it makes me think that if Delanie alone was out there and 100%, the Ravens would have a harder time preparing since he brought so much to the passing game, but also in the running game as a blocker.
Now, yes, I can hear everyone saying “this is obvious and we all know this already.” But my question here is this. Why try to bring in a guy like Golden Tate or Dez Bryant, two old guys, or any other wide out to try and fix the issue? Weren’t we all saying the WR’s we’re okay prior to Walkers injury? Why not try to bring in another tight end that could contribute to the passing game and open up the passing lanes along with Jonnu Smith? I hate to break it to you all but Luke Stocker is not going to be the guy that makes a defense cringe as a number two TE since all they’ve got to do it put more pressure on Jonnu to take away Mariota’s security blanket in a speedy tight end.
We all have had thought that Jonnu Smith, who is athletically cut from a similar cloth as Delanie Walker, will be the guy to take the reins over once Walker retires. I don’t expect Jonnu Smith to be the guy who contributes on the same level as Delanie has in the “here and now” but if you traded for a guy like Maxx Williams from the Ravens, I think that could change our current situation, allow Jonnu to take small step in that direction, and help minimize the void that Delanie’s absence has made.
I honestly enjoy the ride of the season, the ups and down, and wondering how Jon Robinson and Vrabel are going to better the team each week. It’s a hell of a lot more fun with them than it has been with previous coaching staffs. Even after the Bills loss, I still think the future is bright and I look forward to getting the boys back on track this week against the Ravens. As always, #TitanUp ⚔️🔥⚔️🔥
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