Chiefs vs. Titans: Mike Vrabel keeps Tennessee from turning corner

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 03: Head coach Mike Vrabel of the Tennessee Titans talks to his players in the first quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on November 03, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 03: Head coach Mike Vrabel of the Tennessee Titans talks to his players in the first quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on November 03, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /

We recently asked Titans expert Michael Moraitis of TitanSized to tell us more about this year’s roster and the frustrations with Mike Vrabel.

The Tennessee Titans have proven their ability to win the big game here and there. Fans of the Kansas City Chiefs certainly have postseason memories (nightmares?) of such matchups when the Titans old-school style was enough to stop them in their tracks. The Chiefs aren’t the only team taken out by a hopeful Titans team who looked the part of contender for at least a week or two.

Unfortunately, the tenure of Mike Vrabel looks more like a continuation of the mediocrity the team has become known for in the post-Steve McNair era. One playoff appearance in the last 10 years is enough for any fan base to become not only antsy but angry and Titans fans are certainly there. It sounds like they’re ready to take it out on Mike Vrabel less than two years into the head coaching gig.

Yet the Titans are still a game under .500 with plenty of meaningful football yet to play. A win over the Chiefs on Sunday would go a long way toward establishing confidence in the AFC South, but the Chiefs are hoping to roll through the second half of the schedule on their way to a first round bye.

We recently sat down with Michael Moraitis, site expert over at TitanSized, to tell us more about this weekend’s matchup and what to expect from a Titans team that flirts occasionally with greatness only to never quite turn the corner.

The Titans recently returned to 4-4 with consecutive wins only to fall to the Panthers. Is it hard to determine the ceiling of this Titans team or are they really a sub-.500 collection of talent?

Unfortunately for Titans fans, it doesn’t look like this team is better than a .500 squad. In fact, I’d argue that this team is lucky to be where it currently is given the ineptitude of its coaching staff. The Titans are too inconsistent and you truly don’t know what to expect from week to week. Adding to that, the OC is inept and the head coach has done his best to give games away with shoddy decisions late in games. Things are a mess in Nashville.

What is the confidence in Mike Vrabel at this point in his tenure?

There is no confidence in Mike Vrabel. He makes horrible decisions on fourth downs and late in games, and despite some of his coaches absolutely failing their respective jobs (the OC and offensive line coach in particular), he hasn’t made any changes. It’s amazing to think this guy had a front row seat to see how Bill Belichick did things for so many years, yet is so prone to making mistakes on a weekly basis.

How are the Titans looking health-wise at midseason?

Injuries haven’t been that big of a deal up until the last few weeks. Cornerback Malcolm Butler was lost for the season in Week 9 after breaking his wrist (the Chiefs will have a field day on his replacement, LeShaun Sims).

Inside linebacker Jayon Brown has been dealing with a groin injury that forced him to leave early last week and leaves his status in doubt this week (he’d be a huge loss in coverage for the Titans).

Center Ben Jones has been dealing with a concussion that kept him out last week (the Titans’ interior offensive line has been a mess, but Jones has been the lone bright spot).

While those key injuries have definitely hurt the Titans of late, injuries are not the reason this team is where it is. For the most part, the Titans have been fortunate in that area this season and the only major one has been to Butler.

The defense has a solid reputation throughout the NFL, but the Panthers just put up 30. Was that an anomaly?

Based on the numbers, last week’s result was somewhat of an anomaly. The Titans hadn’t allowed more than 23 points in a game all season prior to Week 9. Tennessee’s defense is no doubt solid and loaded with talent, but it still doesn’t get enough pressure to make opposing quarterbacks uncomfortable on a consistent basis. If you ask me, that’s the one thing stopping this defense from becoming truly elite.

Please finish the following: If a team is going to frustrate Ryan Tannehill, they need to…?

This is going to be a bland answer, but the Chiefs have to get pressure on him. That won’t be difficult, either, as the Titans have allowed the most sacks in the NFL this season. The best way to get pressure is to attack the interior of the offensive line, and more specifically at left and right guard, as both Rodger Saffold and rookie Nate Davis continue to be the biggest weaknesses upfront for the Titans.

If Ben Jones doesn’t play because of his concussion, Jamil Douglas will start at center and that’s a problem. For reference on how bad Douglas is in pass protection, he was given a grade of 12.4 in that area in Week 3 by PFF.

Next. The 5 biggest surprises of the Chiefs season so far. dark