NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Why is everyone so negative?
Is it because the Titans lost a fifth game in a conference that more than likely will only allow six losses to make the playoffs? And, it’s only week 9?
Is it because this off-season Mike Vrabel coined the motto, “good to great,” and the team’s media department went as far as to pump it all over social media and even plaster the words throughout the facility? And, they’re worse than last year?
Is it because the staff that lead the team to its first playoff win in 13 years was fired to bring in a staff who’s main job was to maximize Marcus Mariota and protect him? And, he’s on the bench having been sacked more than any other quarterback through the first five games of the season?
The negativity is warranted, but so is recognizing there’s some real talent on this roster. And yes, that makes this season even more maddening.
In Mike Vrabel’s Monday press conference he said, “I would hate for somebody to walk in here today and say, ‘I did my job.’ That would be the absolute worst attitude that we could possibly have is that, ‘Well, I did what I was supposed to do. Maybe some of the rest of these guys could get going.’ I don’t want that attitude.”
Plain and simple, Vrabel doesn’t want to signal anyone out for playing well when the team is losing.
So, I am going to signal players out for playing well even when the team is losing.
Look away, Mike.
I polled fans on Twitter and Facebook by asking who is the team’s Most Valuable Player through the first 9 games of the season. The options I provided were Derrick Henry, Brett Kern, Logan Ryan and Harold Landry.
The top votes given in order were to Ryan, Kern, Henry and then Landry.
Initial thoughts: the punter is a close second for the team’s MVP. Yes, Kern is on another Pro Bowl season collision course, but if your punter is one of the best players on your team, then what does that say about your team? A good punter is valuable when it comes to field position, but — and I’m really going out on a limb here — I would argue a good quarterback is considerably more valuable.
I didn’t give a quarterback as an option in the poll, but there were no write-in votes and there probably shouldn’t have been.
A solid corner, too, is more valuable than a punter and right now Logan Ryan is earning his fat paycheck. Last season he left us wanting more with zero interceptions, but this year he has 3. Ryan is also getting one hand on it when he can’t get two. He is leading the league in passes defensed right now with 12. He has also forced three fumbles and 3.5 sacks.
Great job voting, guys.
Henry makes a decent case for team MVP because of his ability to get some dirty yards and his grown man runs, but he can’t seem to get out of his own coach’s way. For some unknown reason, Dion Lewis has been taking snaps and touches away from Henry as of late. Seriously, can anyone explain this to me?
Finally, Landry. I thought recency bias with his performance at Carolina would snag him more votes, but as the losses tend to do, the result made his performance creep into the shadows. He’s coming off a one interception, one sack and two tackle for loss performance. This season he’s already nearly doubled his TFL total and is on track to double his sacks from last season. He already has six.
All this to say, there are some bright spots on the Tennessee Titans right now. It still remains to be seen why some members of this team are playing some of their best football and why some are playing some of their worst.