If you wondered if the Titans would get motivated for the 1-4-1 Cincinnati Bengals, do not worry.
There is a storm just starting to brew and it is coming courtesy of Bengals safety Jessie Bates.
Wednesday, Bates was asked about the Titans attack led by Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill, and his respect for one of the two seems to be a lot stronger.
“I think Derrick Henry has had a lot of 100 yard games this year and that kind of helps out Ryan a lot. Ryan doesn’t really do a lot of things that are like ‘wow’ that pop out on film. I just think that he does a really good job of getting the ball out to the checkdown and not making mistakes, so when you’re running the ball like that, it’s hard to make mistakes besides fumbling the football. They’ve done a really good job with that,” Bates said.
In a day and age when most players are over the top in their compliments and respect of their opponent, this quote is not.
When the word “checkdown” gets mentioned with a quarterback, it is not out of respect. That is the easy pass, the short pass, the play anyone can make.
So, it is sure to rankle fans and the Titans likely will not bite when asked about it, but I can assure you, it will make the rounds at St. Thomas Sports Park.
Here is the truth, though, Tannehill does a lot more than hit “checkdown” targets. His 7.8 yards per attempt ranks 13th in the NFL and ties him with Patrick Mahomes who no one would describe in the same way they describe Tannehill.
Tannehill was also number one in the league in 2019 in yards per attempt at 9.6.
One more stat has Tannehill hitting four different receivers for 100 yard games this season and none of them were running backs.
Henry is a big part of the Titans passing game, so that is accurate. Defenses have to respect the play action opening up plays down field for Tannehill and he has taken advantage hitting passes of 53 yards or longer in 4 of 6 games so far.
We will see where this goes; we are likely to hear more about it from the Titans after the game than before it.