NFL Wire News

Titans out of rhythm in road loss to Browns

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The Sports Xchange

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt recognizes that he can’t let his prized pupil take the abuse he took on Sunday.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota was sacked seven times and fumbled three times in the game (losing two of them), absorbing 11 total hits in a 28-14 loss to the Browns.

“He took too many shots yesterday. Obviously he’s a little banged up, a little sore,” Whisenhunt said. “He’s in good spirits. He’s doing OK. He did a good job for us yesterday.”

The primary problem, according to Whisenhunt, was that the Titans offense took too much time in the huddle in a hostile road environment and could not get set quickly enough to account for overloads and blitzers on the Browns’ defense.

“Here I think was our biggest problem yesterday,” Whisenhunt said. “No. 1, we’ve got to get to the line quicker, so we can communicate better. That is an issue for us. That will give us a chance to get our protections the right way, so we won’t have a couple of the mistakes we had yesterday.

“That is an area we have to get better at. When you have a rookie quarterback, a rookie tackle (Jeremiah Poutasi), you understand in that type of environment, those are issues you have to go through.”

Sunday’s game was actually the Titans’ second consecutive road game, but Whisenhunt offered that communication and adjustment problems were not an issue in Tampa because the Titans jumped to such a big lead so quickly.

“Yesterday was the first time that was a really tough environment to have to deal with for an extended period of time, and we didn’t deal with it great,” Whisenhunt said.

Whisenhunt said that Mariota is not completely to blame for the huddle and line issues, that the line itself has some culpability. He also indicated that some of it is simply growing pains for a young team.

“He’s doing a lot of things that are really good, and then there are mistakes that young players make. When you go through a situation like we went through yesterday in an environment like that, you learn from and hopefully you get better the next time,” Whisenhunt said.

REPORT CARD VS. BROWNS

–PASSING OFFENSE: D-plus – Marcus Mariota’s numbers weren’t bad, 21 of 37 for 252 yards and two TD passes. It was the seven sacks allowed and three fumbles that proved costly for the Titans through the air.

–RUSHING OFFENSE: A-minus – The Titans got 98 yards from Dexter McCluster and rushed for 166 yards as a team on Sunday. However, they also lost a fumble by Terrance West, the only negative.

–PASS DEFENSE: F – For most of the day, it wasn’t bad, giving up only eight completions. But when two of those completions are bombs for touchdowns from Johnny Manziel to Travis Benjamin, a failing grade is earned.

–RUSH DEFENSE: C – The Browns ran for 116 yards against the Titans with Isaiah Crowell’s 11-yard TD the most damaging run.

–SPECIAL TEAMS: F – They helped to seal Benjamin’s big day by giving up a 78-yard punt return for a TD just before halftime, which essentially put the game out of reach at 21-0.

–COACHING: C – The Titans came out slow and sluggish and were just not as crisp as they were in the opener. The only credit given though is that halftime adjustments were successful enough to get back in the game, pulling to within 21-14 in the fourth quarter.


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