The Tennessee Titans begin their joint-practice venture with the Carolina Panthers Wednesday morning, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
After reading press clippings of their AFC South dominance all summer the boys in two-tone Titan blue laid an egg last Saturday in their preseason opener against the Jets.
Well actually, it was the offense that laid the egg. And specifically, the offensive line.
Tennessee had the worst o’line in the NFL in 2015, ranking in the bottom third in rushing yards while ranking dead last in sacks allowed.
Last season the unit improved dramatically, finishing third in the league in rushing yards while climbing to 7th in sacks allowed.
After riding the year-long wave of positive feedback, the retooled o’line (starters included) endured their first bit of criticism after giving up a whopping 8 sacks last week in New York.
And while it seems that the bigs up front were just going through the motions, the Panthers and their formidable front seven (2nd in sacks in 2016) certainly wont be, not even in practice this week.
And that’s just what the doctor ordered.
The Panthers come to town with legitimate playoff aspirations after several personnel upgrades this offseason, as do the Titans. Both teams play a physical brand of football, which should light a fire under a Titans offense that looked lethargic…and seemed disinterested at times in New York.
Tennessee’s o’line is as tough and physical as they come. They are certainly no one hit wonder, so I fully expect them to re-establish their smash mouth identity over the course of this week.
And luckily for head coach Mike Mularky, who preaches physicality, they will have no choice with one of the most physical teams in the league in town for the week.