Mon, 26 Oct 2020

Opposing Viewpoint: 5 Questions (and Answers) About Titans

Minnesota Vikings
26 Sep 2020, 04:37 GMT+10

Eric Smith

Week 3 awaits, and the Vikings are trying to regain their offensive identity while dealing with a slew of injuries on the defensive side of the ball in order to get their first win of 2020.

But what are some key storylines from the other side?

To find that out, Vikings.com chatted with Titans reporter Jim Wyatt for a glance at what Tennessee is thinking before Sunday's game.

Here is the Week 3 edition of Opposing Viewpoint:

The Titans are 2-0 for the first time since 2008. Tennessee was obviously a strong team in 2019, but what has stood out to you about the way the Titans have played in the first two games of this season?

JW: Well, so far the Titans have played just well enough to win - they needed field goals in the closing moments to pull games out. Offensively, quarterback Ryan Tannehill has picked up where he left off last season. He's completing 70 percent of his passes, with six touchdowns and no interceptions. The running game has piled up some yards, but it's still not where it needs to be. Defensively, the Titans are coming off a game when they gave up way too many yards and points. But as the team works through some corrections, and works to get better, the good news is the 2-0 record.

The Vikings struggled to stop the run in Week 2 against the Colts. That's not very good news with Derrick Henry coming to town. For those of us who don't get to see Henry up close very often, what makes him one of the league's top backs?

JW: Derrick Henry is a bruising back, and he's a workout warrior. And because of that, he able to take on a big workload on Sundays. Henry has already carried the ball 56 times in two games, for 200 yards. He's averaging just 3.6 yards per carry, however, with a long run of 14. So, there's room for improvement. But he's coming off a year when he led the NFL in rushing, and the feeling in Nashville is the best is yet to come this year. Henry doesn't shy away from contact, and he has a lethal stiff-arm. The Titans will keep riding him.

Ryan Tannehill was on the money Sunday, and has turned into one of the league's most efficient quarterbacks over the past season. What has led to his career turnaround after some early struggles?

JW: Tannehill landed in the right spot for a career turnaround. After first arriving in Tennessee last offseason, he deferred to then-starting quarterback Marcus Mariota. When Mariota faltered, Tannehill got his chance, and he hasn't looked back. Tannehill has played with confidence, and he's played well. He's been accurate, he's made throws into tight windows, he's displayed toughness by standing in the pocket to make big throws, even if it means taking big hits, and he hasn't hesitated to tuck the ball and run it. Tannehill looks like a guy who has found himself again, and he's been a god-send for the Titans.

How has Jadeveon Clowney looked so far in a Titans uniform? And what are Tennessee's expectations of him since he signed just before the season started?

JW: The Titans signed Clowney to be a game-wrecker, and the expectation is he'll do just that. Right out of the gate, Clowney has flashed. He's made some plays, fought his way into the backfield, and he's brought energy. But he's still finding his way in the defense, and he's still working himself into better condition. He's still looking for his first sack. Once he gets more comfortable, he should start making offenses more uncomfortable.

Finally, after reaching the AFC Championship in January, do the Titans believe they are poised for a similar deep run this year? And who is an X-Factor that could make a difference down the stretch?

JW: The pieces are in place for another run, but like most of teams in the NFL, it's about staying healthy and winning close games. The Titans got hot at just the right time last year, and they rode the momentum to the AFC Championship Game. At the start of the 2020 season, the goal is to win the AFC South, and to host a playoff game for the first time since the 2008 season. Get into the postseason, and you give yourself a chance. That's the mindset right now in Tennessee.

Vikings Postgame LIVE

After every Vikings game this season, make sure to log onto the team's digital and social platforms to watch Vikings Postgame Live, a new streaming postgame show that will provide fans with highlights, postgame sound from Head Coach Mike Zimmer and players, analysis and much more.

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