A new offensive coordinator in Tennessee versus a potent Houston Texans offense could lead to a shootout twice a year for football fans.
What should the Texans expect from their division rival Tennessee Titans offense in 2018? As I mentioned in a previous post, “Hot Los Angeles Rams Offensive Coordinator Matt Lafleur has been named the offensive coordinator of the Titans. We saw what he did with quarterback Jared Goff last year. I anticipate he will turn this rather boring Titans offense into a dynamic one as well”. Furthermore, our former defensive coordinator, Mike Vrabel, is now the Titans head coach. Vrabel will be able to game plan with Lafleur to try and exploit the Texans defense.
Let’s try and anticipate what the Titans offense will throw at us:
I fully expect Lafleur to use quarterback Marcus Mariota’s mobility. I expect him to roll him out of the pocket often. The Texans will have to have a spy ready on Mariota because he could take off on any play.
The Texans defensive front is fierce. I expect them to get pressure on Mariota. The Texans will have to pick their poison however. The Titans have a strong running game with Demarco Murray and Derrick Henry. Furthermore, Lafleur will counter blitz pressure by designing plays that will have Mariota drop back and release the ball quickly. Very similar to what he did with quarterback Jared Goff last year in Los Angeles. Specifically, short to intermediate passes to said running backs or tight end Delanie Walker. Look back at last season in Los Angeles and you will find several games where running back Todd Gurley scored multiple touchdowns per game on the ground and through the air. I expect the same from Tennessee next year.
The running game and the short to intermediate passing game will open up the deep ball. Several of Tennessee’s young wide receivers such as Corey Davis or Rishard Mathews could emerge with breakout seasons just as wide receiver Robert Woods did last year in Los Angeles. Furthermore, if wide receiver Eric Decker is still with the team in 2018, he could regain the touchdown prowess he has been known for throughout his career.
All this to say that I believe the Titans will be offensively potent in 2018. With an already bruising running game, I think Lafleur will be able to unleash a passing game to complement it.
My colleague James Mastrucci recently made a case as to why the Texans could be the best team in the division. One of his arguments was a return of key injured players on defense and a resulting improved secondary.
He may be correct and I will not argue with his logic. However I look at these matchups from a different angle. I believe with quarterback Deshaun Watson, the Texans offense will move the ball and score at will. This will not be a ball control, dominate the time of possession game plan.
Therefore, when the Texans play a team like the Titans, who I also believe will be able to move the ball at will, the defense will be on the field a lot more.
Ultimately, I look forward to Houston versus Tennessee twice a year as I believe these games will turn into shootouts and epic duels between two up and coming mobile quarterbacks. These games will be a win for football fans.