The Tennessee Titans are coming off a miserable performance last Sunday in Houston and have to find a way to rebound this week in Miami against a struggling Dolphins team that was shut out last week.
Here are the Infiniti of Cool Springs Five Keys tot he Titans victory over the Dolphins.
1. Wipe the memories of last week away. In the NFL, players and coaches always talk about a 24-hour rule after game to celebrate a win or mourn a loss. The way the Titans were waxed last Sunday by the Texans, 57-14, that one might be hard to put out of their minds completely. But they cannot afford any lingering hangover, even against the struggling Dolphins who come in averaging around eight points a game through three games.
2. Run, run and run some more. The Titans never really got a chance to run against the Texans, especially when the game got out of hand early on. But if Matt Cassel starts – or even if it is Marcus Mariota at less than 100 percent – the Titans have to get DeMarco Murray and the running game cranked up against a Dolphins front that is known for its pass rush, but still has plenty of talent up front, led by Ndamukong Suh. If Cassel gets the start, the Titans probably won’t be able to rely on the passing game to move the ball consistently, instead having to sprinkle it in with a successful rushing attack.
3. Fix the secondary issues. The Titans secondary was, in a word, awful last week against the Texans, allowing DeShaun Watson to shred them. Now, they face veteran Jay Cutler, who has been his usual self thus far in the season – some hot, some cold, but still dangerous. Miami has solid receivers in DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills. The likes of Logan Ryan, Adoree’ Jackson and LeShaun Sims have to play better than they did last week. You can also throw former Dolphin Brice McCain in there as well, as Tennessee has to regroup and figure out a way to find some success against the pass.
4. Pressure Cutler into a mistake. Jay Cutler can get hot at any moment and shred a defense, though he hasn’t done much of that thus far. The Titans pass rush has not been as good as last year thus far. But the Dolphins offensive line has struggled. Tennessee must stop Jay Ajayi and the run, taking advantage of the ‘Phins porous line, so they can attack Cutler with their pass rush and some blitzes. If they can to that, they should be able to get Cutler to make a mistake.
5. Win special teams. The Titans special teams have been better than last year when they often were culprits in giving up big plays. It seems only a matter of time before Adoree’ Jackson breaks a big return that actually isn’t called back by a penalty. Against the Dolphins, with the offense likely limited if Cassel starts, the Titans could use a big play by special teams to jumpstart them with a touchdown or a short field to work with.