Nobody puts Mike Vrabel in a corner.
Especially goal line defenses in a Super Bowl, am I right??
This past offseason, the Tennessee Titans decided that a couple years of EXOTIC SMASHMOUTH was enough and after a mutual breakup, Tennessee hired Mike Vrabel as their new head coach in their quest to Sign All The Patriots™. Just don’t call them Patriots South. They get real ornery-like if you say that.
The Titans also snagged coordinator Matt LaFleur from the Los Angeles Rams to fill their offensive coordinator position in the hopes that the, I don’t know, fifth? time is the charm for someone finally being able to utilize quarterback Marcus Mariota’s potentially game-breaking talent correctly. Has he so far? Hard to say, but the Titans offense and special teams in particular has bamboozled a few teams this year with some good old-fashioned trickery that Pats fans in particular should appreciate.
Exhibit A: Marcus Mariota is out with an elbow injury, so what do you do when you’re staring down the barrel of a whole game of Blaine Gabbert?
Get an All-Pro to throw it. Who cares if Kevin Byard’s a safety by trade? Rip it!
Titans Get Tricky #TitanUp pic.twitter.com/93G9c4v4Qv— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) September 16, 2018
Then there was this one from Monday Night Football this week, featuring our old buddy Dion “I’m small but I ain’t little” Lewis: Marcus gets the snap and hands off to Lil Dirty, who promptly gets clobbered and...wait what?
Yup, Mariota pulls the ball right out of Lewis’s arms and then gives tight end Jonnu Smith the old ultimate frisbee push-pass. Patrick Mahomes does something, I guess all the kids want to do it now, right?
.@Titans getting tricky.— NFL (@NFL) November 6, 2018
And it's working...
: #TENvsDAL on ESPN #SaluteToService pic.twitter.com/QZv4EKwP2l
And if all else fails, Marcus Mariota’s almost always ready to use his considerable wheels and try to make something out of nothing, usually with little to zero regard for his own life:
MARCUS MARIOTA WILL DO IT HIMSELF!!— NFL (@NFL) November 6, 2018
: #TENvsDAL on ESPN #SaluteToService pic.twitter.com/jy9PyxrKe1
The run. Marcus Mariota calls his own number and puts the game on ice for the #Titans— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) September 24, 2018
(Also: @TaylorLewan77’s effort on Telvin Smith here can’t go unnoticed) pic.twitter.com/kT16ABGs1L
From that London game versus the Chargers that may have FUBAR’d your fantasy team that I definitely did not sleep straight through...we got him, we got him...we don’t got him.
Marcus Mariota with some excellent escapability again to pick up a huge gain and set the #Titans up with 3rd and manageable (that they did not convert) #TENvsLAC pic.twitter.com/2nEkiXYd4B— Titans Film Room (@titansfilmroom) October 21, 2018
And as anyone who’s ever attempted a no-look bounce shot in beer pong can attest, if you’re going to live by the trick play, you better not get got when someone tries a fast one on you.
Which, let’s be real, isn’t exactly a tall order when we’re talking the Buffalo Bills here. You can almost see this train wreck happening in slow motion like someone’s pants splitting open on the dance floor:
CLASSIC Bills, I almost feel bad laughing— Matt/Goose (@SomeCallMeGoose) October 7, 2018
Actually scratch that, no I don’t pic.twitter.com/wwSRmFtI19
Point being, it’s not like the Titans are suddenly going to go 2014-Pats-vs-Baltimore on everyone, but for the past few years at minimum, Tennessee’s been rolling out some painfully outdated offensive playcalling that’s varied between Ken Wisenhunt acting like he still has prime Kurt Warner & Larry Fitz, and Mike Mularkey’s aforementioned Exotic Smashmouth turning out to be about as exotic as a little umbrella in a frozen margarita. With Vrabs and LaFleur on board, they’re at least rolling the dice on some totally left-field moves, even if it’s basically the only bullet they’ve got left when the zombies are coming.
And let’s be real, given the Titans’ current unenviable position at 30th in the NFL in passing yards and 29th in points per game, Tennessee looking at this game like “we’re going run what we’re going to run” isn’t gonna cut it.