Monthly Archives: January 2020

Custom Derrick Henry Jersey Large

How good was Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry’s game on Saturday night in the AFC playoffs?

With 182 rushing yards and 22 receiving yards, the former Alabama All-American accounted for 73.6 percent of the Titans’ yardage in their 20-13 victory over the New England Patriots. Only one player in postseason history has provided a greater portion of his team’s yards from scrimmage (gained rushing and receiving). Eric Dickerson accounted for 76.5 percent of the Los Angeles Rams’ scrimmage yards when he ran for an NFL postseason record 248 yards in a 20-0 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Jan. 4, 1986.

Henry’s 204 yards from scrimmage were the most given up by the Patriots to one player in their 41 playoff games under coach Bill Belichick.

In Tennessee’s previous playoff game, New England limited Henry to 28 yards on 12 rushing attempts and 21 yards on three receptions in a 35-14 victory on Jan. 13, 2017. That came after Henry had 156 rushing yards and 35 receiving yards in a 22-21 win over the Kansas City Chiefs the previous week.

Saturday night’s performance made Henry the first player in NFL postseason history with more than one 150-yard rushing game on the road, and his 444 yards from scrimmage rank second in the Super Bowl era for a player’s first three playoff games (behind running back Arian Foster’s 501 for the Houston Texans).

And Henry’s big game on Saturday night came against the defense that gave up the fewest points and the fewest yards in the NFL during the 2019 regular season.

“My approach is always the same against any defense,” Henry said after Saturday night’s game. “They’d been doing a great job all year, so I knew I just had to go out there and do my job at the best of my abilities to be efficient, but it was going to take all 11 of us. …

“I think we just wanted to put efficient drives together. Everybody just do their job. Beat the man in front of you, be physical, and I think that’s what we tried to do as we were moving the ball down the field. ”

Henry’s 34 carries set a career high.

“It’s a lot of confidence in his ability, his toughness, his durability,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. “He cares a lot about this football team. I’m lucky to get to coach him and these players.”

Tennessee threw 16 passes against New England, the fewest for a team in a playoff victory in 10 years.

“That has to be the formula,” Vrabel said about the Titans’ reliance on the run. “When we look at things and we study it … to be able to run the football and to stop the run was huge. We’re appreciative of everything (Henry) does and the offensive line and the tight ends and fullbacks. It takes all 11 to run the football, but certainly Derrick’s a huge part of that.”

Even with Henry’s dominance, though, the game went down to the wire, with a interception returned for a touchdown with nine seconds left adding six points to the final margin.

“That’s the way we like it,” Henry said. “We don’t want nothing easy. We want it gritty. We want it dirty. That’s the mentality we’ve got to have. My main focus is finishing each and every drive.”

The Titans will play the Baltimore Ravens, at 7:15 p.m. CST Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs.

The Ravens are the No. 1 seed in the AFC field and had a first-round bye this weekend. The Titans are the No. 6 seed and got into the postseason by winning their regular-season finale.

“I don’t think nobody expected nothing from us,” Henry said. “Keep that underdog mentality and just stay hungry. Just keep believing in each other because all of us in that building, all of us together, we’re the ones that’ve got to make it happen no matter what anybody writes or what anybody says. We’re the ones that have to go out there and do it each and every day, each practice, each play and just keep believing in each other. Like I told them: Why not us? Why we can’t do it? That’s what we’re going to keep — that same mentality — and keep working.”

Custom Corey Davis Jersey Large

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis is reportedly being evaluated for a concussion following Sunday’s loss to the New Orleans Saints, per Jim Wyatt of Titans Online.

Davis caught three passes for 40 yards in the 38-28 loss, adding to the 36 receptions for 517 yards and two touchdowns he had entering play.

The 6’3″, 209-pound wideout, who the Titans drafted fifth overall in 2017 out of Western Michigan, has overcome injuries throughout his three-year NFL career.

He missed nearly the entire 2017 training camp and preseason after suffering a hamstring injury that persisted throughout his rookie year. Davis returned for Week 1, but the injury returned and forced the wide receiver out for five games between Weeks 3 and 7. He finished with 34 receptions and 375 yards.

Davis found himself on the Titans’ injury reports a few times during the 2018 season with hamstring injuries, but they did not prevent him from playing a full 16-game campaign. Davis snagged a team-leading 65 passes for 891 yards and four touchdown receptions last year.

Losing Davis would a huge blow for the Titans’ wide receiver crew, but Tennessee may be able to forge ahead without him by relying on the rushing attack. That is especially the case if Derrick Henry returns after missing Sunday’s loss.

As far as the pass-catchers, A.J. Brown and Tajae Sharpe figure to see more targets. Tight end Jonnu Smith will also be a factor.

Custom Darius Jennings Jersey Large

NASHVILLE — The Titans returned to the practice field on Christmas Eve at Saint Thomas Sports Park to continue preparations for Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans.

Here’s a look at three quick hits from Tuesday:

The Return of Darius Jennings

Darius Jennings was back on the practice field, one day after being re-signed by the team.

“It’s an early present,” Jennings said. “I am ready. I am in the same shape I was in when I first went out the door, so I want to come back in here, bring energy to the group, and do what they ask me to do.”

Jennings was added to the active roster on Monday, one day after return man Kalif Raymond was placed in concussion protocol after taking a hit in Sunday’s game against the Saints.

Raymond will be monitored throughout the week.

Jennings handled the team’s kickoff return duties the first seven games of this season, returning seven kicks for a 21.0-yard average, before being released after Raymond was added. Jennings also had two catches for 17 yards.

Jennings handled kickoff returns for the Titans in 2018, returning 22 kicks for 698 yards (31.7 average), including a 94-yard return for a touchdown in a game at Miami. His 31.7-yard average set the franchise record.

“I just want to take advantage of any opportunity I can to help the team,” Jennings said. “Guys welcomed me back with open arms, so that feels good. It’s kind of like I never left.”

Injury Update

The Titans held a scaled back walk-through practice on Tuesday, and only the stretch portion of practice was open.

The only player not on the field in uniform was Raymond.

The rest of the Titans were present, including cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, receiver Adam Humphries, receiver Corey Davis, running back Derrick Henry, defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons and linebacker Daren Bates. Davis left Sunday’s game with a concussion while the other five players didn’t play because of injuries.

“We’re going to try to just prepare the best way that we know how,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said of Tuesday’s session. “It’ll be scaled back (today). We played a short time ago. The player’s bodies aren’t used to practicing on Tuesday with a Sunday game. Again, I think it’s been great. I think the players have been focused already today in meetings, what we think that the keys are going to be and how they need to understand and execute the game plan. We’ll have an opportunity to practice it, we’ll have an opportunity to meet about it after practice. I’ll let these guys spend some much-needed time with their families, and then be able to come back in on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to clean up, continue to game plan and prepare to win.”

Practice Squad Additions

The Titans added running back Shaun Wilson to the team’s practice squad on Tuesday.

The Titans on Tuesday also re-signed running back Dalyn Dawkins to the team’s practice squad.

Wilson (5-9, 185) entered the NFL last year as an undrafted college free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played five games as a rookie with the Bucs and totaled six carries for 29 yards and seven kickoff returns for 122 yards. Wilson was waived by Tampa Bay in June and signed by the Washington Redskins in July, before being placed on injured reserve in August and waived in November. Wilson was a two-year starter at Duke, where he tallied 2,463 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns. He also recorded 725 receiving yards on 81 receptions and 1,697 kickoff return yards.

Custom Ben Jones Jersey Large

NASHVILLE – Ben Jones founded The Jones Mission two years ago to raise money for organizations that serve at-risk youth.

This year the foundation distributed $85,000 raised via through the Ben Jones Celebrity Clay Shoot to a pair of local charities. It also funded holiday shopping events for families in need locally and in Jones’ hometown of Centreville, Ala.

Because of his efforts in the community, Jones was named the Tennessee Titans’ Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. The team announced the award Thursday.

In recognition of the honor, the starting center will wear a special helmet decal through the remainder of the season and will be a candidate for the 2019 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award along with one player from each of the league’s other 31 teams.

All 32 nominees receive a $50,000 donation in their name, via the NFL Foundation, to the charity of their choice. The NFL Man of the Year will receive an additional $250,000 donation. The winner will be announced Feb. 1 during the NFL Honors awards show.

Each Team has named a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year annually since 1996. Jones is the first Titans offensive lineman to earn the distinction.

“It’s an honor to be nominated as the Titans’ Water Payton Man of the Year,” Jones said in a release from the team. “It’s incredibly important to me to help kids in need and to show them that anything is possible through hard work, determination and prayer. I have been fortunate that my foundation has been able to impact the lives of kids in Nashville and Alabama.”

This year The Jones Mission gave $45,000 to Preston Taylor Ministries, which addresses issues common to a Nashville public housing area, to help open a facility for after-school programs. Another $40,000 went to Endure Athletics, a Murfreesboro-based organization that provides fitness, education and mentorship opportunities to homeless children.

Jones also hosts senior football players from his high school, Bibb County (Ala.) High School, at a Titans game each season, stages an annual summer camp in his hometown and sponsors the annual holiday shopping trips for families in need.

Jones entered the NFL in 2012 as a fourth-round pick of the Houston Texans, the Titans’ opponent this Sunday at Nissan Stadium. After four seasons with Houston, he signed as a free agent with Tennessee in 2016 and has been the team’s starting center since.

He was named a team captain this season.

Custom Adoree’ Jackson Jersey Large

NASHVILLE — The Titans returned to the practice field on Wednesday at Saint Thomas Sports Park to continue preparations for Saturday’s playoff game against the New England Patriots.

Here’s a look at three quick hits from Wednesday:

Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey has seen two sides of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In the 2017 season’s playoffs, Casey saw Brady pick the Titans apart. Brady completed 35-of-53 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns in New England’s 35-14 win.

The Titans didn’t sack Brady once.

Last November, however, the Titans flustered Brady in a 34-10 win. The Titans sacked Brady three times and were credited with seven quarterback hits in that game as Brady completed just 21 of his 41 passes.

The key on Saturday, Casey said, starts with pressuring Brady.

“We have to make sure we keep him frustrated throughout the whole game, not just the first quarter,” Casey said. “From the first quarter all the way through the fourth quarter we have to make sure it is uncomfortable for him.

“The difference between those two games is one they had the upper-hand and they blew us out and the other we returned the favor and we blew them out. It depends on who can control the middle of the pocket.”

Brady is the all-time postseason leader in games played (40), wins (30), completions (1,005), pass yards (11,179) and touchdown passes (73). He has 16 playoff games with 300-plus pass yards, the most in NFL history.

On Saturday, he’ll aim for hi 13th postseason game in a row with 250-plus pass yards.

“You have to get into the pocket and put pressure on him as much as you can,” Casey said of Brady. “We have to get him rattled and get him frustrated as much as we can. Without getting to him, we are bound to lose this game. So the biggest key is to get to him as much as we can.”

Titans cornerback Adoree’ Jackson was listed as a full participant in practice for the second straight day.

Jackson hasn’t played since suffering a foot injury in the team’s December 1 game against the Colts. He’s been limited in some practices, but been sidelined in most.

Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees said Jackson’s return would give the team an important piece.

“He’s a cover guy, that’s his skill level,” Pees said of Jackson. “His forte has always been to be able to get up and play coverage and play man-to-man and be able to press guys and hopefully he is healthy enough to do that and we can use him that way.”

Logan Ryan, Tramaine Brock, Tye Smith and LeShaun Sims have worked at cornerback in recent weeks.

Receiver Adam Humphries (ankle) did not practice again on Wednesday.

Right tackle Jack Conklin (knee) was added to the Injury Report, and listed as limited.

Receiver Kalif Raymond practiced on Wednesday after missing Tuesday’s session, but Titans coach Mike Vrabel said he remains in the concussion protocol. Raymond was limited in Wednesday’s practice.

Linebacker Daren Bates (shoulder) was a full participant after being limited on Tuesday while receiver Cody Hollister (ankle) was listed as limited for the second day in a row.

Custom Austin Johnson Jersey Large

LEWISTON, Idaho – Lewis-Clark State College’s men’s basketball team started the new year off on the right foot overwhelming Northwest Indian College 147-47 – the second largest scoring margin in school history and the second highest point total.

The tone was set in the first three minutes of the Saturday afternoon game at the Activity Center when the Warriors rolled to an 11-0 lead before NWIC hit its first field goal with 17:02 left in the opening half. From that point on, LC rarely missed in shooting 70.4 percent (57 of 81) from the field – third highest in school history. They also broke the LC mark for 3-point goals with 22.

“We’ll take that shooting every night for sure,” coach Austin Johnson said after the 13th-ranked Warriors improved to 12-1. “Guys were open. Guys were in rhythm.”

Saturday’s game was the first for LC since Dec. 16. For the Warriors, Johnson said, live action was a break from their daily post-holiday routine.

“This is the first time we’ve been able to go five-on-five since we got back from Christmas,” he said. “It was good to be able to go five-on-five, go up and down, have officials, have people in the stands. I know they’re tired of listening to nothing but me.”

Every Warrior scored with Damek Mitchell leading the way with 30 and Jaxon Hughes adding 27. Each had seven 3-point goals – two shy of Bob Sobotta’s nine in the 1988-89 season. Joining them with double digits on the afternoon were Conner Moffatt (19), Khalil Stevenson (16), Trystan Bradley (14), Hodges Bailey (14) and Jake Albright (11).

Stevenson’s 11 rebounds led the Warriors and he was just short of a triple-double with nine assists. Moffatt had 10 rebounds as LC dominated 56-20.

“I was pleased with how we played and the contributions from everyone,” Johnson said. “Credit to our guys, they maintained focus the entire 40 minutes.”

And the didn’t deter from their mantra.

“Regardless of who the opponent is, respect the opponent,” Johnson said, “and play hard.”

Custom DaQuan Jones Jersey Large

It was not the absolute best of the Tennessee Titans.

In a way, though, Saturday’s 20-13 victory over the New England Patriots in a wild-card matchup at Gillette Stadium was the best representation of what these Titans are as a whole.

A team that relied too much on its defense early in the regular season and then rode a high-scoring offense into the playoffs late in the year got quality contributions from every aspect of the roster as it earned a spot in the divisional round. They were outgained but not outgunned. They gave up some plays but not a lot of points. And they made the most of the moments that mattered most.

As a result, Tennessee will play at Baltimore next Saturday with a spot in the conference championship on the line. The victory ended the championship reign of the Patriots, who won Super Bowl LIII last season and had gotten at least as far as the AFC Championship game each of the last eight years.

“We didn’t hand them anything,” coach Mike Vrabel said. “That was the one thing … they feast on bad football. We didn’t hand them anything and I don’t think our guys spent too much time staring up at those banners.”

There was some good from the offense. In particular, there was Derrick Henry and the line. The NFL’s leading rusher maintained his momentum from the regular season and rolled to a franchise playoff record 182 rushing yards on 34 attempts, which was more than enough to offset a surprisingly pedestrian performance in the passing game.

There was some good from the defense. In particular, there was a second-quarter goal-line stand that forced the Patriots to settle for their second field goal of the opening half. It was the second time in three red-zone possessions that quarterback Tom Brady and New England’s offense failed to score a touchdown, and that ability to dig in close to the goal line offset the fact that the Patriots produced 10 plays of more than 10 yards on their first four possessions.

“This team believes in each other,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “We believed in each other all year, and it’s come through trial. We’ve been in situations like this – tough games, tight games – and found a way to make a play and win. … We were able to do that (Saturday) night.”

The goal-line sequence, three attempts to run it in from the 2-yard line or closer (linebacker Rashaan Evans made two tackles and defensive lineman DaQuan Jones made one), was the turning point.

Up until then – with 2:16 to play in the first half – the Patriots had scored on three of their first four offensive possessions, compiled 199 total yards and led 13-7. After that, seven possessions netted just 108 total yards and only one crossed midfield (New England got as far as the Tennessee 47). The Patriots’ final play on offense was an interception that cornerback Logan Ryan returned nine yards for a touchdown with nine seconds remaining.

“They made some key plays in critical situations,” New England coach Bill Belichick said of Tennessee’s defense. “In the red area on third down, ultimately those plays were probably the difference in the game.”

It was also after the goal-line stand that the Titans turned to Henry in earnest. They put together a seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that gave them the lead at halftime. Those seven plays were six Henry runs for 53 yards and one Henry reception for 22 yards.

There was little else for offensive coordinator Arthur Smith to do given that Tannehill and the passing game – particularly the wide receivers – fell well short of the standard they established over the preceding 10 contests. Tannehill completed just eight of 15 passes for 72 yards, and his leading targets were backup tight ends Anthony Firkser (two receptions, 23 yards) and MyCole Pruitt (two receptions, four yards).

Firkser contributions were particularly notable given that his first catch went for 12 yards and a touchdown that put Tennessee ahead 7-3 in the first quarter. His second was an 11-yard gain on third-and-8 with 2:54 to play, which allowed the Titans to run precious time off the clock.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” Henry said. “We knew it was going to be muddy. We just had the mindset to never keep up [and] keep playing together in all three phases.”

Custom Brett Kern Jersey Large

Brett Kern is finally starting to get the recognition he deserves. This year he was voted to the Pro Bowl and named first team All-Pro. Yesterday he was the Titans second best weapon behind Derrick Henry. The Titans posted this video on Twitter earlier today. I thought it deserved it’s own post here at MCM:

The last punt was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life. The special teams units as a whole were fantastic last night. There was so much talk heading into this game about how much of a problem the New England special teams were going to be. The Titans had absolutely no issues with them.

Custom Dennis Kelly Jersey Large

When the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans square off in Week 15 for first place in the AFC South, there will be two brothers standing on opposite sides of the field.

On one sideline will be Titans tackle Dennis Kelly, and on the other will be Kelly’s brother Tim, who is the offensive coordinator for the Texans.

Twitter reacts to Titans Wild Card win over Patriots

This isn’t the first time the two brothers will be pitted against one another in the Titans-Texans rivalry, but it is the first time that Tim Kelly will be the offensive coordinator for Houston. In previous years, Tim was an assistant to Texans head coach, Bill O’Brien.

According to Mark Lane of Texans Wire, Tim does plan on catching up with his brother on the field before the game, but prior to that both Dennis and Tim are too busy preparing to beat each other in the upcoming game at Nissan Stadium on Sunday.

“During the week, we’re both pretty focused on taking care of business,” Kelly said. “I’ll make sure I go and say hello to him before the game.”

Also per Lane, there is expected to be about 60 people specifically attending the game to root for the brothers, but Tim joked that Dennis would have to pay for his tickets.

Even with the importance of this game and everything that is in the balance, Tim made sure to note how proud he is of his brother.

“It’s a pretty cool situation to be able to watch your brother play in the NFL, let alone have to prepare against him and get ready to play him,” said Kelly. “So, very proud of everything he’s accomplished and it’s definitely a pretty cool moment to be able to see him on the other sideline, that’s for sure.”

Dennis finished as the No. 18 tackle in the NFL last season, per Pro Football Focus, as he was filling in for an injured Jack Conklin.

Kelly got some time as a starter at left tackle this season during Taylor Lewan‘s four-game suspension, but has since been relegated to a backup role after Lewan’s return in Week 5.

That hasn’t diminished Kelly’s importance, though, as the Titans have found out first hand just how important it is to have such a talented tackle like Kelly as depth with the injuries they have sustained along the offensive line throughout the season.

Kelly, who is set to be a free agent in 2020, is just one of many players the Titans have to make a decision on next offseason. And, with the Texans possibly looking for help on the O-line in 2020, there’s a possibility that Tim and Kelly are together in Houston next season.

Custom Taylor Lewan Jersey Large

Ahead of the New England Patriots’ AFC Wild Card matchup with the Titans, Tom Brady posted a lion-themed hype video to get his teammates and fans pumped for the playoffs.

Let’s just say that the hype video didn’t pan out exactly how Brady would have hoped.

The Titans defeated the Patriots, 20-13, in Foxborough — sending the Patriots into an offseason of uncertainty. But in the meantime, the Titans’ Taylor Lewan is enjoying the Patriots’ loss.

Shortly after the game, Lewan took to Instagram and posted his own version of Brady’s hype video. He included the caption: “You wanted hyenas you got (expletive) hyenas. #ForTheBoys! #NoBadDays”

The final frame of the video included the final score because of course it did.

The Titans face the Ravens in Saturday’s Divisional round.