September 16, 2012; San Diego, CA, Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) hands the ball to running back Chris Johnson (28) during the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE
The Detroit Lions and Tennesse Titans are both looking to get on track when they face off on Sunday afternoon. The Lions may be 1-1 but they didn’t play their best game in getting the win over the Rams while the Titans enter at 0-2 following to blow out losses.
I got together with Justin Stewart, editor of Titan Sized, to get a feel for the matchup and the Titans from the Tennessee perspective. My thanks to Justin for taking the time to answer my questions.
1. The obvious storyline is the return of Jim Schwartz, Stephen Tulloch and Kyle Vanden Bosch. How much talk is that getting with Titans fans and how do they view those guys now that they have moved on from the Titans?
Justin Stewart: I don’t think it’s getting very much talk. Most Titans fans have no hard feelings against any of the them and mainly miss the days of Jim Schwartz here in Tennessee. They were both loved members of the Titans and have actually made a lot of fans fond of the Lions, seeming as that’s the place where half our players end up when they leave.
2. Chris Johnson has really struggled through the first two games. Is there reason to worry or are you confident he’ll regain his All-Pro form?
JS: Worry, worry, worry. Without the run game the Titans are completely one dimensional and have no chance of winning a game. We all argue over whether it’s Johnson’s fault, the O-lines’, or the offensive coordinators. It’s the most frustrating part of the Titans right now. I’m not holding my breath over the likelyhood of the Titans run game coming back to life any time soon.
3. With two blowouts through two games, do Titans fans fear they’re in for a long season and what has been the recipe for success against the Titans?
JS: People have started prepping their paper bags. The two blowouts were incredibly painful to watch and the Titans don’t seem to have any answer for what’s wrong with this team. They have a lot of talent. Something’s just wrong. The recipe for success has been working the middle of the field. The Titans are missing their starting MLB Colin McCarthy who was a huge part of their pass defense. If I’m the Lions, I plan on giving the Titans a healthy dose of my TE’s across the middle.
4. What do the Titans need to do to find some success against the Lions?
JS: They have to establish a run game. If they can get the run game going, the passing game will fall into place. They’ve been making QB Jake Locker shoulder the burden of the offense and it’s just not right. If they can get Chris Johnson going, things are going to fall into place for the Titans and they’ll have a pretty good looking offense.
5. What is your prediction for Sunday’s game?
JS: I have no idea. I’d like to think the Titans fix the run game and actually become a team to be reckoned with, but I just don’t believe the coaches will make the changes needed. No Titan fan is realistically going to watch this game expecting the Titans to win.
Lions 27 – Titans 14