The Tennessee Titans sit at 1-4 heading into Sunday’s clash at Nissan Stadium with the Atlanta Falcons.
And while head coach Ken Whisenhunt’s job security has been the main talking point over the past couple of weeks, the Titans’ objective at this point is rather simple.
They have to play better football.
There’s no easier way to explain it. After such a promising start to the season in a 42-14 win over Tampa Bay in Week 1, the Titans haven’t played well. And that’s putting it mildly.
Sure, questionable coaching decisions have contributed to that, but ultimately, the Titans have not executed when it has mattered most. Good players find a way to make plays and this team has not made enough of those plays to win.
The stretch of four straight home games will come to an end this weekend when the Falcons come to town, and unfortunately, Atlanta is the toughest test that the Titans have faced thus far during the home stand.
After getting off to a hot 5-0 start, the Falcons suffered their first loss of the season in a Week 6 showdown with New Orleans.
So, not only are the Titans getting a 5-1 Falcons team, but they’re getting an angry 5-1 Falcons team.
Atlanta is the type of team that the Titans could be. There is nothing overly flashy about how the Falcons do things. They just go out and take care of their business. First-year head coach Dan Quinn has instilled that type of mentality in his team, and right now, it’s working.
The Titans need that mentality. They need a similar approach to each game. When you watch Atlanta, you see a team that feels that it’s going to find a way to win.
However, when you watch the Titans, you feel like you’re watching a team that isn’t always sure. And how could you really blame that feeling under Whisenhunt? It’s a stat that has been thrown around a lot, but there’s no denying the facts. Tennessee is 3-18 under his leadership, which is beyond abysmal.
For players that have been on this team since last season, it’s hard to forge that type of mentality when you are losing week after week.
The record doesn’t mean much at this point. At 1-4 and with no massive improvement in sight, the Titans are miles away from thinking about the playoffs. Now, it’s just a matter of playing better.
Few Titans fans expect this team to go out and deliver a statement win against the Falcons. However, the Titans can still go out and deliver a statement.
Losing by four touchdowns to a Miami team that had fired its coach a few weeks before the game was a low point. But how do you respond from that? The answer to that question is what will be what defines this team going forward.
If the Titans come out and play with energy and a sense of determination that we haven’t seen this season, then at least there’s a glimmer of hope even if the game still ends in Atlanta’s favor.
On the other hand, if the Titans come out and look like the same team that walked off the field after a 38-10 shellacking from the Dolphins, there’s no reason to believe that anything will change while Whisenhunt is in charge.
Beating the Falcons would be great. But given where the Titans are now, we’ve reached the point where visible progress may mean more than anything else.
A team that believes in its head coach will come out and fight with all it has to prove a point. Will the Titans do that against Atlanta?
The answer to that question may decide Whisenhunt’s future in Nashville.