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Cowboys at Titans: ‘Titans have one of the most incompetent offensive coordinators in the league’

We talked to an expert in Tennessee Titans’ football ahead of the game with the Cowboys.

Syndication: The Tennessean Andrew Nelles / / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Dallas Cowboys are prepping for a Thursday night game against the Tennessee Titans. The Cowboys have been playing some uneven football, but did get a big win last week over the Eagles. The Titans, on the other hand, have lost five straight games. That is among the reasons DraftKings Sportsbook has the Cowboys as 10.5-point favorites.

We talked to the fine people over at Music City Miracles about the current state of the Titans.

Blogging The Boys: So will the Titans play all their starters or are their certain players the team might end up resting this week? What do you think their approach will be?

Music City Miracles: My guess is that they will rest anyone who has a nagging injury. That list would include guys like DT Jeffery Simmons who has been playing through an ankle injury for a couple of months, DL Denico Autry who just returned from a knee injury, CB Kritstian Fulton who has missed the last three games with a groin injury, EDGE Bud Dupree who left the game on Saturday with a pectoral injury and S Amani Hooker who has missed the last two games with a knee injury. They won’t all be inactive but they have guys that wouldn’t be able to play in this one with injuries already, but those guys will play sparingly at most - again would be my guess.

The big question is Derrick Henry. He’s on the injury report this week with a hip injury. He finished the game on Saturday and didn’t appear to be injured. He’s going to fight to play, but I think they ultimately decide to rest him. They were in a similar situation back in 2019 with a game against the Saints. Henry had been playing through a hamstring injury for a few weeks and they made him inactive for that game. He was pissed.

BTB: What has gone wrong over the 5-game losing streak?

MCM: All the things. They have been crushed by injuries. For the second straight season they lead the league in players on IR and players used in games. Three of their opening day offensive lineman are done for the year and a fourth, RT Nicholas Petit-Frere, might miss this game because of an injury. They have also played a couple of games without five defensive starters due to injury. It’s hard to win games like that.

They also have one of the most incompetent offensive coordinators in the league in Todd Downing. He isn’t good at calling plays when everyone is healthy. He is a disaster when everyone is hurt. That’s why they average something less than 7 points per game in the second half of games this season. It’s tough to watch.

BTB: What kind of quarterback is Malik Willis? Give us his strengths and weaknesses.

MCM: To be honest, we haven’t seen many strengths from him, but to be fair, that isn’t entirely his fault. He is playing behind possibly the worst offensive line in the league - maybe in the history of the NFL. It’s really that bad. The Titans haven’t asked him to do much in his three starts. He has only attempted 49 passes.

His biggest weakness is his hesitancy to cut the ball loose when he does drop back to throw. He seems to be waiting for big windows to throw the ball into and he just isn’t going to get those in the NFL - especially on this team with a lack of weapons, bad offensive line, and bad play caller. The deck really is stacked against him.

The worst part about this is the Titans should be getting valuable time to evaluate him with Ryan Tannehill out, but the offense is so bad around him it is hard to tell what is a Malik problem and what is a problem because of the rest of the offense.

BTB: How is the fanbase feeling about the Titans in general? Is the focus on the playoffs, possible offseason changes, draft pick positioning?

MCM: There is one thing the fanbase is united on - Todd Downing has to be out at the end of the season. Besides that, the fanbase is pretty split on what they want from this season. Some people want to see them win the week 18 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars so that they win the AFC South for the third straight year and get a home playoff game. There aren’t very many people that think this team can do anything in the playoffs, but they understand the value of getting that home playoff game.

Then there are the people that want to see them lose out and get a better draft pick. It could end up being a pretty big swing because the Titans would end up behind some teams with a better record when it comes to draft positioning if they make the playoffs.

BTB: The Cowboys are big favorites (10.5 points), is that fair? Will the Titans win, lose, cover?

MCM: There is no doubt in my mind the Cowboys win and cover here. The Titans just can’t score points, and if they are missing 5 or 6 starters on defense, they aren’t going to be able to stop the Cowboys. This one will likely get ugly pretty quickly.

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