The return of NFL regular-season football brings the return of a Big Blue View tradition, a ‘5 questions’ post with a writer from the opposing team’s corresponding SB Nation site. With the New York Giants facing the Tennessee Titans in Week 1, we are talking to Jimmy Morris Music City Miracles. Check out the odds for this matchup courtesy of our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Ed: How big a loss for Tennessee is Harold Landry? How will the Titans try to overcome that?
Jimmy: It’s a huge loss. Landry played almost 90 percent of the Titans’ defensive snaps in 2021. That’s a big number for an EDGE rusher. Landry not only had 12 sacks, but he was a big key in the run defense as well. There is no way to replace what he does for this defense.
The biggest key to overcoming this injury is going to be Bud Dupree. The Titans gave him a big contract before the 2021 season. He struggled early in the season and ended up going on IR with a core injury. He looked much healthier when he returned from that injury. The Titans need Dupree to be the player he was his last year and a half before the ACL injury.
They also have a second-year guy in Rashad Weaver that will be forced to take on a bigger role. He missed most of his rookie season with a broken leg, but they liked what they saw from him in his rookie training camp and this training camp.
Ed: Are you at all worried that Derrick Henry, who missed nine games last season, might not be as effective this year or handle as much of the weekly load? That perhaps the injury might start a trend?
Jimmy: I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about that, but have you seen Derrick Henry? That doesn’t look like a guy that is going to have trouble carrying a weekly load.
In all honesty, we know what the data says about running backs that are his age and have handled as many carries as he has. It tells us that it will be the start of an injury trend. Can King Henry be the guy that is the outlier? He has been in pretty much every facet of his career. The Titans reworked his contract last week to give him an extra $2 million this year. It also added void years to the end which make it harder for them to cut him after this year. They seem to have confidence that he isn’t done yet.
Ed: Obligatory Malik Willis question. Can the Titans get through this season without being forced to pull the plug on Ryan Tannehill and play Willis?
Jimmy: Yes. I don’t think we see Willis this year unless Tannehill gets hurt. People have forgotten how good Tannehill has been for this team because he struggled last year and was terrible in the playoff game. I give him a bit of a pass for the regular season last year because there were so many injuries on offense. He showed up to this training camp with a renewed passion and was really good in camp.
While the ceiling for Willis is high, you could see in the preseason there are still plenty of things that he needs to improve on before he is ready to be a starter in the NFL. To his credit, he made huge strides from preseason game one to game three. There will be a legit QB competition in the 2023 training camp.
The other thing to remember is that Willis was a third-round pick, so there isn’t the same pressure to get him in there that there would be if he was a first-rounder.
Ed: If you could take one player off the Giants roster and put him into Tenneseee’s lineup, who would it be? Why?
Jimmy: I’d take Kenny Golladay. The Titans receiver room is really thin. They have Robert Woods coming off of a torn ACL and rookie Treylon Burks who had an up and down offseason. Those guys have the ability to be really good, but there are question marks and no depth behind them. The Titans need a guy that can stretch the field. I know things were rough for Golladay in his first season with the Giants, but there is big play ability there. That would be a huge upgrade for this offense.
Ed: As I type this, the Giants are 5.5-point underdogs. Who wins? If the Giants are going to win, what is that likely going to look like?
Jimmy: I’ll take the Titans to win by a touchdown, 24-17.
If the Giants are going to win it is going to be because the Titans offense can’t get in a rhythm. There are a lot of new pieces on this offense and they were pretty bad last year. Tannehill also had some turnover issues. If he throws a couple of picks to set up a short field it could be tough for them to overcome.