Could the professional football franchise in the Music City be this year’s version of the professional football franchise in the City of Brotherly Love?
I am writing this column at 7pm central time, following today’s Titans victory over the Eagles, so this piece is part “prisoner of the moment” but also has some indisputable similarities between Tennessee and Philadelphia.
Going into today, both the Titans and Eagles were 2-1. Both teams had been in low-scoring, grind it out affairs, that some could say were down right ugly. Both franchises hoping that their franchise quarterbacks would regain their form and their health. Both franchises led by young head coaches who are willing to roll the dice, go for it on fourth down, pull out the trick plays and flat-out gamble.
Coming from Philadelphia, I have first hand experience as to what the Eagles were able to accomplish last year. They finally won the Super Bowl and hoisted that elusive Lombardi Trophy.
The Titans certainly have a long way to go and we are only a quarter of the way through the season but this team is beginning to have the early resemblance of the team I covered from 2009-2015.
The 2017 Eagles were dealt all sorts of injuries. Jason Peters, Darren Sproles, and Carson Wentz, just to name a few. The 2018 Titans have also been hit with the injury bug. Tennessee has lost Delanie Walker and Jonathan Cyprien for the year. They’ve been without right tackle Jack Conklin the first few weeks and lost Marcus Mariota and Taylor Lewan for a stretch in September. That is the first similarity. Injuries. Too many of them for too many important players.
Here is the second similarity between the Titans and Eagles. Young, inexperienced Head Coaches, who spit in the face of conventional wisdom. Doug Pederson came to Philadelphia after being the “Offensive Coordinator” under his mentor Andy Reid in Kansas City. Fact is, Pederson didn’t call the plays all the time. It was Reid. He comes to Philadelphia and in year number two beats Bill Belichick in a chess match on footballs grandest stage. He goes for it on 4th down. He runs trick plays called “The Philly Special” and it works. And players buy in. Let’s look at Mike Vrabel. Year number one in Nashville. Young guy. Defensive Coordinator in Houston and didn’t necessarily set the world on fire with the Texans. He comes to Tennessee and is running fake punts for TD’s, going for it on 4th down, winning games and winning over a locker-room. Vrabel has guts. Just like Pederson.
It’s still VERY early and there are MANY things that can still happen and will happen. However, as we roll the calendar over to October, pardon me if I see some similarities in my hometown team and my new hometown team.