The Los Angeles Chargers and Tennessee Titans both came into the 2019 National Football League season with aspirations of elevating their teams to the upper echelon of the league. Today, when they meet in Nashville, one of these teams may be in line to be the next squad to fire their coach.
A year ago, the Chargers were in the postseason mix and opened the playoffs with a win over the Baltimore Ravens on the road before losing to the New England Patriots in the Divisional Playoff round. The Chargers always seem to have enough to contend, but have never had enough to get out of the AFC and represent their conference in the Super Bowl.
Philip Rivers is threatening to go down as one of the best quarterbacks to lead his team that never got them into the Super Bowl. This season, the Chargers offense was waylaid by the holdout of running back Melvin Gordon. When he returned two weeks ago, his reception in the locker room was icy and his play on the field has contributed to a pair of Los Angeles defeats.
If the Chargers don’t win today’s game over the Titans at Nissan Stadium, the team may soon be shopping for a new head coach. Anthony Lynn has a solid record in his two seasons at the helm with the Chargers, 22-12, but has fallen on tough times this year. Over their past five games Los Angeles has lost four times, with their only win over the hapless Miami Dolphins.
The Titans could also be getting a bit antsy with their head coach, Mike Vrabel. He has not had the Titans excel the way management wanted after he replaced Mike Mularkey, who had taken the Titans both into the playoffs and won a postseason game before he was fired.
Last year, Vrabel missed the postseason and this year, they have a losing mark. In other words, two desperate teams are squaring off in Music City today and the survivor will live to see another day while the loser will be buried in the standings and almost certain to miss the playoffs.
There is little Lynn can do other than pled with his guys to get it together, while Vrabel has the advantage of more strings to pull. He is doing that on Sunday when he sits incumbent starting quarterback Marcus Mariota and inserts veteran Ryan Tannehill.
Tennessee acquired Tannehill from the Miami Dolphins during the offseason to add a solid backup to their quarterback position. It was certainly hoped that Mariota would step up his game and live up to his second pick in the draft status, but he hasn’t. Which opens the door for the eight-year veteran to win the job.
Tannehill was drafted by the Dolphins in 2012 even though he had played only one year at quarterback in college. They liked his natural skills and high intelligence, thinking he could learn the quarterback position at the pro level.
Seven years of disappointing results was enough for the Dolphins to pull the plug on the Tannehill experiment, but the Titans may get the benefits of his education in his first year with the team.
The Chargers are stumbling and hoping their current cast of characters can turn the tide. The Titans are struggling but have made a major change that at least for this week, and maybe well beyond, bodes well for the Titans prospects.
Qoxhi Picks: Tennessee Titans (-2½) over Los Angeles Chargers