With Nine Games Left, Titans Optimistic About What's Ahead After the Bye Week


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans practiced on Wednesday, and then headed their separate ways for the bye weekend.

Seven games in, no one is satisfied with their work to date in 2018.

But with nine games left – and just one game out of the lead in the AFC South – the Titans remain optimistic about what's ahead.

"At the end of the day, the sky is not falling," safety Kevin Byard said. "We know we have a good team, but we have things we need to improve on, just like every single team in the NFL.

"We head into the bye week knowing we can win this division. It is not the time to hit the panic button or anything like that. We have done some good things, but we need to clean up some of the things that are getting us beat. We need to be more consistent."

The Titans are 3-4 at the bye, with two of the losses coming by a single point. They trail the Texans (4-3) in the AFC South, and are tied with the Jaguars, also 3-4. The Colts are 2-5.

Titans have wins over the Texans and Jaguars already, and will see them both in the second half of the season, in addition to two meetings vs. the Colts.

On the horizon is a Monday Night Football game against the Cowboys on November 5, followed by a home game vs. the Patriots.

"I just think there has to be a level of urgency on the team that 'We have to get going. We can't afford to lose any more games,'" Titans running back Dion Lewis said. "But the positive is we are just one game behind in the division. We are still in this thing – we are not out of this by any stretch of the imagination.

"We know we're a talented team. Nobody is down, nobody thinks we're a terrible team. Every game has been close but one. … But we have to do a lot of things better."

After seven weeks, the Titans are ranked 30th on offense (17th rushing, 30th passing). Drops, inconsistent play, and an underwhelming run game on too many Sundays, have held the team back. Quarterback Marcus Mariota has three touchdowns vs. five interceptions.

On defense, the Titans are ranked 10th overall (18th vs. the run, 8th vs the pass). The team has struggled stopping the run at times, and there have been too many big plays allowed, including two in Sunday's loss to the Chargers.

The Titans started the season at 3-1, but have since lost three straight.

"We're disappointed at being 3-4 obviously, that is No.1," linebacker Brian Orakpo said. "But I have confidence in this team, and we're going to find ways to improve."

Titans players met with reporters before heading into their bye weekend. (Photos: Gary Glenn)

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