Browns vs. Titans: 5 questions with Titan Sized


Sep 13, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) throws the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Tennessee Titans defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 42-14. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns will take on the Tennessee Titans on Sunday in the home opener at FirstEnergy Stadium.

The Browns broke a 10-game losing streak in home openers last season when they defeated the New Orleans Saints to avoid an 0-2 start.

Cleveland finds themselves in a similar situation this year as they are once again returning home looking to bounce back from a disappointing opening weekend and avoid an 0-2 start to the 2015 NFL season.

The Titans, on the other hand, come to town on a high note after rolling over Tampa Bay in the opener behind Marcus Mariota’s four touchdown passes.

To learn a bit more about the Titans, we reached out to Les Bailey, editor of Titan Sized, for a virtual Q&A about the current state of the team and what to expect come Sunday.

Question 1: Where does Marcus Mariota go after his debut against Tampa Bay?

Les: Mariota was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week after his performance in Tampa last Sunday and will be on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week, but when asked about the award his answer was “we’re 1-0.”

In addition, when talking to his high school football buddies back in Hawaii about his debut, one of the guys reminded him that he nearly threw an interception in his second drive.

Marcus has been in big games, won the Heisman Trophy and his entire support network, including his parents, are credited with keeping him grounded in reality and don’t let him get too high when he has success, or too low when he has failures.

Question 2: Former Browns’ running back Terrance West had issues in Cleveland; how is he fitting in so far with Tennessee? What is his role?

Les: Terrance West appears to be putting his time in Cleveland behind him, and has quickly become a part of this team. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt has said they wanted To draft West last year, but the Browns got to him before the Titans could.

When asked about facing his old team, West has been saying all of the right things about not carrying a grudge, and even had a conversation with the coaching staff about playing this Sunday. But you have to think he wants to have a big day against the Browns.

Whisenhunt hasn’t said anything about West’s role yet, but with Antonio Andrews gimped up, it looks like his role is to keep pressure on Bishop Sankey and be ready to play when Sankey struggles.

Question 3: Browns’ fans are familiar with defensive coordinator Ray Horton from his one (not-so-productive) season in Cleveland. What has Dick LeBeau been able to bring to the defense to help out?

Les: Even though Ray Horton is still here, Dick LeBeau is like the Keebler Elf. He does something with the Titans – I’m not sure what — but LeBeau seems to be in total control of this defense. I’m sure Horton has duties, but we never hear from him at the team’s news outlet.

I think Horton struggled last year to implement LeBeau’s 3-4 defense, but since the man himself arrived it appears to have started to click with the players.

LeBeau loves to confuse young quarterbacks and we saw what he did to Jameis Winston on Sunday.I expect that if Johnny Football plays on Sunday, there will be more of the same.

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The fact that LeBeau is in Nashville was the key to signing Brian Orakpo in free agency, with an assist from former Longhorn Michael Griffin.

Question 4: Outside of Mariota, who on offense should the Browns be most concerned about?

Les: We thought Mariota would start the season leaning on Delanie Walker when he got pressured, but with his keen ability to already read defenses and his quick decisions and release, we find him hitting all of his targets. With that being said, if Mariota can move the ball through the air, look for the running game to churn out some yards and move the chains.

I would expect a big day from Terrance West.

Question 5: Final prediction for the game?

Les: Titans, 24-17

Next: Injuries continue to cloud QB situation