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The Tennessee Titans went from one of the best teams in the NFL to the team that’s wearing the league’s version of the Scarlet Letter.
The NFL and the NFL Players Association have launched an investigation into the team’s following of protocols during the Coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, ESPN’s Turron Davenport reported that a day after the facilities were closed and players were told by the team to not hold group workouts, there was a group workout at a local high school. No doubt that this was not the information the Titans wanted to receive regarding their players, but here we are.
The implications of this outbreak are big for the Titans and the NFL. Let’s start with the potential punishment for the Titans: The NFL, for their part, updated the protocols starting on October 1st, a day after the Titans had a group workout at the local high school. The Titans technically were not breaking any rules but given that we are in a pandemic, there will more than likely still be punishment doled out.
The punishments could include loss of picks, fines and even forfeitures of games if left to some NFL executives. If the NFL finds the Titans guilty, the forfeiture of a game or games could harm them on their pursuit of a title. That one game could be the difference between winning the division, making the playoffs or even homefield advantage.
After the potential self-imposed implications of missing games, losing money or draft picks, the other big question out there is the momentum of the Titans. The team was 3-0 when the outbreak happened.
They were playing well offensively, as Derrick Henry was running the football very well, averaging over 100 yards rushing per game. The passing game was looking good as well, with Ryan Tannehill hitting passes when needed and the Titans were making big plays in the passing game. When they reconvene, it will be interesting to see if they are still on the same page.
Chemistry is key but so are consistent things like exercise and practice. The Titans are heading towards two weeks of no practice and no access to their facilities. Players are having to workout at their house and although that may be some activity, it isn’t the same as being with the team trainer. Along with that, players need practice to prepare for games. The Titans can do all they can to stay as sharp as possible, but those reps are vital.
Hopefully the Titans will get news that they can return to their facility soon but even when that happens, they will have some things to conquer outside of just the opponent on the field. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Titans going forward and how things go when they resume.