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Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen: Chiefs have 'pick your poison' offense

The Tennessean (Nashville) logo The Tennessean (Nashville) 10/21/2021 Ben Arthur, Nashville Tennessean

Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen said the Kansas City Chiefs have a “pick your poison” type of offense. 

The Titans (4-2) host the Chiefs (3-3) at Nissan Stadium on Sunday (noon CT, CBS).

“It’s a fine line. Whenever they have multiple threats at different spots, you have to weigh the battle a little bit,” Bowen said Thursday of the Chiefs’ offense. “You’re going to have to take your chances where, at times, you’re going to have to hold up on some of those deep shots and understand what’s going on so that we can eliminate some of those shorter throws. 

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“It’s kind of a pick your poison so to speak at certain times," Bowen continued. "And I think being mindful of that within game, and also guys understanding, ‘Hey, I’m vulnerable to the shot in this call’ or ‘Hey, we’re a little more vulnerable underneath’ or ‘We have to be a little quicker matching some of that stuff.’ I think understanding the call and kind of where our vulnerabilities are with each call plays a factor, too.”

Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen watches his team warm up before an NFL Preseason game against the Chicago Bears at Nissan Stadium Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn. © George Walker IV / Tennessean.com Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen watches his team warm up before an NFL Preseason game against the Chicago Bears at Nissan Stadium Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn.

The reigning AFC Champion Chiefs have had a slow start to the season, but their offense is still one of the most lethal in the NFL. Superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes has speed on the outside at wide receiver, most notably wide receiver Tyreek Hill, and one of the league’s best route technicians in tight end Travis Kelce, who can gash a defense over the middle of the field. 

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Kansas City ranks first on third down, second in the league in passing yards and total yards, fifth in scoring and sixth in the red zone. 

The Titans will meet the Chiefs for the first time since losing to Kansas City in the 2019 AFC Championship game. 

“You have to be prepared for the unpredictable with him.” Bowen said of Mahomes. “He makes plays out the pocket with his feet. He buys time and he can throw it from every angle, off (either foot), no matter where he is on the field. I think you just have to do your best to keep him contained. Again, they got those fast guys on the perimeter. It turns into backyard football. When he gets out of the pocket, those guys are just looking to separate … It’s tough to keep up with them." 

The Titans will face a dangerous Chiefs passing attack while ailing at cornerback. Starter Kristian Fulton and first-round pick Caleb Farley landed on injured reserve earlier this week. Reserve Chris Jackson, who often plays in the slot, didn’t finish Monday’s game against the Bills with a foot injury. 

For reinforcements, Tennessee on Wednesday signed to its active roster defensive back Greg Mabin, who was on the Cardinals’ practice squad. Mabin, who’s made 34 NFL appearances (five starts), had a stint with the Titans in 2020 and was in training camp with the team.  

Veteran Jackrabbit Jenkins, Breon Borders and rookie Elijah Molden are the other cornerbacks on the roster.

“We’ve had guys out here who’ve been with us,” Bowen said. “Chris Jones has been with us, he’s been practicing, he’s been engaged in meetings. We got Mabin back, who’s been with us all spring (and) all fall. Obviously, Breon is there. He’s been in some games for us. We’ve got guys who are familiar with us, at least. It’s not like someone coming off the street and we have to get them ready. 

“I’m looking forward to seeing who kind of rises to the challenge and takes advantage of the opportunity.”

Ben Arthur covers the Tennessee Titans for The USA TODAY Network. Contact him at barthur@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter at @benyarthur.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen: Chiefs have 'pick your poison' offense

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