NASHVILLE, Tenn. — With five-time All-Pro WR Julio Jones now in the fold, the Tennessee Titans‘ offense has the chance to be historically explosive in 2021.

However, the unit will have to do more than just look good on paper to reach its full potential. After all, a successful team isn’t just a collection of talent, but a collaboration of talent.

One obstacle that prevents a lot of well-built offenses from gelling and having success is ego. When a team has a bevy of quality weapons, it can become difficult to please everyone.

That’s a challenge Titans head coach Mike Vrabel understands.

“We understand there are a lot of people who, right now, we want to get the football to. They only give us one football,” Vrabel said.

Luckily for the Titans, their impressive collection of talent looks primed to morph into a collaboration due to the offense’s collective humility, a rare trait in modern professional sports.

HISTORY OF HUMILITY

Titans general manager Jon Robinson deserves a lot of credit for crafting an offense that’s full not only of talented players but players who have a team-first mindset.

Jones, the Titans’ newest addition, is perhaps the team’s clubhouse leader in terms of humility. Never one to ruffle feathers during his iconic 10 years in Atlanta, he’s always been an anti-diva, and he’ll bring that same persona to Tennessee.

“At the end of the day, you want to create a winning culture however you need to do it to get the job done,” Jones said during his first press conference since joining the Titans. “My whole career, I’ve never been a stats guy.”

He faces stiff competition, though, from a fellow Alabama alumnus: RB Derrick Henry. The reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year consistently relishes opportunities to praise and shine the spotlight on his teammates but can look almost uncomfortable when having to talk about his own superstar abilities.

WR A.J. Brown is also a big-time team-first guy by virtually any measure. When the Titans traded for Jones, Brown’s longtime idol, the third-year receiver offered to give up jersey No. 11, a gesture that Jones refused.

Also ranking very highly on the selfless scale are QB Ryan Tannehill, TE Anthony Firkser, WR Josh Reynolds and RB Darrynton Evans, each of whom figures to also play a major role in the success of the Titans’ offense.

Even new Titans offensive coordinator Todd Downing understands the importance of putting team over self.

“I’m not as interested in putting the ‘Todd Downing’ stamp on this offense as I am coming up with the right recipe for the ingredients we have,” he said.

This is precisely why the Titans offense figures to be truly special in 2021. The unit boasts a handful of big names and award winners, but everyone understands their role.

Simply having a healthy measure of humility may not be enough to get an offense full to the brim of star players to get on the same page, but it’s certainly a massive step in the right direction.

“I don’t think it should be that hard for us to gel together,” Reynolds said. “We’re all here to win games, and that’s the main point of everything—win games for the Titans. I don’t think it really matters who’s out there. Guys are going to be on the same page.

“If you do your job, the ball comes to you. There’s really no need to do anything extra.”

ALL-TIME POTENTIAL

If Reynolds is correct, then the Titans offense could be one of the NFL’s all-time best in 2021.

No, that’s not hyperbole.

Just one season ago, the Titans boasted the NFL’s third-best offense in terms of yards and its fourth-best in terms of points. Tannehill threw for nearly 4,000 yards, Henry eclipsed the revered 2,000-yard mark on the ground and Brown recorded his second-straight 1,000-yard receiving season.

All three of those players will return for the Titans in 2021 in addition to four out of the team’s five primary starters on the offensive line from 2020. Add someone of Jones’ caliber to that mix, and you’ve got a recipe for an offense that’s nearly impossible to defend.

“Defenses will really have to pick their poison,” Jones said during his first press conference since joining the Titans.

“If you want to put nine in the box, with a guy like Derrick Henry in the backfield, you have to respect him. That’s when me and A.J. can go to work outside. Then, if you only have eight in the box, Derrick’s going to go to work in the backfield.”

As long as the key members of the Titans’ offense continue putting the team first and avoid butting heads, life will be very difficult for defenses across the NFL in the fall.

  • Henry and Brown images: Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today
  • Jones image: George Walker IV/The Tennessean


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