Coming into the 2019-2020 season, the motto for the Tennessee Titans was to go from “good to great.”
However, after all the offseason talk, the Titans stumbled out of the gate to a 2-4 start to the season. Despite the shaky start, Tennessee was able to right the ship and turn a tough start into an AFC Championship game appearance. The team still needs to make improvements, but I believe this offseason the Titans can truly become a great football team.
It all starts in the backfield. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry are both free agents. Both players were keys to turning the season around and both deserve extensions. Tannehill will likely receive at least a franchise tag, but Titans fans shouldn’t mind seeing him get a multi-year extension. He is 31 years old, but he proved he can still play at a high level. I think anything between a one and three year deal would be a good move for the team.
On the other hand, it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that Derrick Henry is about to become a very rich man. The Titans need to make re-signing Henry a top-priority. I think a three or four year extension would be ideal. It’s quite possible that Henry will be the highest paid running back in the football history when he inks a new contract.
If Tennessee can keep both these players in the backfield, combined with the great play of the offensive line and receiving corps, the Titans offense will be dangerous next season.
Now, moving on to the defense. The secondary and linebackers stepped up in a big way down the final stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs. Logan Ryan is the only notable free agent from these positions. If the team can bring him back, there is no reason to believe the secondary won’t be solid again next season. Especially with a healthy Malcolm Butler returning.
The biggest weakness of the Titans’ defense is the defensive line. They were exposed in the AFC Championship against Kansas City. Tennessee was never able to get pressure on Patrick Mahomes without blitzing. This lack of pressure allowed Mahomes to sit in the pocket and let his speedy receivers get open.
Great playoff run for Titans. Two big road wins. Remains to be seen how sustainable this success is. Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry will both get big deals now. But Titans have zero pass rush. Has been most glaring issue all season. Can’t get to quarterback without blitzing.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) January 19, 2020
I think GM Jon Robnson needs to go after an edge rusher in the first round of the draft. Since they have a later first round pick, I could see them landing Curtis Weaver out of Boise State or possibly Yetur Gross-Mantos from Penn State.
Another issue the team is facing is replacing two coaches on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive back coach Kerry Coombs is heading to Ohio State and defensive coordinator Dean Pees announced his retirement on Monday. It will be up to Robinson and Mike Vrabel to bring in quality replacements for these coaches.
If the Titans bring back Henry and Tannehill, as well as bring in two new assistant coaches and a solid pass rusher, I think next season will be the year the Tennessee Titans will finally go from good to great.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports