The Tennessee Titans proved last season they’re a force in the AFC, after essentially ending the New England Patriots dynasty and then knocking the Baltimore Ravens (the top seed in the AFC in 2019) out of the playoffs.

Tennessee lost in the AFC Championship game to the Kansas City Chiefs, the eventual Super Bowl Champs, but by then the Titans’ message had already been delivered — don’t take the team from Nashville lightly, they’re here to make some noise.

Expectations will be high in 2020 for the Titans. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is back on a longterm deal. As is running back Derrick Henry, who became a legitimate superstar in 2019.

Everyone will have to do their part in 2020 if the Titans are finally going to get over the 9-7 hump in the regular season and earn a higher playoff seed (some home games in the playoffs, or a bye week, would certainly help Tennesee).

And safety Kevin Byard, who signed a five-year extension with the Titans just before the 2019 season, is ready do his part of the defensive side of the ball. The former third-round pick made it clear on Monday during a Zoom call with reporters that he wants Tennessee’s secondary to be the best in the NFL in 2020.

The Titans’ secondary isn’t far away from where Byard wants it to be. In fact, Pro Football Focus recently ranked all 32 secondaries entering the 2020 season and they have Tennessee at No. 8.

From PFF:

Kenny Vaccaro was Byard’s safety partner last season. However, he could be pushed for a starting spot by Amani Hooker, who marginally outshined Vaccaro on his 335 snaps as a rookie before struggling during the playoffs.

Logan Ryan departs from the team’s 2019 cornerback unit, but the team brought in veteran Johnathan Joseph and drafted LSU’s Kristian Fulton. Fulton may be the best zone cornerback in the draft and was a steal in the second round; he has the ability to make game-changing plays on the football in coverage, and he should push to start right away.

For Byard, there was at least a serious consideration of not playing in 2020 because of COVID-19. Not having Byard would’ve obviously been a major blow to the Titans’ secondary, but ultimately, after conversations with his family, the dynamic safety decided to play this season.

The Titans have the tools to be one of the best teams in the NFL in 2020. They just have to find a way to get through the regular season without losing seven games. And then figure out how to beat Patrick Mahomes. But they can cross that bridge when they get there.

Featured image via Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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