The Tennessee Titans have been 9-7 for nearly half a decade at this point. Yet in 2019, they finally turned a corner when switching quarterbacks and made it to the AFC title game.
It was the near-perfect way to end the season. Derrick Henry was red-hot, Ryan Tannehill was an elite quarterback, and the Titans were among the best teams in football. The only thing more perfect would have been winning the Super Bowl.
What’s important, though, is how the leadership responds to the momentum. Titans’ General Manager Jon Robinson, in this case, is that leadership, along with his head coach Mike Vrabel. How did they respond to the run? Poorly.
The highlights of this offseason were re-signing Tannehill, who deserves every bit of it and if you want to know why you can read up on this piece, and re-signing the face of the franchise, Henry. That’s significant because now you’re returning your main guys, and most of your offensive starters.
However, aside from those two moves, the Tennessee Titans did nothing to help themselves get past the AFC title game in 2020. They were stagnant this offseason, and that is alarming.
Robinson signed Vic Beasley, which at this point is our biggest offseason addition, and we see how that is going so far. Good news is, Beasley did do some work on the field today at practice. Pass rush is crucial to make sure guys like Patrick Mahomes don’t change the entire game with one big play.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) January 21, 2020
I am not saying plays like that won’t happen with a better pass rush, but it gives you a better chance to stop him before he even gets going. The Titans will be meeting guys in the playoffs like Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes, and Lamar Jackson, so it is vital.
With the recent news of Jadeveon Clowney ghosting teams, it seems unlikely he will land in a Tennessee Titans jersey in 2020. There is no way the Titans will commit to $15M or more per season on a guy with injury history who did not participate in any training camp activities.
That is a huge loss for Jon, who kind of went all in on landing Clowney after not going pass rush in the draft. Now, he will be asking Vrabel, who’s calling the shots defensively this season, to do what he can with what he has, which isn’t much.
There is a chance Harold Landry or Rashaan Evans steps up, and hey, maybe they get lucky and Beasley can show up week one and go back to his former self. But, if they are depending on Beasley to give them a better than mediocre pass rush, they are in trouble.
Now at this point, you’ve heard all the opinions about the Titans pass rush, but this goes beyond that. The Titans did not improve anywhere else on the field other than maybe kicker after the signing of Stephen Gostkowski.
They traded Jurrell Casey, and let Logan Ryan walk. Both aren’t bad decisions, but they didn’t get any better afterwards. The Titans did not get much worse with those moves either, as rookie cornerback Kristian Fulton and second-year defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons may end up being good.
But, in Casey’s sake, it’s hard to replace a 5-time Pro Bowler, and now you have a rookie where Logan Ryan, a veteran, used to be. Typically when teams stay stagnant after a big run, they find it hard to continue being competitive because other teams find ways to get better.
The Titans seem to be banking on their young talent this season, that would explain the Ryan, Casey, and Delanie Walker decisions. But, if the young talent doesn’t step up and deliver, the Titans could find themselves in some trouble.
Let’s hope Landry, who has shown some promise, can step up and be the pass rusher the Titans need. Let’s hope they can continue being a Super Bowl contending team. But, the Tennessee Titans finally had a chance to go from good to great this offseason and, on paper, they blew it.