After our divisional season review podcasts, we are now looking to the future and asking where each franchise goes from here. We put ourselves in the chair of being GM or the owner and going over what moves we would make in order to win a Superbowl, make the playoffs or just regain some pride…
Today we take a look at the Tennessee Titans.
Don’t forget to check out the AFC South podcast where we talked to Adam Foxcroft from the Long Snappers Pod and get their thoughts on them!
How Did Last Season Go?
Last season has to go down as a disappointment considering a new OC in Matt LeFleur was brought in to steer the ship with Mike Vrabel to a new exciting offence, separate from the “exotic smash-mouth” stuff that was rammed down our throats. That said, another winning record and the third straight season of 9 wins (which was good enough for a playoff birth in 2017). The signing of Dion Lewis probably didn’t work out how Tennessee wanted it to and neither did the progression of Marcus Mariota. Mr Wet Wet Wet as we call him on the podcast, had multiple injuries lingering throughout the season, leading to Blaine Gabbert getting some playing time.
It’s fair to say that the defence carried the Titans this season in most games and have the rare accolade of being a team to post a shut out (vs Giants) but also be shut out too (vs Ravens). 3rd best in terms of defensive points allowed and 6th worst in terms of points scored tells it’s own story about the Titans season (shoutout to Kevin Byard for the 66yard special teams trick play touchdown!).
At the time of the article, the Titans have a healthy $23m in cap space and own the 19th overall pick in the first round of the 2019 Draft (coupled with pick 51 in round 2 and pick 83 in the 3rd).
Some of the time I wonder if Titans HQ is like the film get out where once you’re in, you can’t escape (suitable film title when you think about it).
That’s the short way of putting that nothing is troubling the exit door.
The saviour is here! Ryan Tannehill is going to fix all of the problems at QB.
No, but seriously, Tannehill as a backup is not bad insurance for when Mariota struggle with injury again this season. May actually be a smart move if they wish to dump Mariota who is on his final leg of his Rookie contract.
A few signings on both sides of the ball include slot receiver Adam Humphries coming over from Tampa who apparently preferred them to New England despite them offering more money. Rodger Saffold agreed to a 4year, $44m deal to help with the offensive line, one of the best graded units coming in to the 2018 season.
Cameron Wake joins on the defensive side of the ball from Miami with a 3yr $23m deal and a player they’ve managed to keep in free agency saw Kenny Vaccaro re-sign too to the tune of 4yrs $26m (also want to shout out that they have a player called Dee Liner on the defensive line, I kid you not).
Outlook for Next Year
This year hinges all on Marcus Mariota.
Yes he has another new OC to listen to, but this year it’s Arthur Smith. He has already been at the Titans previously as the Tight End’s coach so hopefully the transition will not be as painful as Mariota’s arm injuries suffered in 2018. It’s going to be interesting to hear the vibes coming out of camp about him because whilst he could easily be extended in terms of contract, it’s not too farfetched to imagine a world where Mariota is a free agent in 2020.
The defence is here to stay and should be the main reason why Titans win the games they do in 2019, I am not sure the offence will be able to put them in a position to eke out 1 or 2 more wins that would put them in serious consideration for a division title.
That said, don;’t be surprised if the Titans tinker with the prospect of drafting a WR or even a Tight End to go along with Davis and Humphries to try and ensure opposing defences respect balance on their offence.
As said above, whilst the Titans D will put them in consideration as a wildcard team, I’m not sure the offence is going to hold up their end of the bargain.
Henry is in a contract year so it will be interesting to see how much they use him (haven’t we been here before?) and whether they can finally get some consistency going on offence in terms of production and stability at the HC position. Arthur Smith shouldn’t have too many problems implementing what he wants and knows the personnel well so bedding in period shouldn’t cause too much concern for Titans fans.
Surely we couldn’t have another 9-7 season could we?
I reckon we will.
Marcus Mariota – No, thank you.
Derrick Henry – RB2 ceiling – 4th rnd pick
Dion Lewis – RB3 – 6th rnd pick
Corey Davis – WR 3 – 5th rnd pick *Potential BUST alert*
Adam Humphries – WR 3 – 7th rnd pick
Delanie Walker – TE1 (aren’t they all!?) – double digit rounds