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Can't Miss Slants

Know Your Enemy: Tennessee Titans

Know Your Enemy marches on with the Tennessee Titans. Mike Vrabel returns as HC/DC and Arthur Smith runs the Titans offense as the OC. Tennessee went 9-7 in 2019 and made it all the way to the AFC Championship game by beating the Patriots and Ravens on the road. It was a surprise season for them as they made the switch mid-season from Marcus Mariota to Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill shocked the world and led the NFL in QB rating with a 117 rating and Derrick Henry ran wild in a contract year. The Titans look to continue that success in the AFC South.

Strengths

Run Game

The Titans have strong running back and really strong running back. They just award Derrick Henry with 4 year 50 million dollar deal after his 2019 season. Henry notched 1,541 yards at 5.1 YPC with 16 rushing TDs. He carried this team in 2019 and made life easy for Ryan Tannehill.

The Titans have good run blocking led by stud LT Taylor Lewan. Ben Jones was the 2nd ranked center in the league and Roger Saffold was the 6th ranked guard in the league. Nate Davis was a weak link at RG and the Titans lost stud RT Jack Conklin in free agency (Browns). Titans replaced Conklin in Round 1 of the draft with rookie RT Isiah Wilson. Titans traded for Dennis Kelly as a solid veteran RT backup.

The Titans run blocking should be strong again and Henry will run wild in 2020. Darynton Evans was drafted in Round 3 to take some work load-off of Henry after veteran and high-priced Dion Lewis failed and got cut.

Could be Strength or Weakness

Passing Game

The Titans run game opened up the passing game. Marcus Mariota failed after being the 2nd overall pick in 2015 but Ryan Tannehill finally lived up to his potential with a 117 rating, 22 TDs and 6 interceptions with 70.3 % completion in 12 games. AJ Brown had a great rookie year with 1,051 yard and 8 TDs. Top 10 pick from 2017 Corey Davis showed signs of life too with 601 yards and 2 TDs. Jonnu Smith is the top tight end with 439 yards and 3 TDs. Adam Humphries disappointed in the slot after a decent FA contract with 374 yards and 2 TDs. The depth is lacking at TE and WR but the Titans have plenty of starter talent for passing game success.

Ryan Tannehill got a huge contract this offseason and now has big expectations to live up to in 2020. He should be well protected, have a few weapons and have a very strong run game. Tannehill is set up for success again.

Pass Rush

The Titans were 12th in PPG allowed and return Harold Landry at OLB (9 sacks). Titans add Vic Beasley from the Falcons to be the other OLB. Titans got promise once healthy from 1st round pick Jeffrey Simmons but Simmons must replace long-time DT/DE Jurrel Casey. Casey was traded to Denver for cap room and will be missed by the Titans.

Rashaan Evans is growing as 2018 1st round pick at ILB but struggled in 2019. Jayon Brown played really well in 2019 at 20th ranked LB in the league. Landry is a good player and pass rusher and Beasley adds to pass rush

Run Defense

The Titans lose Casey but DaQuan Jone (30th ranked) is a solid nose tackle and Simmons has big DE potential in year 2. Jack Crawford was poor at DE on the other side though and the depth lacks. The LBs are solid though and the Titans run defense should be above average again in 2020.

Secondary

Adoree Jackson took a big step forward at CB. The 2017 1st round pick ranked 8th out 115 CBS. Jonathan Joseph and Malcolm Butler are veteran above average CBs and Kristian Fulton was drafted in Round 2 out of LSU. Titans have plenty of talent at CB.

Kevin Byard is a strong was 10th ranked safety in the league but veteran Kenny Vaccarro and young safety Amani Hooker both struggled in 2019. The Titans have the coverage ability to be a top 10 unit in 2020.

Overall

The Titans had great success in 2019 and want to take the next step. Tannehill will be the key again with a good run game and solid defense. The Titans travel to Minnesota in Week 3 and Green Bay in Week 16. Tennessee hosts the Bears in Week 9 and the Lions in Week 15. Like the Colts and Texans, the Titans could beat anybody or lose to anybody in 2020. They’ll be a tough matchup especially if you struggle in run defense.