After a successful regular season campaign, the Tennessee Titans came into the postseason with an 11-5 record, an AFC South Championship and the eighth player in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season.
They proceeded to lose in the first round of the playoffs, falling to the Baltimore Ravens 20-13. After such a disappointing end to a promising season, where does Tennessee go from here?
Offensive Line Woes
No run game could be established during that playoff loss- leading Tennessee rusher Derrick Henry was held to 40 yards on 18 carries. Even if Baltimore stacked the box against Henry, the line made zero adjustments to get going. And while the line only gave up a single sack, the pressure put onto Tannehill was some of the most he had dealt with since he spent a few seasons running for his life as a Miami Dolphin.
One disappointment in the line is in Tennessee’s first-round pick of the 2020 NFL draft. Former Georgia Bulldog Isaiah Wilson only played four snaps his rookie season, sitting out for various reasons (some COVID-related, some health-related). Tennessee GM Jon Robinson very publicly discussed his disappointment in Wilson during a media conference Wednesday:
Keeping Free Agents
Wide receiver Corey Davis, fresh off of a near-1,000 receiving yard season, has entered free agency with his contract ended as of last month. He will be joined in free agency by tight end Jonnu Smith, who finished the regular season with 448 yards on 65 targets. Robinson voiced his opinion on keeping the pair, saying that Tennessee will try to be competitive but the two are undoubtedly going to have suitors from other teams. If the Titans don’t keep the pair, they will have to look toward other free agents or the draft for offensive playmakers.
Defense Wins Championships
The Tennessee defense has helped Tannehill and co. quite a bit. The defense held opponents to an average of 27.4 points per game which bought plenty of breathing room for their offensive counterparts. However, there are points to be improved. Opponents rushed on average for 4.5 yards a carry against the Titans, which could indicate a lack-of-presence on the defensive line. One potential answer? J.J. Watt.
Watt became a free agent on Feb. 12, leaving the Titans divisional rival Houston Texans. While he is eyeing other teams, he’d be a good fit for the Tennessee defensive line. Tennessee defensive end Jack Crawford was signed to a one-year contract and will be entering free agency as well. Crawford accounted for only 28 total tackles and 2 sacks, which is incomparable to the dominance that Watt brings to the defensive line.
While Tennessee does have some issues to address, the team does look to be in good shape as the roster will retain Tannehill, Henry and leading wide receiver A.J. Brown. Rather than worry about rebuilding, the Titans are able to look to take the next step for the 2021 NFL season.