The pressure is beginning to mount for the Tennessee Titans.
The Tennessee Titans are coming off one of the better years this town has seen in almost a decade. The fans were excited at the beginning of last year, and are even more ecstatic for the beginning of this year. The pressure is starting to build.
The last time the Titans had a winning record was the first year of the Mike Munchak regime. After that year, the expectations were starting to rise. We soon found out that that particular team was not ready for the pressure that came with a winning record. Following a 9-7 season, the Titans went a whopping 6-10, and the fans were once again disappointed. The next several years were just as disappointing, with the team not having a winning record until last year.
Preparing through Free Agency
The Titans are preparing to go into the most pressure-filled season that this football team has seen in a long time. Players and fans alike are expecting this team to have a winning record and possibly win the division. The free agent additions were geared towards improving the defense and special teams. Highlighted by Logan Ryan and Johnathan Cyprien, the Titans look to improve a defense that got torched in the secondary last year. Daren Bates and Brynden Trawick look to change a special teams unit that lost the Titans multiple games in 2016. In free agency, the Titans were looking to fill holes on the team and help deal with the pressure that this team will face this year.
Preparing Through the Draft
Pressure is building for Marcus Mariota and the Titans offense. Coming off of a stellar year, they are expected to break out even more than they did last season. Jon Robinson used the draft to help the offense deal with the pressure that they will face this year. Corey Davis was the 5th overall pick in the NFL Draft, and the first receiver to come off of the board. He is dynamic, explosive, and is expected to come in and produce right away. If you want to learn more about how he fits into this offense check out Luke Worsham’s article here. Wide receiver Taywan Taylor and tight end Jonnu Smith are two other guys that are expected to come in and contribute on offense.
Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson is the Titans’ second pick in the first round. Jackson is expected to come in and help the improving defense right away, but that is not all he will help with. Jackson will most likely return punts and kickoffs for this team. When he gets the ball in his hands, he is electric. Check out one of his highlight videos. Even through the draft, Robinson looked to fill this team with speed and durability; two things the Titans lacked last year. All of these draft picks are going to get on the field at some point this year. The rookies are trying to prove that they are NFL worthy, while dealing with the pressure that this team has on it to perform at a high level this year.
Time for a Change
The Tennessee Titans fan base is starting to grow once again. There are fans that have never wavered in their loyalty. There are also fans that will cheer for the team when they are winning, and are nowhere to be found when they lose. Unfortunately, there are more fans that jump on the bandwagon than there are loyal fans; it is just how sports work. In most cases, in order for a football team to succeed, they must be pretty good when it comes to playing at home. If that particular team doesn’t have a loud home crowd cheering them on, it is hard for a team to be dominant there. Fans are expecting the team this year to be very good, so I am expecting the first couple of home games to have an extremely raucous atmosphere. Fans will be loud and proud.
But what if the team doesn’t get off to a good start? Whether we like it or not, the fans will start to disappear out of the stadium. The stadium will not be full, and the crowd will not be loud, therefore having no effect on the other team. And if there is no effect, there is no home field advantage. In recent years, the Titans have not been very good at home. It is now time for that to change. Last year was the first time the Titans have had a winning record (5-3) at home since the 2011 (5-3) season. It would be huge for this franchise if this team could put together two back-to-back winning seasons at home. The Titans need to come out and dominate their opponents in their own building in order for some of this pressure to let up, or the stadium will become empty once again.
The National Media
The National Media has built up this Titans team to be one of the best in years. If you watch NFL Network or ESPN, you usually never see the Titans being mentioned. But this offseason, you have seen and heard talks about the development of Marcus Mariota, how good the offensive line is, and DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry in the backfield. This week, Peter King of SI.com has the Titans ranked 4th in his power rankings. This is the highest I have seen the Titans ranked in anything in a very long time. The pressure also comes down from the national media.
How This Team Will Respond
The pressure from the national media, fans, the front office, and everyone else is going to be felt this year by this football team. Most of the big holes on the team were filled this year. On paper, this team is primed for a breakout year. The fans are ready to attend and the players seem to have the right mindset. Can Mariota bounce back from his injury? Will the defense be that much improved from the previous year? Will our first round draft picks be ready to step in and make a difference right away? These are all questions that are still unanswered. The team has felt this pressure before, after the 2011 season. Poised for a breakout, they failed and went 6-10. This is a different team, from the GM to the last man on the roster. There is a different mindset and a different philosophy. But is this team ready for the pressure? And if so, how will they respond? Stay tuned.
If you like this article, check out my podcast The Post Route. Every week my co host and I break down something to do with the Tennessee Titans. The podcast can be found on any major podcast network. You can also check us out on Twitter @ThePostRoute17 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.