What Should Tennessee Titans Fans Be Thankful For This Season?

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 16: Derrick Henry /

Although the Tennessee Titans haven’t looked as dominant as many expected heading into 2017, Titans fans have much to be thankful for.

The early 2010s were a dark time for most Tennessee Titans fans. After several successful seasons at the start of the millennium, seven of the last nine seasons were .500 or less and the Titans cycled through several head coaches and various draft busts.

One of our site experts, Will Lomas, pointed out that one thing Titans fans should be thankful for is the continued success of Jon Robinson and his first two draft classes. This got me thinking that the Titans and their fans have many things to be thankful for this season, especially when compared to their losing ways of the not-too-distant past. The team has come so far over the past two seasons and it’s such a relief to get out of the league’s basement and compete for a division title again.

Here’s a few things Titans fans should be thankful for up to this point in the season.

A Much Improved Secondary

Over the last few seasons, the Titans secondary has proved an achilles heel and completely took the team out of games last season. In a year where the Titans missed the playoffs due to a tiebreaker, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that the abysmal secondary play kept the team from the playoffs last season.

During the offseason, GM Jon Robinson made a great effort to invest in the team’s defensive backfield. He paid Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan a large amount of money to provide the unit with a steady, veteran presence and lockdown coverage. Robinson didn’t stop there and added first round rookie cornerback Adoree’ Jackson to provide the team with a game changer in all three facets of the game.

After a rough start to the season, Jackson and Ryan have developed into one of the league’s better cornerback tandems. Both are sound tacklers and have provided the team with the pass coverage it has desperately needed over the past couple of seasons. Moreover, second-year safety Kevin Byard has developed into one of the league’s best safeties and he currently leads the league in interceptions.

The quick turnaround of the team’s pass defense has been a fantastic storyline to watch and bodes well for this team in the present as well as the future.

“The Streak” Has Ended

On October 16th 2017, the Tennessee Titans faced one of their most insurmountable foes and managed to come out ahead, signaling to the Titans faithful that this was not the same old Titans team. Other teams might dread a trip to Foxboro or to Lambeau Field, but for Tennessee fans, a game against the hated Indianapolis Colts was the culprit. Dating back to 2011, Tennessee had lost every single game against the Colts and it appeared to be a mental hurdle more than a physical one based on the relative strength of each respective roster.

The Titans missed out on the playoffs in 2016 due to their awful performance within the AFC South. The Titans have lost many AFC South games over the past few seasons despite the poor roster quality of each and every AFC South team. Tennessee’s 36-22 victory over the Colts finally ended the team’s losing streak and highlights Tennessee’s improved performance within the division and in games they are expected to win (minus the Miami Dolphins game).

Strong Future in the Passing Game

Coming off of Marcus Mariota’s worst game as a pro, many Titans fans have been pessimistic and are even suggesting that Mariota might not be the quarterback of the future. This is, of course, a gross overreaction that ignores Mariota’s body of work as a whole. Although Mariota could stand to improve his consistency and has struggled with injuries, the offense without him can not function in the slightest.

After a stellar season by Mariota in 2016 with few receiving threats outside of Rishard Matthews and Delanie Walker, Jon Robinson drafted three receiving threats in his first four selections of the 2017 draft. With the fifth pick, he selected Corey Davis out of Western Michigan to provide the team with a size-speed mismatch on the outside. In the third round, the team selected a speedy, quick receiver in Taywan Taylor to play out of the slot and an heir apparent to Walker in Jonnu Smith. The Titans were gifted with Eric Decker through free agency after he was released by the New York Jets, which provides the team with a steady veteran presence in the wide receiver room.

In comparison with the Titans receiving room in years past, it’s easy to be optimistic about the teams future in the passing game.

Tennessee is in Line for the Playoffs

A common theme in all of the above entries is that Tennessee has shored up several past weaknesses from the play of the secondary, to the performance in the division, to the talent in the receiving corps. All of these improvements have the Titans at 6-4, heading into a slate of four favorable matchups. Based on the poor records throughout the AFC, few teams will likely challenge Tennessee for a playoff bid should the Titans continue to build on their strong start to the season.

There are many ways in which the Titans have improved this season, which gives Titans fans many things to be thankful for, but the Titans’ playoff hopes are the summation of all of these improvements and are one thing that every Titans fan should be grateful for.

Next: Four Matchups to Watch in Week 12