Here we go again with another senseless take on the Tennessee Titans to try and wrap our heads around.
There have been some really poor takes on the Tennessee Titans’ prospects for the 2019 season, and this one on the website Sportsnaut is right up there with the worst of them.
In an article trying to predict all the last place teams from each division in the NFL, Sportsnaut editor and Forbes contributor Vincent Frank quite frankly missed the mark on the Titans.
Not only does he predict the Titans will finish in last in the AFC South, he also believes that “things are not pointing upward in Nashville.”
"Marcus Mariota. At some point, Tennessee will have to realize that the former No. 2 pick is not the answer. That could come during a make-or-break 2019 season. Mariota has tallied 24 touchdowns compared to 23 interceptions for the past two seasons. He’s holding this team back, and it’s going to lead to a last-place finish. That’s magnified by the lack of proven weapons on offense and a defense that boasts high-priced free-agent busts Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler. Things are not pointing upward in Nashville."
And, to help make some sense of this blatantly lazy write-up, Frank admits he rushed it and wasn’t exactly in his right mind when he wrote it.
Now it’s all starting to come together.
Where do we begin with this Tennessee Titans take?
It’s kind of tough to say a team’s arrow is pointing down when said team has gone 9-7 three years in a row and now sports the best roster it did in any of the previous three seasons. With that said, this team still almost made the playoffs in 2018 with Blaine Gabbert filling in for Marcus Mariota.
That line is perhaps the worst in the entire write-up.
You can certainly make the argument that Mariota has held this team back in recent years, but there are a ton of disclaimers in that statement. Mariota has dealt with numerous offensive coordinator changes in four years and he had to fight through a nerve injury in his elbow last season.
Despite that aforementioned elbow injury, he threw a career-low eight interceptions and finished with a career-high 68.9 percent completion rate as he took 42 sacks and was constantly under pressure. He also finished with the 4th-best adjusted completion percentage when under pressure (72.5).
Coming into 2019, Mariota is healthy and has the best offense around him since being drafted. Furthermore, he has bulked up in order to avoid falling victim to injuries that have no doubt slowed him during his career.
Those unproven weapons Frank talks about consist of wideout Corey Davis, who took a step forward in his second year with a career-high 891 yards and four touchdowns, and arguably one of the best wide receivers to come out of the 2019 NFL Draft in Ole Miss Product, A.J. Brown.
Beyond those two, Mariota has experienced options like slot receiver Adam Humphries, who broke 800 yards last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and a returning Delanie Walker, one of the better tight ends in all of football.
Mariota only had one of those four players for all of last season, so there’s no question that not only is Mariota’s receiving corps. improved, but it’s the best he has ever had. We can also talk about a revamped offensive line that Pro Football Focus ranks as the No. 4 unit going into 2019.
As for Butler, it’s kind of hard to label him as a bust after just one year, and while it wasn’t a great first season, Butler did manage to turn things around near the end of 2018. He even made PFF’s list of “Second-half stars,” earning an overall grade of 80.2 from weeks 10 through 17.
Ryan has provided a steady, veteran hand at slot corner and was ranked as the No. 34 cornerback in the NFL last season, per PFF. He consistently puts together solid seasons and will no doubt do that again in 2019, with a ton of talent and help behind him.
Overall, the Titans defense is about as deep as any in the league, especially when you talk about the linebackers and secondary. And they still have Jurrell Casey running things upfront.
The real beef with these Tennessee Titans takes
Listen, it’s not that these Titans “hot takes” hurt our feelings, because they are commonplace at this point and we are used to them. It’s just that they make no sense.
The least some of these “analysts” could do is some research before putting these things out, instead of just regurgitating the same tired narratives that the media continuously spits out over and over again.
As I continue to say, it’s just lazy.