Could Tennessee Titans receivers have a historic season?
The first person to bring this up that I saw first hand was Eli Pittman on Twitter and I think it is really interesting to have this discussion.
Could the Tennessee Titans really have two wide receivers with 1,000+ yards next year? It isn’t crazy for a team like the New Orleans Saints who routinely have 5,000+ passing yards, but the Titans are lucky to get one receiver in quadruple digits based on their preferred style of offense.
Still, A.J. Brown has already proven that he could hit that number as a rookie and it only took him about 50 receptions without having a training camp. On the other hand, Corey Davis has either never been maximized in this offense or he has never been able to thrive with the talent around him.
With all eyes focused on Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown, this should be the year that Davis has his best chance to be the “other” WR and win his matchups.
The problem is, in an offense that loves to run the ball, how do you get enough passing volume to support two 1,000+ yard receivers?
How many targets would each need?
Let’s start with the easy one, A.J. Brown only needs 85 targets to hit 1,000 yards. Last year he was historically productive for a rookie, but let’s not act like everything went right for Brown.
As a rookie, he missed nearly all of training camp with a hamstring injury and still managed to start off with 100 yards in his first NFL game. Despite this early success, Brown only managed 348 yards in his first 8 games, a far cry from the 500+ he would need to reach 1,000 yards.
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After the bye week, Brown was a new WR with 100+ yards in 4 of his last 6 games. So while everything ended up well for Brown, it isn’t like he came out of the gates strong and with the easiest situation in front of him.
That number came out to be 7.94 yards per target. For reference that is slightly ahead of DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham and Davante Adams, while being right below Keenan Allen, Golden Tate and Brandin Cooks.
To get to 1,000 yards with that number you would need 126 targets which is a pretty massive number for the Titans. There have only been 7 players in Titans history with more targets than that, so maybe that is a reach.
The number I listed above is what he would need using the stats that he put up with Ryan Tannehill, but he actually had 8.7 yards per target over the course over the whole season. Maybe Marcus Mariota trusted him more or maybe Ryan Tannehill just had so much success throwing to Brown that he chose not to look to Corey Davis as often.
Either way, how many targets would he need if we use that 8.7 yards per target number? That actually drops it by 11 catches all the way down to 115.
That has actually happened 12 times in Titans history, but more interestingly he Titans have had seasons where two players each have more than100 targets. In 2016 and 2013 the Titans had guys who fit the bill and 200 targets is enough to cover the 85 that Brown would need and the 115 that Davis needs to get 1,000 targets.
Will the workload be there this year? I don’t know, it is going to be pretty hard to get the ball out of Derrick Henry’s hands. What I do know is that the offense as a whole should be as good as it was last year and more consistent given the retaining of the OC and QB.
If that has the positive effect that I think it should, then both of these guys could get their targets and if all goes well the Titans could have their second pair of 1,000-yard receivers since the Houston Oilers moved to Tennessee (the others were Drew Bennett and Derek Mason in 2004 if you were curious).