Tennessee Titans pass catchers were the best in the NFL on deep balls in 2019.
The Tennessee Titans were good at a lot of things last season and for the first time in a while, it felt like they were actually great at a few things as well.
One area where they were undeniably great, was the connection between the QB and the WR/TE 20+ yards downfield.
It’s important to look at things that the Tennessee Titans offense did well in 2019 because the group is so similar this season to what they were when they just missed the Super Bowl. They have really only lost two offensive contributors from last season, those being Jack Conklin and Tajae Sharpe.
Outside of running the ball, Tennessee was exceptionally good at taking shots deep and they were the only team in the NFL that had 0 drops on passes over 20 yards in 2019 according to PFF.
The Titans receiving corp is filled with players who are very capable deep threats. AJ Brown is the first that comes to mind for many because he is basically the starting point for any conversation regarding the Titans wide receivers. He was a catalyst for the Titans offense in 2019 and is probably the biggest reason the team was able to dominate at this stat.
It takes more than just one receiver to not drop any deep balls over the course of a season, though. Adam Humphries, Jonnu Smith, and Khalif Raymond each caught at least 75% of balls thrown to them last season.
Ryan Tannehill on deep passes
The Titans receivers have pretty sure hands, but what about the quarterback responsible for putting them in a good situation to catch it?
Pro Football Focus ranked Ryan Tannehill the 13th best deep passing quarterback in the NFL in 2019. According to PFF, Tannehill “didn’t make mistakes” on deep throws, and he didn’t have a single turnover on 37 deep pass attempts.
Of course, Tannehill didn’t replace Marcus Mariota until week 6 of the regular season in 2019, so we don’t have a very large sample size for what Tannehill is capable of aside from his time with the Miami Dolphins.
Ryan Tannehill wasn’t quite as good on deep passes with the Dolphins, he only completed 25% of deep balls in 2018.
The PFF statistic from 2019 was about drops, so while Tannehill had to do the work to get the ball there, the stat was only taken on plays when the ball was actually close enough to touch the receivers’ hands. It’s quite impressive that the Titans pass-catchers didn’t drop any deep balls in 2019.
Ryan Tannehill may not have had a direct impact on that stat, but he gave the Titans the confidence to throw down the field that they just didn’t have with Mariota in 2019. The QB change made a world of difference for the Titans last season, and if Tannehill can play like he did last season, I’d expect the Titans to be great once again on deep balls in 2020.