But What About The Defense?
While Tannehill and the skill guys are busy lighting up opposing defenses, the Titans defense will be busy shutting down opposing offenses. The loss of Logan Ryan proves to matter little to a Tennessee secondary absolutely stacked with talent. Kevin Byard keeps doing what he’s been doing since he was a rookie, while Adoree Jackson takes the leap from great to elite, and Kristian Fulton proves to be a draft steal by winning Defensive Rookie of The Year as a fulltime starter.
Speaking of awards, Mike Vrabel gets one as well for NFL Coach of The Year. Not just for leading the Titans to a 12-4 record (official prediction, why not), but for leading a defensive unit that has turned into one of the NFL’s best, without the help of a defensive coordinator.
On the shoulders of Vrabel’s leadership and playcalling, the third-year head coach leans on an elite secondary to create turnover after turnover, while using his defensive coaching experience to create a Tennessee front seven that proves to be greater than the sum of its parts.
Rashaan Evans and Jayon Brown continue to be great as middle linebacker partners in crime, and finally, get some of the national recognition that they deserve. Jeffery Simmons manages to shine from Jurrell Casey’s shadow along the interior defensive line, and with another strong season from Daquan Jones, makes up for the missing experience from whoever the third defensive lineman proves to be.
But maybe even more impressive, Vrabel will manage to turn the Titans pass-rush into one of the best units in the NFL. Harold Landry took major strides in his second season and will continue to build on his skillset and break double-digit sacks now that he has a formidable pass-rush partner in Vic Beasley, who experiences a career renaissance with Tennessee and looks more like the NFL’s leader in sacks that he was in 2016 than the inconsistent player he has been for the past couple years.