Tennessee Titans 101: What to know before talking about the team
By Will Lomas
2019 Titans defense
Success is such a hard thing to deal with because at the end of the day, even falling back to above-average looks like a dip in production. This was the case for the Titans defense in 2019.
In 2018 the defense was deeper at most positions and players like Wesley Woodyard, Brian Orakpo, Derrick Morgan, and Jurrell Casey all either had a better season than they would in 2019 or they retired after the 2018 campaign.
So it may not come as a surprise that the defense that played against Kansas City in the 2017 playoffs is MUCH different than the defense that played against Kansas City in the 2019 playoffs.
In fact, heading into 2020 the only starters from the 2017 playoff defense are Adoree Jackson and Kevin Byard and the entire coaching staff is different. So if you have only been watching the playoffs the past few years, then you really don’t know much about the current roster.
The good news though is that the talent is absolutely there and the Titans have youth and talent at every level of the defense. Just look at this list:
-Kristian Fulton, CB (21 years old)
-Jeffery Simmons, DL (22)
-D’Andre Walker, EDGE (23)
-Derick Roberson, EDGE (24)
-Harold Landry, EDGE (24)
-Rashaan Evans, LB (24)
-Adoree Jackson, CB (24)
-Jayon Brown, LB (25)
-Kevin Byard, S (26)
The only starters older than that are Daquan Jones, Malcolm Butler and Kenny Vaccaro and in that group, only Butler is the only one who isn’t in his 20s.
If you want an impact player at every level, I think Kevin Byard is clearly the DB to look at, then I would give the nod to Brown and Landry.
-Byard is the NFL’s leader in interceptions over the past three years with 17 and the next closest player has just 13.
-Brown is one of only a handful of young, off-ball linebackers who have had double-digit TFLs, QB hits and pass deflections over the last two seasons. In fact, the only younger player to hit those marks is former first round pick, Tremaine Edmunds.
-Landry led the Titans in TFLs and sacks last year despite being asked to do drop in coverage and stunt around (which is not the forte of a pass rusher who wins with speed) and from the 2018 NFL Draft class, only Sam Hubbard has more sacks the Landry who didn’t even start as a rookie.
You could easily argue for guys like Rashaan Evans or Jeffery Simmons at either of those spots, but their impact is a little more nuanced and it is hard to accurately describe in a 101 class.
After an overview of the offense and defense, should we talk about how the Titans made it to the AFCCG? Were they just lucky?