But take a deep breath, because that’s not our reality– far from it. What the Titans got instead was an offensive revolution in 2019, and one that can continue into 2020. Derrick Henry became a terminator, AJ Brown started getting Julio Jones comparisons, Arthur Smith became the hot new name in offensive play-calling (please don’t leave us, Arthur), and Ryan Tannehill took that chance that Vrabel gave him and ran with it, masterminding this revolutionized Tennessee offense.
Those guys that could have left if not for a mid-game quarterback change on October 13th, 2019, are all still with the team, and are all looking to finish what they started. The offensive core that set the league on fire for ten weeks of regular season play is back, and has a very real chance to be better than ever.
For every sign, warning, or preconceived notion of regression– there’s one glaringly obvious reason to think that the Titans offense can replicate a similar level of brilliance in 2020, or even one-up themselves. Familiarity.
A quarterback’s job is based so much around two big elements: trusting your personnel and understanding your offense. In 2019, Ryan Tannehill was a first-year Titan, with no prior work with any of the Titans playmakers, or any of the coaching staff. He spent most of the year as the backup quarterback, training with the number two offense. Until the day came, in the middle of the season, where he got called up as the starter. All he managed in a situation, with the deck stacked against him, was becoming one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the NFL.
In 2020, the odds are in Tannehill’s favor. He gets an offseason to grow in Arthur Smith’s offense, he gets practice time with the first-team offense to work on his timing and his trust with his players. And maybe above all, he gets the added benefit of the locker room being undividedly his from Week One.
The Titans are just eight months removed from playing in the AFC Championship, and holding a double-digit lead on the eventual Super Bowl champions, after actually beating them in the regular season. The Tennessee Titans team that will take the field in 2020 looks a lot like the same group that was one of the best in the NFL last season. The one that beat the reigning Super Bowl winners in New England, the one that beat the Baltimore Ravens and their MVP quarterback, and the one that remains the last team to beat the current NFL Champion Kansas City Chiefs.
Tennessee could be on a warpath right now, from Week One straight back to the playoffs. But before the season officially starts for the Titans, before we know for sure whether or not they’ll look the part, try to remember that this all started way before the 2020 season began.
The Titans of now, the ones who are looking to play for a Super Bowl, they were formed back in Week 6. Back on October 13th, 2019. After one small coaching decision from Mike Vrabel, one that put Ryan Tannehill in charge of the offense, was made during the worst game the Titans had all year.
If the Titans can do what they think they can, keep that day in mind as the day where it all started.