The tight end position is arguably the strongest and deepest position not only on the offensive but the entire roster. The Titans’ heavy tight-end sets have capitalized on the various skillsets of Jonnu Smith, Anthony Firkser, and MyCole Pruitt.
Offensive Coordinator Arthur Smith, who was previously the Titans’ Tight Ends Coach, thoroughly understands the weapons at his disposal as he deploys the mismatches against opposing defenses.
First, Jonnu Smith is in the midst of a breakout season with his 13 receptions, 181 yards, and three touchdown season so far. Tannehill has looked Smith’s way consistently in the passing game with a team-high 20 targets. Not only is Smith coming on as a receiving option, but he has continued to be a good blocker in the run game.
After letting long-time veteran Delanie Walker walk in the offseason, Smith has nicely backfilled the role on the roster. His ability to stretch the field with his speed and win physical matchups has given the Titans a massive threat in the middle of the field.
Fisker and Pruitt, who are primarily deployed as run blockers, have also found more action in the passing game. Between the two, they have nine receptions and a touchdown. More impressively, they have corralled every target that has come their direction.
The Titans tight ends have allowed Tannehill to exploit mismatches against linebackers and forced opposing defenses to not only consider A.J. Brown and Derrick Henry in their game plans but also try to find personnel to stop Smith and company.
The Titans just need to continue finding creative solutions to get Smith involved in the game. In previous years, the Titans found Smith touches in the run game or in screens that have gone for big plays. I expect Vrabel to utilize the tight ends in more interesting ways moving forward.
Tight End Grade: A+