Stating that the Tennessee Titans season didn’t go according to plan in 2020 is an understatement. One year after ‘getting hot at the right time’ as they say in 2019 and sneaking into the NFL’s postseason, the two-tone blue rattled off 11 wins in 16 games to clinch the AFC South’s title and a home playoff game, but they were ousted in that one by those pesky Baltimore Ravens.
This obviously wasn’t the desired result as Tennessee had fought their way to the AFC Championship Game one year prior, so now the question is this. What’s it going to take to put it all together i.e. carve out another double-digit season and make another deep playoff run?
Tennessee Titans make moves but still get no love for their linebackers.
During this offseason, the goals were clear, especially from a personnel standpoint. Find a long-term answer at the right tackle position (and a complement for A.J. Brown at wide receiver). Fix an ailing pass rush. Strengthen the linebacker corps.
Tennessee did the latter and gave themselves some extra options by adding Bud Dupree, Ola Adeniyi, B.J. Bello, Justin March-Lillard, and Justus Reed at various points of the offseason. They added Monty Rice and outside linebacker/defensive end hybrid Rashad Weaver in the selection meeting.
Tennessee figures to be better at the second level in 2021, but the stat gurus over at Pro Football Focus aren’t impressed. They slotted Tennessee at number 18 in a recent ranking of the league’s 32 linebacker units. Here’s what Sam Monson, the writer of this one, had to say on the matter.
Jayon Brown came in at No. 12 in PFF’s linebacker rankings, but former first-round pick Rashaan Evans has failed to develop as expected. Evans hits like a Mack truck, but he often fails to put himself in the right position and has struggled in coverage most of all, allowing a catch on 79.7 percent of the passes thrown his way in his NFL career. Third-round pick Monty Rice may have an opportunity to earn that job sooner rather than later.
Though much of that can’t be debated, we’ll still agree to disagree for now. The Tennessee Titans, if nothing changes roster-wise, will take 15 linebackers into training camp. Let’s see how guys develop and reassess at that point.
Landing at 18 means eight other AFC teams ranked higher including all four of their division rivals. The Indianapolis Colts finished at five. Darius Leonard probably has a lot to do with that. Indy’s followed by the Houston Texans, who finished eighth, and the Jacksonville Jaguars, who landed one spot ahead of Tennessee at 17. Let’s hope the Titans use this as some bulletin-board material and this spearheads their defense to a nice showing in the coming regular season.