Tennessee Titans have a massive advantage that no one is talking about

Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: Nashville)
Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: Nashville) /

It isn’t hard to see why the Tennessee Titans trio of skill position players is driving all of the conversations about the 2021 offense. Julio Jones is almost a lock to end up in the Hall of Fame, Derrick Henry just cemented his case as one of the best running backs of the 21st century, and A.J. Brown is off to one of the best starts by a wide receiver in NFL history.

No one is saying that those three won’t produce the lion’s share of the Tennessee Titans’ production in 2021, but there is a big mismatch that everyone is missing.

That mismatch is inside in the slot where either Josh Reynolds or Anthony Firkser will line up for the majority of the season.

The Tennessee Titans have a size advantage that makes them lethal.

Last year, the trio of Jonnu Smith, Anthony Firkser, and Adam Humphries combined for 103 of the Titans’ 316 receptions. This year, Firkser and Reynolds are going to fill that role.

Where this group is different from the 2020 group is that Anthony Firkser and Josh Reynolds are both six-foot-two or taller and both are true receiving threats. No matter what you thought about Jonnu Smith and Adam Humphries, no one was really scared of them being big factors as receivers outside of the red zone.

Titans fans who have been clamoring for more Anthony Firkser and anyone who has taken a hard look at what Josh Reynolds should be able to do away from Jared Goff will know that those two are very real receiving threats.

That height and skill set are so important because last year 27 cornerbacks played 200 or more coverage snaps inside vs slot receivers. Out of that list, only four of those players were taller than five-foot-eleven.

With the vast majority of slot cornerbacks giving up at least three inches of height advantage to Firkser or Reynolds, it forces defensive coordinators to make tough choices.

They could add more size in the hopes of stopping Derrick Henry and competing with Firkser and Reynolds on passing downs, but that exact mistake is what ended the Tom Brady era in New England two years ago when Anthony Firkser beat man-coverage for a game-winning touchdown.

The other option is to stay small and take away the easy pass over the middle, but the problem is that now you are putting a smaller guy out on the field with Derrick Henry who has eaten small guys for breakfast.

light. Trending. Titans top 3 WRs after Julio, A.J., and Josh

This mismatch is just another example of how this Tennessee Titans roster is built to put incredible pressure on opposing defenses. Even if the retooled defense is going to look much better this season, it is the variety and top-end talent on the offense that will be the persona of this football team.