When the 2021 NFL offseason began, the Tennessee Titans made a concerted effort to do two things during the free-agency period and the most recent NFL Draft. They wanted to fill a few roster holes, and that helped them achieve success with another of their goals, getting tougher on defense.
Key acquisitions during the free-agency period (Jackrabbit Jenkins, Denico Autry, and Bud Dupree) coupled with wise selections during April’s selection meeting (Caleb Farley, Monty Rice, Elijah Molden, Rashad Weaver, and Brady Breeze) has a lot of the Tennessee Titans faithful feeling better about a defense that couldn’t get to the opposing quarterbacks and couldn’t stop anyone from the throwing the ball all over the field.
It appears that their efforts haven’t impressed everyone.
The Tennessee Titans defense is ranked in the NFL’s bottom tier.
At this point, no one really needs the spill on who Pro Football Focus is and what they do, right? Love them or hate them, they keep reinventing ways to keep us interested in what it is that they have to say.
They recently ranked all 32 NFL defenses, splitting them into five tiers. When they were done, the Tennessee Titans finished among the worst, landing in tier five. They received a slightly more favorable ranking than their rivals, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Houston Texans. Still, if you’re a fan of the two-tone blue, you have to be asking yourself how a defense that’s clearly better than they were a season ago (they couldn’t get much worse) continues to get the short end of the stick on rankings like these.
Just in case you’re curious, here’s what Sam Monson, the writer of this one, had to say:
"Tennessee’s defense was a problem for the team last season, and though they made a lot of changes this offseason, few of them are sure bets for this season. Bud Dupree was the team’s big free-agent signing brought over to address the pass-rush, but Dupree has had one season in the NFL with a PFF pass-rush grade above 62.0, and benefitted from one of the highest rates of unblocked and clean up pressure in the league in Pittsburgh. Caleb Farley has absurd potential at cornerback but was a medical red flag and rookie cornerbacks in 2020 were beaten for an average passer rating of 113, so expecting him to transform the secondary in Year 1 is optimistic."
Rounding out the worst of the worst in tier five were the Las Vegas Raiders, the Detroit Lions, the New York Jets, and the Atlanta Falcons. The Indianapolis Colts finished in tier two if anyone is interested.
If what PFF is saying is accurate, we can expect there to be a few more shootouts in the AFC South during the 2021-2022 season. We’ll see if a retraction is written when the Titans have a much better statistical showing than they did in 2020.