Tennessee Titans: 3 Things that went wrong, why they won’t reoccur

Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /
2 of 4
Tennessee Titans
Taylor Lewan (Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports) /

1. Tennessee Titans must evaluate their star players

Offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, safety Kevin Byard, and wide receiver Julio Jones had terrible games on Sunday and you could argue that the trio was responsible for four touchdowns either indirectly or directly.

Right now, everyone in the building should all immediately assume that what they saw on Sunday is what they are going to get from Lewan. He is recovering from an ACL injury and he clearly isn’t back to 100%.

The expectations for Lewan in 2021 should be that he turns out to be the left tackle version of what Jack Conklin was in 2018. Help him when you can and don’t assume he can isolate and neutralize good pass rushers. Right now Lewan doesn’t look confident in any aspect and he isn’t playing with the nasty disposition that got him to three straight Pro Bowls.

Can he get back there? Sure, just like Conklin did in 2019 and 2020, but until he gets over the mental and physical hurdles that come with that injury, he shouldn’t be put in the positions he was put in on Sunday.

Kevin Byard had an interception which was nice to see, but he was also someone that the Arizona Cardinals offense had picked out from the start. Whenever Byard was in man-to-man coverage or if he was going to be the only player in zone coverage against any wide receiver, the Cardinals targetted him.

Byard cannot cover wide receivers in one-on-one. The defensive coaching staff has to accept that and realize that he needs to be looking at tight ends or playing deep zone, otherwise he is going to get exposed.

While Lewan and Byard are being asked to do too much for what they currently are, Julio Jones is a complete question mark. On Sunday he dropped as many passes as he caught (3), one of which was a touchdown and another turned into an interception.

Jones needs to remember how to catch a football quickly, otherwise, he is going to make the Titans look bad for believing that he could be a receiver on par with A.J. Brown.