No one in the Tennessee Titans’ passing offense has shined this season, but whether fair or unfair, Geoff Swaim has been extremely disappointing. His in-game performances have been so underwhelming that some are calling for the Titans to replace the seventh-year tight end just four weeks into the season.
Alex Kay of Bleacher Report recently released a list detailing one player every NFL team should bench. For Tennessee, Swaim made the list.
"The Tennessee Titans may be regretting letting tight end Jonnu Smith walk in free agency. Geoff Swaim, Smith’s replacement, has had difficulty living up to the lofty bar set by his predecessor. The 28-year-old has been almost a non-factor in the passing game, catching just five of his seven targets for 37 yards…Swaim simply doesn’t seem capable of giving this team more than some average blocking capabilities."
If it makes Tennessee feel any better, Jonnu Smith isn’t exactly basking in the sun in New England. He’s received a chilly welcome having recorded just 74 receiving yards on ten targets.
But Swaim is doing much worse. He’s played 61 percent of offensive snaps so far and made a minuscule impact in Tennessee’s passing game. Which makes sense, since Swaim is a blocking TE first and pass-catching TE second.
Fourth-year tight end Anthony Firkser has to get healthy or as close to one-hundred percent as possible, and he has to get healthy now.
Can the Tennessee Titans get anything out of Geoff Swaim?
The Titans probably wanted to execute more protection schemes for Derrick Henry than passing schemes, but running the ball may not be enough to make a serious run once they get into the playoffs.
With A.J. Brown out and Julio Jones severely underperforming, Swaim has been expected to step up on the receiving side, but Tennessee may be asking the wrong guy here. The last productive receiving season Swaim had was in 2018 when he hauled in 242 receiving yards for Dallas.
Those days are long behind him, and Kay is right: Swaim may only be good as a blocker. Nothing more.
With Firkser returning from injury, Swaim may start to see his snaps decrease unless he quickly learns how to catch the ball.
Last season, Firkser set career-highs with 39 receptions and 387 yards, and at the going rate it seems like Firkser has a better chance at succeeding Jonnu Smith than Swaim does. Firkser has the higher upside, the ability to make bigger players, and he’ll feature more heavily in lineups if the Titans try to improve their passing offense.
Tennessee will likely continue running two-tight-end sets to balance Swaim’s blocking skillset with Firkser’s receiving talent, but as the season progresses, the Titans may end up needing the yardage more.