We need to talk about the expectations for the Tennessee Titans offense in 2022.
Since Jon Robinson decided to trade AJ Brown on draft night, fans and media outlets have been calling for a dramatic regression for the Tennessee Titans offense in 2022, which I believe is a gross overreaction.
Let’s break down the changes in the offense in terms of what the Tennessee Titans lost and what they gained.
In order to actually make a fair comparison between the 2021 and 2022 versions of the Tennessee Titans offense, it is vital to note that the focus is on the passing game.
The most common argument for a decline is that the Titans will have a good running game, but no aerial attack to complement it. This is simply not true, but to show that I first have to explain what they lost that causes some to believe that there will be a significant drop-off. The Tennessee Titans lost:
WR1: A.J. Brown
WR2: Julio Jones
Pass catching TE: Anthony Firkser
Listing it, that looks like they lost significant receiving production, but looking at the actual numbers that each player tallied, it becomes clear that the 2022 Titans can easily reproduce these numbers.
In terms of receiving yards, A.J. Brown had 869, Julio Jones had 434, and Anthony Firkser had 291. This means that the Tennessee Titans in 2022 need to replace 1594 receiving yards to replicate what the Titans did last year.
Now that we know the losses, let’s talk about the additions the Tennessee Titans made, and why there should be optimism about potential improvement.
WR1: Robert Woods
WR2: Treylon Burks
TE: Austin Hooper
In order for those additions to replace what the offense lost, the Titans need each of them to total a wild sum of, oh wait, 533 yards each.
In the three years before Robert Woods tore his ACL, he totaled an average of 1096 yards. ESPN predicts that Treylon Burks will have almost 900 yards, and even after Austin Hooper had a down year in 2021, he still put up 345 yards.
If these numbers hold true this year, these additions would add up to over 2,300 yards. That would mean about 750 more receiving yards which would obviously be a significant improvement.
In all transparency, I do not believe that Treylon Burks will have almost 900 yards. I expect him to be in the 600 range because Mike Vrabel is hesitant to play rookies and the passing volume probably won’t be there to hit that target.
However, I also expect Austin Hooper to have a bounce-back year that will make up the difference in the actual total for Burks vs his projection.
Even with these toned-down expectations, the 2022 offense still outperforms the 2021 version. Additionally, this is without mentioning the impacts that could come from Kyle Phillips, Chig Okonkwo, an improved Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, and a much better scheme implemented by Tim Kelly.
While some may have distinct concerns about either Aaron Brewer or Jamarco Jones starting at LG, Roger Saffold was beginning to show an injury history that would have forced a back-up in the game anyway, and David Quessenberry was one of the worst pass blockers in the league last year.
This leads me to believe with Radunz starting at RT and either Jones or Brewer starting at LG, the health and consistency of the OL should greatly improve.
The 2021 version of the Titans’ offense was not spectacular. They ranked 17th in yards per game, 15th in points per game, and 24th in passing yards per game. While they looked good on the ground and ranked 5th in rushing yards per game, that area of the offense should be more efficient this year with Robert Woods and Austin Hooper being two of the best blockers at their positions.
When people think about what the Titans’ offense lost, I believe they are mistakenly talking about the upside that the team had instead of what they actually got.
They are talking about the potential that we all saw on the rare occasions where the trio of Brown, Jones, and Henry, were all on the field. If they actually watched the games, they would have seen a mediocre, wildly inconsistent offense that still was enough to get the 1 seed.
With an improving AFC, there are going to be challenges that the 2022 version of the offense is going to have to face, but there are plenty of reasons why this offense could be better than expectations and better than its 2021 counterpart.