One new advantage for the Tennessee Titans’ offense

Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports
Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports /

One glaring problem that the Tennessee Titans offense had last year was that their play-calling has been so predictable. Not only do you know that they are going to run the ball, you know when they will do it, and it smacked the team across the face many times in 2021.

While offensive coordinator Todd Downing was a big part of the problem,  it is also fair to say that the Titans just did not have enough talent to consistently scare opposing defenses last season.

Even when Derrick Henry, Julio Jones, and AJ Brown were healthy (which was a very rare occasion), there just were not any other threats that made other teams respect their offense as a top unit.

With Brown out of the picture, the Titans have done enough this offseason that their offense will be tougher to play against. Not only are the players they acquired a great fit for what they want to do as a unit, their abilities serve them in another area that the Titans have barely utilized recently, but now very much should.

Tennessee Titans can and must get more creative at the snap

Like many teams in the NFL these days, the Tennessee Titans are building their offense with players who excel once the ball is in their hands. Robert Woods is a perfect example of that, and a big reason why the Titans were willing to make the A.J. Brown trade is that Treylon Burks is a great yards-after-catch player.

Chig Okonkwo, who has been impressing ever since the beginning of OTA’s, showed in college that he is a problem once he has the football. Kyle Philips, who might just be the steal of the draft for the Titans, has great kick and punt return skills and has been extremely difficult to contain as a playmaker in practice.

As frustrating as it was that the Titans did not get more creative with pre-snap motion last year, you can at least give them a pass since they never had back-to-back weeks where the same three receivers started for an entire game. This year should be a different story.

Woods and Burks especially have been heavily involved in “jet sweep” plays throughout their careers, and Downing and Tim Kelly will have to take advantage of that if they want to maximize the Titans’ offensive potential.

Philips could definitely do that too, and not only could Okonkwo be a threat in the same way, but bringing him in would force defenses to adjust to a two-tight end set. With Derrick Henry, Austin Hooper, and Okonkwo on the field, defenses would be forced into bringing heavy personnel on the field. However, one of those tight ends went to the Pro Bowl twice because of their receiving ability and the other was the fastest tight end in the draft class, so that would be a big advantage for the Tennessee Titans’ offense.

Even if the Titans do not always hand the ball off every time they show jet sweep or some kind of other pre-snap motion, just using the threat of it will be beneficial to their offense. Last year, defenses could look at which receivers were on the field and they would know whether it was a pass or a run, but this season Tennessee should have the versatility and the depth to make things much more complicated.