The Tennessee Titans special teams tragedies and triumphs

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

Happy New Year! It is a time for resolutions and new beginnings and the Tennessee Titans special teams unit will be hoping to make some positive changes in 2023.

Craig Auckerman’s unit has had a remarkably up-and-down year, but other headlines have grabbed the attention of Tennessee Titans fans over the last two months. So what is going on with the Titans’ special teams?

Well, one side of the ball is having a historic year.

Ryan Stonehouse has more than lived up to the huge shoes he had to fill when he replaced the legendary Brett Kern.

With an offense that leads the NFL in three-and-outs this season, Ryan Stonehouse has been their saving grace. Having a punter that can flip the field has been crucial, and it keeps the Tennessee Titans’ defense from fighting a losing battle of field position.

Stonehouse has quickly become one of the best punters in the league. He has been so good that he is on verge of breaking the NFL’s oldest record.

This has always been a possibility ever since we first saw Ryan Stonehouse blast multiple 70+ yard punts in the preseason, but the remarkable thing is that he has held his average well above the NFL record of 51.4 yards all season which he is well above at 53.

Ryan Stonehouse has been a bright spot for a special teams unit that has not always shown so brightly this year.

On the other side of things, the punt return team has repeatedly hurt the team in crucial situations. The circus act that has become the punt returner position has been a rotating cast of disaster.

-Kyle Phillips

-Amani Hooker

-Robert Woods

-Treylon Burks

-CJ Board

Kyle Phillips showed a lot of promise in the preseason, but that all came crashing down with two muffed punts in his first two games. Thus, the carousel chaos was underway.

Amani Hooker, who replaced Phillips after he muffed in the Bills game, muffed his first attempt as well, it did not lead to a turnover like Phillips’ but the uncertainty was clear.

Robert Woods then stepped in. He also turned the ball over on a fumble trying to return a punt against Houston in Week 7.

C.J. Board was also brought on, but his tenure did not last long after he fell victim to the injury bug that’s plagued the team for the last two seasons.

Most recently, Robert Woods has been returning punts for the Tennessee Titans, but there is no telling who will be back there against Jacksonville. No one has a firm grip on the job despite the coaching staff having an entire season to figure that out.

The uncertainty and disasters that the return team has been responsible for are in stark contrast to the steady and impressive work that Ryan Stonehouse has provided.

Despite the woes of the return game this season, Ryan Stonehouse’s success provides a much-needed bright spot for the Titans who have punted more than anyone in the league besides the much-maligned Broncos.

What Stonehouse is doing is a monumental feat (slight pun there definitely intended) and one that deserves your attention. As unbelievable as it might be there is still room for growth, as Stonehouse continues to hone his craft and the team adds to its already solid hands team.