The lesson the Tennessee Titans should take from the NFL playoffs

Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Tennessee Titans Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports /

For the first time since 2018, the Tennessee Titans have spent January watching the playoffs instead of participating.

From 2016 to 2021, Tennessee Titans fans got to watch the steady progression of a team that rallied from five wins in two years to an AFC Championship game appearance. After half a decade of progression, fans are now at their lowest after the team finished the season with one of the worst losing streaks in franchise history.

With failure comes change and we have already seen Mike Vrabel fire GM Jon Robinson, OC Todd Downing, OL coach Keith Carter, and more. From an organizational standpoint, it looks like the franchise has made its changes and will be going forward with this group.

As the team tries to quickly rebuild itself into a playoff contender, I can’t help but look at the playoff teams and see the common thread between them.

Tennessee Titans need to support their quarterback

In an ideal world, the Tennessee Titans would have an offensive-minded coach leading the franchise. Since the Titans made their AFC Championship appearance in 2019, there have been eight coaches to take their team to their Conference Championship game:

1. Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs (3 times)

2. Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals (2 times)

3. San Francisco 49ers (2 times)

4. Sean McVay, L.A. Rams (1 time)

5. Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers (1 time)

6. Bruce Arians, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1 time)

7. Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills (1 time)

8. Nick Sirianni, Philadelphia Eagles (1 time)

7 of those 8 coaches came from offensive backgrounds with the sole exception being the Buffalo Bills’ Sean McDermott. Since the Bills have only been to the AFC Championship Game once, that means that 11 of the 12 appearances over the last three years have come from offensive-minded HCs as well.

That actually isn’t the lesson that the Tennessee Titans need to learn, but it is part of the equation. What they need to learn is that this season proved that quarterbacks matter, but not as much as everyone thinks.

Out of the 14 playoff teams, only 2 of them feature QBs who were inside the top 5 by their team. More than half of the playoff teams started quarterbacks that they either traded for, signed in free agency, or drafted outside of the first round.

In fact, the Super Bowl is a lock to feature a first-round AFC quarterback facing off against a non-first-round NFC QB who has been surrounded by an incredible amount of talent.

If a rebuild is coming, the Tennessee Titans shouldn’t feel any pressure to trade up into the top 5 to draft a quarterback. In fact, the last three times that a team has traded into the top 5 for a quarterback those teams have ended up with Mitch Trubisky, Sam Darnold, and Trey Lance, which is a pretty terrible endorsement for the fans that want to trade up.

Focus on rebuilding the offensive line and adding more talent to a promising young group of pass catchers, don’t throw resources at the third-best quarterback in the class without a system in place for him to succeed. If a quarterback you truly believe in falls into your lap, then take him but don’t give up the world to gamble on a bet that hasn’t paid off in a long time.