It’s been a rough year for a franchise that posted six consecutive winning seasons, reached the playoffs four times, won back-to-back AFC South titles in 2020 and 2021, and was the conference’s top playoff seed in 2021.
The Tennessee Titans will be the only team in the AFC South with a losing record this season. Mike Vrabel’s club has yet to win a divisional game in 2023, something it hopes to change on Sunday when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars.
With a 5-11 mark, there haven’t been a ton of positives. On offense, rookie quarterback Will Levis has shown some flashes, and running back Derrick Henry remains one of the better players at his position in the league. On defense, EDGEs Denico Autry (11.5) and Harold Landry (10.5) have both racked up double-digit sacks.
There is one more positive for the Tennessee Titans that deserves a mention.
The Tennessee Titans have found their WR1
After seven standout seasons with the Houston Texans, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was dealt to the Arizona Cardinals in 2020. He played and started all 16 games that season, totaling 115 receptions for 1,407 yards and six scores. Due to injuries and suspension, he played in only 19 games with Arizona from 2021-22 and the franchise parted ways with the five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro.
Hopkins, who signed a two-year, $26 million deal with Tennessee in late July, has put up very respectable numbers in a passing game ranked 28th in the league for numerous reasons.
Three Titans’ players, quarterbacks Will Levis and Ryan Tannehill, as well as Henry, have combined to throw just 12 touchdown passes in 16 games. That’s tied for the second-fewest aerial scores in the league with the Steelers. Only the New York Jets (11) have combined for fewer TD passes as a team.
Of the 12 TD tosses, Hopkins has been on the receiving end on half of them and all of them from Levis. He easily leads the team in this category, as well is the Titans’ leading performer in terms of receptions (68) and receiving yards (1,011). Only Henry (11) has more total touchdowns this season for Vrabel’s club than Hopkins, and this duo has combined for 17 of Tennessee’s 26 offensive TDs.
Who knows what the Titans will look like in 2024? Will the team part ways with Vrabel after back-to-back losing campaigns? Regardless, Hopkins has proven to be a worthwhile addition to a club that can all the help that it can get on the offensive side of the ball.