ESPN calls the Tennessee Titans offensive line one of the NFL's most improved units

Los Angeles Chargers v Tennessee Titans
Los Angeles Chargers v Tennessee Titans / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

Don't shoot the messenger here, but ESPN published an article on the eight position groups in the NFL that have improved the most from 2022 to 2023. That list miraculously includes the 2023 Tennessee Titans offensive line.

I re-read the article three times, and this isn't a typo. Not only does ESPN have the Tennessee Titans as the most improved offensive line, but they also have them as a top-12 offensive line in pass protection and run blocking.

Here is a quote from Aaron Schatz's analysis:

"OK, this is a strange one. The Titans' offensive line has been in a bit of flux due to injuries, suspensions and guys moving in and out of the lineup. And yet, the Titans have improved from 26th in PBWR last season to 11th this season, and from 16th to 11th in RBWR as well."

Analytics have a place in the NFL, but if analytics are telling you that the Tennessee Titans offensive line is one of the most improved position groups in the NFL, then you need to be looking at different numbers.

I'm sure that they put a lot of time into trying to build this model, but it just doesn't hold up compared to what we have seen.

How does anyone think this Tennessee Titans offensive line is good?

Schatz explains that Andre Dillard has been an improvement over Dennis Daley at left tackle, even though he has been a disappointment. Even though Daley was horrific last season, I'm not sure that Dillard has been better.

Comparing the two, in 8 games this season Dillard has allowed 8 sacks and 9 QB hits. Over the course of the entire 2022 season, Daley allowed "just" 12 sacks and 9 QB hits, meaning that Dillard is on pace to be nearly twice as bad in pass protection as Daley when it comes to results beyond the analytics.

The analysis also says that the interior is about the same as it was last year, which I would argue against as well. For the most part, the interior offensive line has been really solid and probably a better group overall than the 2022 group even when Ben Jones and Nate Davis were healthy.

Chris Hubbard has been very solid this year and he seems to be a big factor in the improvement in the analytics. Still, this is a classic case of the numbers on the screen not matching the product on the field.

The Tennessee Titans have incorporated analytics into their personnel evaluations and that is a good thing, but things like this serve as a great reminder that those numbers should just be used to reinforce what you see on the field and not as the be-all-end-all in evaluation.