How returning wide receivers could bolster the Tennessee Titans passing game

Los Angeles Chargers v Tennessee Titans
Los Angeles Chargers v Tennessee Titans / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

The Tennessee Titans are eagerly eyeing a Week 5 win over their fierce rivals, the Indianapolis Colts.

After an OT loss in which Matthew Stafford and the LA Rams, the Colts are sitting at 2-2 (just like the rest of the AFC South).

It should be interesting to Tennessee Titans fans that before the Rams decided to get conservative late in the third quarter, Stafford was torching the Colts secondary to the tune of 27/40 for 319 yards passing and 29 points.

Luckily, if the Tennessee Titans want to continue their success in the passing game, they’re going to have some extra help.

Week 5 could see both Treylon Burks and Kyle Philips return to the lineup. Each would be a huge addition to a Titans offense that already had a pretty successful passing attack last week against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Since we haven't had a chance to see these two on the field together in a year, here’s how they can be utilized for success.

How this lineup helps the Tennessee Titans deep passing game

With Deandre Hopkins as the WR1, and Burks back on the field as the WR2, the Tennessee Titans should be able to get even more out of one of the most underrated signings of the offseason, Chris Moore. Between those three receivers, the Titans have an overwhelming amount of deep shot potential.

On last week’s opening drive, Tannehill targeted Hopkins on a flea flicker that traveled nearly 65 air yards, but unfortunately fell just over his outstretched arms. A few drives later, Tannehill connected with Hopkins deep to the right on a fade route for 38 yards, moving the chains on a 3rd and 8 and generating the momentum that led to the first touchdown of the game.

Chris Moore has been such a pleasant surprise for Titans fans this season, and his stats truly pop off the charts. Moore is seemingly good for one or two massive plays every game; his average yards per reception sits atop the league at 33.5 and he boasts a 100% catch percentage on the season for on-target throws. 

Even more interestingly, Moore played 79 snaps combined in the two games where the Titans actually had a productive offense. On the other hand, in the two games Tennessee couldn’t even score a touchdown, and Moore played just 28 total snaps. Clearly, his presence on the field alone is opening things up for Tennessee.

Add Burks to the mix, and this offense could be seriously explosive. Everyone remembers Burks’ 70-yarder that catapulted the previously lifeless Titans down the field against the Chargers just two weeks ago. That was actually the longest air yardage pass of the season from any team, at 62.2 yards traveled. 

There is no reason why Burks shouldn’t be more involved in the offense, who is currently averaging two receptions per game on the season. Look for Tim Kelly to get him more targets upon his return this week.

Getting Burks more targets should help him get rid of the drops that have started to become a problem this season, and potentially allow him to elevate his game to the next level.

Intermediate Passing

Nuk has been even more effective on intermediate targets this season than he has on deep balls. Although he only has 18 receptions and no touchdowns in four games, D Hop has been nothing but clutch. He currently leads the NFL with 8 first down conversions on 3rd down, constantly extending drives for the Titans.

With the addition of Kyle Philips, the Titans can keep defenses honest by exposing the seams in zone defense over the middle. Think of Philips like a faster, smaller Puka Nacua, who has lit the league on fire operating out of the slot for the Rams.

Philips has all the tools to be successful on this offense, but so far he just can't seem to stay healthy. Let's see what he can do when he gets back out on the field in Week 5.

Behind the Line

As I’ve been saying since week 3, the Titans need to get the ball into RB Tyjae Spears' hands as much as possible. Though he has seen his overall touches increase, he still is only seeing 2.5 receptions per game. If utilized properly, Spears is one of the most dynamic players on the field, regardless of who is on it.

If the Titans can properly take advantage of their reinforcements, they have the potential to be positively explosive on Sunday. This Colts defense looks vulnerable, so it’ll be interesting to see what Tim Kelly dials up this weekend.