On the final full day before the Tennessee Titans take on the Chicago Bears in the preseason, the defense had another dominant day of practice.
For some reason this has caused a lot of concern in the Tennessee Titans fan base, but why?
The deck has been stacked against the Tennessee Titans offense in almost every way possible during camp. First and foremost, the Titans' defense is much more talented than the Titans' offense.
Look at these two starting lineups and tell me which group you expect to win more often:
QB: Ryan Tannehill
RB: Derrick Henry (in a limited role)
WR: DeAndre Hopkins
WR: Treylon Burks
Slot: Chig Okonkwo/Kyle Philips
TE: Treyvon Wesco
LT: Andre Dillard
LG: Peter Skoronski
C: Aaron Brewer
RG: Daniel Brunskill
RT: Chris Hubbard
EDGE: Harold Landry
DL: Jeffery Simmons
DL: Denico Autry
EDGE: Arden Key
LB: Azeez Al-Shaair
LB: Jack Gibbens/Monty Rice
CB: Kristian Fulton
CB: Sean Murphy-Bunting
SCB: Roger McCreary
S: Kevin Byard
S: Amani Hooker
The hurdle that the Tennessee Titans offense has to overcome is that their weakest position group (OL) has to go up against one of the best defensive lines in the NFL.
Now, there should be some optimism that the Tennessee Titans offensive line will get better at some point, but training camp was always going to be filled with ups and downs from that group. Think about it like this, not only are the Titans replacing four starters on the offensive line, but no one in that group was starting an NFL game at their position in Week 1 last season.
The Tennessee Titans defense has stability, depth, and continuity
The other big issue is that this defense has some of the best continuity in the NFL. For three years Jeffery Simmons, Harold Landry, Kevin Byard, Denico Autry, Kristian Fulton, and Amani Hooker have been playing under Shane Bowen as the DC.
That sort of continuity isn't common around the league and it certainly is an advantage over an offense that has only been playing in Tim Kelly's scheme for two weeks.
It isn't great that Nick Westbrook-Ikhine is dropping passes or that there are pass protection issues, but there have been signs of life from this offense throughout camp. Guys like Treylon Burks, DeAndre Hopkins, Ryan Tannehill, and Kyle Philips have all stood out in team drills and in individuals. Other players like Chig Okonkwo and Derrick Henry are almost certainly going to be playmakers once the season rolls around as well.
Regardless, the Tennessee Titans are going to be a team that hangs their hat on defense this season and that can be a winning formula. If Mike Vrabel and co. can just find ways to produce more explosive plays in the first half and sustain more offensive drives in the second half, they should win the AFC South.
However, if they panic and regress back to the run-run-pass style that some Mike Vrabel teams have had in the past, it could go downhill in a hurry.
Still, right now there shouldn't be a cause for concern and fans should be more excited about guys making plays on defense. Think about it like this, if this offense was lighting up this defense consistently, that would make me very nervous about what the 2023 season was going to look like.