No matter what metric you use, the Tennessee Titans run the ball too much.
They have the 8th-highest rushing rate in the NFL and the 5th-worst PROE (pass rate over expectations). Don't get me wrong, those things aren't bad by themselves and if the Tennessee Titans had 2020 Derrick Henry, then by all means, call games like that.
However, no matter how much the Tennessee Titans want to ignore it, they are actually a below-average rushing team (17th in yards per attempt). So even if other good teams run the ball more than expected, they can get away with it because they are good at it.
Do you know what the Tennessee Titans do well on offense? Pass the ball. In fact, they are top-10 in the NFL in passing yards per attempt, which is incredible considering the state of the offensive line and the weapons they have now.
Everyone is raving about the Tennessee Titans win on Monday night, and they should be. However, people don't seem to understand exactly what happened in that game.
The win in Miami should fundamentally change the Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans offense ran into a brick wall with Derrick Henry averaging just 2 yards per attempt, and it wasn't a case of Henry not getting a real chance because he finished the day with 17 carries. Despite their best efforts, there were times when Mike Vrabel and company had to get away from the running game.
There were only three drives in that game where the Tennessee Titans begrudgingly leaned on Will Levis and the passing game instead of the running game, and those were the 28-second drive before the half, and the final two drives of the game.
Guess what happened on those drives? Will Levis and the offense put up a field goal before the half and finished the game with back-to-back touchdown drives to win the game.
In those situations, everyone in the building knew that the Titans were going to throw the ball, in fact, Derrick Henry wasn't even on the field for nearly all of those snaps. Despite knowing what the Titans wanted to do and having a talented defense featuring Jalen Ramsey, Xavien Howard, Bradley Chubb, Christian Wilkins, and others, they couldn't stop Will Levis, DeAndre Hopkins, and the offense.
No one is crowning Will Levis as the next Patrick Mahomes, and the running game is an important supplement to the passing game. However, it is time to stop acting like Will Levis and the passing offense needs to lean on Derrick Henry to succeed.
Henry's rushing success and the play-action passing game that works off of that are nice. Those play-action passes allow the Titans receivers to get downfield which lets Will Levis take advantage of his greatest strength which is his arm talent. However, it might surprise you to know that Levis is more than capable of thriving without it.
Look at the chart that Sam Hoppen created to show which quarterbacks have the most success on dropback passes when the offensive line isn't allowing pressure.
Outside of Brock Purdy who might end up winning the MVP award this year, Will Levis is the best quarterback in the NFL in these situations.
While it is still technically possible, making the playoffs is a pipe dream for the Tennessee Titans. The most important thing is to come away from the season with answers and a crystal clear plan for the offseason and 2024.
One key question this could answer is whether a new run-first offense allows the Titans to expand their horizons and actually add a fast receiver for the first time in 20 years. Or will they continue with Vrabel's standard 6'2+, 220 lb. receiver that runs a 4.59 but who blocks well?