The Tennesee Titans head into their offseason with a lot more questions than answers. They didn’t make the playoffs after Andrew Luck gave them a 33-14 drubbing, improving his overall record against the Titans to 11-0. There are holes on both sides of the ball, when many thought there weren’t many at all heading into this season. Injuries took a toll on some of the more important players for this squad and made Mike Vrabel’s first year as a head coach a rather unconventional one. How can the Titans improve so these issues don’t haunt them next season? Here’s how.
1. Find interior offensive line help
The interior offensive line was a huge problem for this team during the course of the season. Not only because they couldn’t protect Marcus Mariota, but their deficiencies limited what the offense could do. What was promised as a modern offense that scores a lot of points, turned out to be a ball control offense that leaned heavily on the run game….again. This is by far the largest need for the Tennessee Titans heading into the offseason.
2. Get some weapons for your franchise QB
Corey Davis stepped up in the absence of Delanie Walker, racking up 65 receptions for 811 yards and 4 touchdowns. Outside of him? Yeah it wasn’t too pretty if you ask me. Taywan Taylor struggled in a larger role, dropping too many passes and losing the confidence of many. He’s best suited for a #3 role in the offense going forward. Tajae Sharpe struggled with consistency and injuries. Having one 100 yard game against the Chargers and none for more than 90 yards for the rest of the season, he’s best suited for a #4 role in an offense. Darius Jennings, Cameron Batson, and Nick Williams (released after week 5) all played meaningful snaps this season, but you don’t want to count on either consistent production next season. Count that with arguably the best pure pass catcher on the team, 34 year old Delanie Walker, going down with a broken ankle early on in the season, this team needs help at the wide receiver and much more depth within.
3. Pair another interior defensive line disruptor with Jurrell Casey
Jurrell Casey has been one of the NFL’s best players for some time now. He falls under the term “disruptor” and has lived up to that term so far in his career. Alongside him though has been a strand of mediocrity once he hit his stride. You pair another disruptor, maybe Gerald McCoy or Malik Jackson into the fold, we could see a lot more success than usual for Jurrell Casey.
4. Add another EDGE rusher alongside Harold Landry
Other than the Titans offense stinking it up, the only other problem that existed was there was no consistent pass rush for the Titans defense. In order to combat that, Dean Pees had to blitz a lot more than you’d want. When he didn’t blitz? Opposing quarterbacks had too much time to sit and find an area to throw, just like Andrew Luck on Sunday Night. This defense is already up at a high level among the league’s best, add another dominant EDGE rusher and this defense could be in talks as the best in the NFL next season.
5. Sign a better backup QB
Blaine Gabbert was brought in last offseason to do just what he did Sunday night. Play in case of injury to Marcus Mariota. However, when he was called upon, he didn’t always have the best of performances. He didn’t do much to help his reputation against the Texans in week 2, got knocked out of the game against the Jaguars in week 3, played phenomenal against the Redskins in week 16, and threw a gut-wrenching interception to all but end the Titans playoff hopes in week 17. We know at this point Mariota is guaranteed to miss a couple of games due to injury, so sign a backup capable of giving you the best chance to win and erase all doubt you have for the Titans when Mariota is out with injury.
If the Titans don’t end up with at least 3 of these moves being done, there’s going to be serious problems. The Titans just can’t rely on someone like Austin Johnson to give consistency if Jurrell Casey goes down with injury again. Depth should be the theme of the offseason and if the Titans can’t upgrade their depth, then the 2019 season isn’t going to end pretty as well.