We’ve officially hit the midway point for the Tennessee Titans.
8 games down, 8 more games to go, with this team holding on to their dear Super Bowl aspirations that are still very much alive. Arthur Smith’s offense is still relatively playing well, but mistakes have killed this unit the last 2 weeks, therefore limiting the overall damage we know this offense can make.
The defense as well all know, has been the biggest weak spot for the Titans this year. But they’re coming off their first impressive performance since week 1, which has some wondering if that performance represents some sort of a turning point for this defense and if it’s an indicator of their performance to come in the future.
This team will need to be clicking on all cylinders moving forward, since the rest of their schedule doesn’t look all that easy. Up first, you’ll have the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday night, then a battle with the Baltimore Ravens on the road in week 11. Next, a road battle with Indy once again being the opponent, then a home matchup with the physical Cleveland browns in week 13.
It’ll be a good extended test for this team, and a good chance to see if they’re truly ready to handle the gauntlet of the AFC in January.
But before we get can get that far, let’s settle down, and review how this team has performed so far.
Ryan Tannehill came into the year with the word “regression” popularly associated with his name. He just came off a run many didn’t expect, and you could say the same about the stats he accumulated during that infamous run as well.
But not only has Tannehill slapped regression in the face, he’s put it in a four figure lock, and is on the verge of making it tap out. Tannehill has thrown for just under 2000 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions this year. To go along with his eye opening TD-INT ratio, he’s also currently riding with a completion percentage of 65.7, and a passer rating of 109.4.
He’s even still getting some attention as a potential MVP candidate.
All in all, it’s been a great first 8 games for Tannehill.
He’ll will need to be on his game on all times though moving forward though, especially with the back half of the schedule looking a little difficult.
Derrick Henry has picked up where he left off in 2019, rushing for 843 yards and 8 touchdowns, while averaging around 4.6 yards per carry. It’s a year Jon Robinson and the Titans wanted to see after giving Henry a massive extension this past off-season, and he’ll most definitely continue to prove that contract wasn’t a mistake as we get closer towards the playoffs.
In terms of reserves, 2020 3rd round pick Darrynton Evans hasn’t gotten a lot playing time due to injuries, which has left those backup snaps to the likes of Jeremy McNichols and newcomer D’Onta Foreman. Both have been great off the bench, and won’t give up playing time that easily once Evans returns from injury.
Corey Davis and AJ Brown have proven to be one of the more underrated WR duos this season, with both having at least 300 yards receiving, 3 touchdowns, and averaging over 10 yards per reception.
This sort of year has been especially important for Davis, since he’s in the last year of his rookie deal and needs a good statistical year if he wants to remain in Tennessee.
Adam Humphries has proven once again to be a reliable target out of the slot, Kalif Raymond has filled out his role as a receiver who can use his speed to make plays down the field, and even Cameron Batson has produced at times as well.
It’s been a good first 8 games for this group, but if they can start being a little more consistent with their production over the course of games, then these next 8 games will be even better than the previous 8.
This unit was playing some good football before Taylor Lewan was lost for the season. Now with Ty Sambrailo manning the fort over at left tackle, a weakness has been exposed at the most important position on the offensive line.
Sambrailo has played better football the last few weeks though, so it isn’t all bad.
Roger Saffold is putting in another great year, but his play with be magnified with Lewan out for the year. Ben Jones and Nate Davis have played well too, Davis in particular has really stepped up his game compared to his rookie year. Dennis Kelly has been starting all year, and while he’s been somewhat steady, he’s had some really bad snaps as well.
Paving the way for Derrick Henry and protecting Ryan Tannehill are the 2 most important jobs for this unit. If they can simply do their job, everything will be just fine.
I hesitated on this grade, simply because I’m not a fan of Jonnu Smith disappearing within the offense at times. Smith’s skillset makes him a matchup nightmare, but his impact isn’t there consistently enough.
That isn’t all his fault though, considering the offense he’s in, and the other playmakers around him that need the ball.
Anthony Firkser has been an underrated part of this Titans passing game as well, representing a sure handed backup option to Smith, while also getting a handful of key 3rd down snaps.
Flip the page for my position group grades on defense.