• Eric Fisher

Titans Flex an Elite 2020 Roster

Updated: Apr 15

The Clarksvillian

The Jurrell Casey Bowl, Titans vs Broncos, is approximately 70 days away and the heightened expectations for the Titans plows ahead.

In recent early NFL power rankings, PFF has the Titans ranked No. 6 overall, just behind the Green Bay Packers and just ahead of the New England Patriots. Maximizing the roster spots will be hyper critical in a condensed window of preseason. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, it appears the plan is for NFL teams to carry less than 90 players into training camp, with 75 to 80 players at max being floated as the possible number.

According to David Boclair, the Titans buff roster will heavily rely on recent acquisitions for their Lombardi Trophy run in 2020.

“Tennessee will bank on recent draft choices Harold Landry (second round, 2018) and D’Andre Walker (fifth round, 2019) to do more than they have done. Landry did lead the defense with nine sacks last season and had at least one in five straight games, but he had none in the final four weeks of the regular season and just one in the playoffs. Coaches have suggested he would benefit from playing fewer snaps in 2020. Walker spent all of his rookie season on injured reserve.

So, there are possibilities. But everyone is waiting to see if at least one can become the type of pass rusher on which quarterbacks must always keep an eye.”

An interesting analysis of the Titans roster comes from Pro Football Focus’ metrics and ESPN released rankings. This assessment places the Titans as the 8th best roster in the NFL for 2020.

Biggest weakness: The only team that had a lower team pressure rate than the Titans in 2019 (28.8%) was the Miami Dolphins. Bringing in Vic Beasley Jr. — a player whose 8.9% pressure rate ranks 33rd among 34 edge defenders with 1,000 or more pass-rushing snaps since 2017 — isn’t going to solve that problem. Tennessee will need big jumps from Harold Landry III and Jeffery Simmons to field a significantly improved pass rush.

X factor for 2020: Ryan Tannehill was the X factor for this team in 2019, and the Titans’ success in 2020 will ride once again on his performance — regardless of how Henry plays. It wasn’t until Tannehill took over in Week 7 that this offense took off. In Weeks 1-6, the Titans ranked 26th in expected points per play on offense. With PFF’s third-highest-graded quarterback in 2019 at the helm, they ended the rest of the season ranked second behind the Ravens.

Those rankings are favorable with the AFC South ranking in this order:

1st Tennessee Titans

2nd Indianapolis Colts

3rd Houston Texans

4th Jacksonville Jaguars

The wild card may very well be the QB positions. The AFC South teams have the name recognition to fill any marquee in a non-Covid19 season. The problem for them may be getting field time, if Henry and his teammates have their way.