Titans Preview Capsule
TENNESSEE TITANS (10-8)
New faces: Coach Mike Vrabel, defensive coordinator Dean Pees, offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, CB Malcolm Butler, RB Dion Lewis, G Kevin Pamphile, QB Blaine Gabbert, G Xavier Su’a-Filo, LB Will Compton, DL Bennie Logan, LB Rashaan Evans, LB Harold Landry, S Kendrick Lewis, S Kenny Vaccaro.
Key losses: Coach Mike Mularkey, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, RB DeMarco Murray, QB Matt Cassel, DL Karl Klug, S Da’Norris Searcy, NT Sylvester Williams, strength coach Steve Watterson.
Strengths: Defense ranked fourth in NFL against run, tied for fifth in sacks in helping Titans to first playoff berth since 2008. RB Derrick Henry led team in rushing despite only two starts. Titans had second-fewest penalties in league. QB Marcus Mariota missed only one game and led 18-point rally for first playoff victory in 14 years. Mariota also coming off first healthy offseason since entering NFL, with offense designed to fit his skills. Offensive line featuring two-time Pro Bowl LT Taylor Lewan returns all five starters, though RT Jack Conklin is coming off torn ACL. WR Corey Davis coming off healthy offseason, and three-time Pro Bowl TE Delanie Walker is back, with TE Jonnu Smith poised for better second season.
Weaknesses: Veteran WR Rishard Matthew has been on physically unable to perform list all preseason. Aside from Matthews and Davis, rest of receiving corps is very young and untested. Evans was hurt in opening days of training camp. Secondary lost starting S Johnathan Cyprien in camp to torn ACL with two other key backups also on injured reserve.
Fantasy Players To Watch: Davis. The fifth overall draft pick in 2017 flashed his big play potential in his injury-plagued rookie season. He has been healthy and worked with Mariota most of offseason.
Vegas Says: Super Bowl 52-1. Over/under wins 8.
Expectations: Titans want much more after consecutive 9-7 seasons, including sweep of AFC South champion Jacksonville last season and winning wild-card game at Kansas City. Firing Mularkey and hiring Vrabel was made to get most out of Mariota in his fourth season. Titans bolstered secondary adding Butler to CBs Logan Ryan and Adoree Jackson and All-Pro S Kevin Byard. This is 20th season since franchise debuted Titans nickname, which ended in team’s lone Super Bowl berth in Atlanta, where next Super Bowl will be played.
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