Reaching AFC title game has Titans wanting much more in 2020
TENNESSEE TITANS (11-8)
New faces: OLB Jadeveon Clowney, K Stephen Gostkowski, ILB coach Jim Haslett, DB coach Anthony Midgett, LB Vic Beasley Jr., CB Johnathan Joseph, OT Isaiah Wilson, CB Kristian Fulton, RB Darrynton Evans, DL Jack Crawford, LB Nick Dbzubnar, OT Ty Sambrailo, RB Senorise Perry.
Key losses: Defensive coordinator Dean Pees, DB coach Kerry Coombs, DT Jurrell Casey, CB Logan Ryan, WR Tajae Sharpe.
Strengths: Continuity for franchise coming off its first AFC championship game in 17 years. Coach Mike Vrabel did not hire new coordinator to replace Pees but will work with OLB coach Shane Bowen to oversee defense scheme in its third season. They now have Clowney and Beasley to help boost the pass rush. Offense has 10 of 11 starters back, with NFL’s top QB in passer rating in Ryan Tannehill and league’s leading rusher in Derrick Henry.
Weaknesses: The Titans didn’t wait until the start of the regular season to address kicker after having by far NFL’s worst field goal unit last season. They signed Gostkowski on Sept. 3 and cut Greg Joseph. DT Jeffery “Big Jeff” Simmons is being asked to replace five-time Pro Bowl lineman in Casey, and Titans leaning on Fulton to help fill void left by Ryan’s departure as free agent.
Pandemic Development: Not only did Wilson miss out on traditional offseason program, Titans’ first-round draft pick started training camp on Reserve/COVID-19 list. He was removed Aug. 4 after being in quarantine, and future right tackle wound up back on the Reserve/Covid list to start the season.
Fantasy Player To Watch: TE Jonnu Smith showed off pass-catching skills with amazing TD in Tennessee’s divisional playoff win at Baltimore. He learned from Delanie Walker past three seasons and is ready to be Titans’ top tight end.
Vegas Says: Win Super Bowl: 30-1. Over/under wins: 8 1/2.
Expectations: Titans vividly remember they missed playing in franchise’s first Super Bowl since 2000 by one victory, and they want another chance at AFC title game with easier road as AFC South champs. Tannehill has four-year, $118 million deal after coming off bench last season and going 9-4 as starter. Offense was explosive with Tannehill at QB, and WR A.J. Brown is poised for breakout season after leading all rookies in receiving yards. They now hope Clowney is the final piece to help push them toward those goals.
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