Titans thinking Super Bowl after overhauling D, adding Jones
TENNESSEE TITANS (11-6)
New faces: WR Julio Jones, LB Bud Dupree, CB Jackrabbit Jenkins, DL Denico Autry, CB Caleb Farley, CB Elijah Molden, WR Josh Reynolds, LB Rashad Weaver, OT Dillon Radunz, LS Morgan Cox, OT Kendall Lamm, K Sam Ficken.
Key losses: OC Arthur Smith, WR Corey Davis, TE Jonnu Smith, K Stephen Gostkowski, CB Adoree Jackson, CB Malcolm Butler, S Kenny Vaccaro, RT Dennis Kelly, WR Adam Humphries, DL DaQuan Jones, CB Desmond King.
Strengths: Jones joins an offense featuring the NFL’s back-to-back rushing leader in 2020 Offensive Player of the Year Derrick Henry and QB Ryan Tannehill, who set a franchise-record in 2020 with 40 TDs. The offense tied for second in yards per game and fourth in points per game.
Weaknesses: A defense revamped this offseason after being at or near the bottom of several categories has six new starters and has to jell. Improvement over 2020 shouldn’t be too tough to achieve, though they have to prove they can actually help a high-powered offense.
Camp Development: The Titans have a new kicker after claiming Sam Ficken off waivers from the New York Jets. ... Coach Mike Vrabel tested positive for COVID-19 the day after a preseason win at Tampa Bay, the first of a flare-up that put Tannehill and three other offensive starters on the reserve/COVID-19 list for the franchise that had the NFL’s first outbreak last season.
Fantasy Player To Watch: A.J. Brown. The Pro Bowl wide receiver is just the 11th player in the NFL to post 1,000 yards receiving in each of his first two years, and he had a team-high 70 catches for 1,075 yards with 11 TD receptions last season. Now he has Jones on the other side to keep defenses from double-teaming him regularly.
FanDuel Says: Win Super Bowl: 25-1. Over/under wins: 9.
Expectations: Only Seattle (nine) and Kansas City (eight) have had more consecutive winning seasons than Tennessee’s five straight in the NFL. Revamping the defense, then trading for Jones to join an offense already led by Henry, Tannehill and Brown has the Titans thinking of the franchise’s first Super Bowl berth since the 1999 season — even in the very competitive AFC.
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