The NFL Team Preview series is done! The last team we will talk about is the Tennessee Titans.

The Titans are still struggling to find an identity with their franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota. With Mike Vrabel coming back for his second season we look for him to take more control of the team and try to bring an identity that could flourish into something great. With Vrabel being part of Super Bowl-caliber teams he knows what it takes to become a champion. It may not take overnight as nothing does but for him its more of a process than anything.

Some would say Mariota hasn’t lived up to the full potential as he was in college. With may injuries he had during his career, it’s hard for him to stay on the field and try to get the many reps he needs to become a great quarterback. This offseason the Titans made a pretty bold move and bring in another starting quarterback in Tannehill. The only problem between the two is none of them can stay healthy a whole season, but the good news about having two starting quarterbacks is if one goes down you don’t have anything to worry about when it comes to finding a decent backup. With the two having starting experience at the quarterback position it would be a tough decision for the coach to figure out who to pick as the starting QB. But you shouldn’t expect shocking news with the changing of the quarterback.

With the final 53-man roster being set for now, here is the breakdown of the position groups heading into the 2019 NFL Season.

Quarterbacks

Credit: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
  • Starter: Marcus Mariota
  • Backup: Ryan Tannehill

Mariota should not be a surprise as the starting quarterback for the team this upcoming season, which makes Tannehill the backup. With those two having starter experience it would be hard to bring in a third to have that type of experience as much as they do. It would have been ideal to keep three quarterbacks given the injury history the two have but if we are being honest, if one gets injured I believe there would be enough time in between games or even weeks to allow the other to play while the other gets healthy to play again. The Titans are even less likely to hold on to three QBs because when in doubt they can just run wildcat with Derrick Henry for the majority of the game.

Running Backs

Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images
  • Starter: Derrick Henry
  • Backups: Dion Lewis, David Fluellen, Dalyn Dawkins

Everything is up for Henry after last season. Statistically, he had a better month of December than any other RB in the NFL, if you don’t believe me just look at the 99-yard touchdown run he had in week 12 against the Jacksonville Jaguars and that’s all the proof you need. Lewis makes the team once again as he is a solid pass-catching back.

Jeremy McNichols had a very successful running and catching the ball this preseason. He showed a sign of patience and vision at the right times, unlike his earlier days when he was viewed as an immature running back. It is shocking to see him miss the cut but Dawkins makes the roster ahead of him. It wouldn’t be surprising if he gets picked up in the coming days.

Wide Receivers

Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports
  • Starters: Corey Davis, Adam Humphries, A.J. Brown
  • Backups: Tajae Sharpe, Darius Jennings, Kalif Raymond

Davis is really good and if he had a QB that would stay healthy, he would easily have been a thousand-yard receiver this past year. I think it’s possible for him to do it this year with two starting-caliber QBs on the roster. Humphries has looked sure-handed for the most part and while there is some criticism on him after the drop vs the Pittsburgh Steelers a few weeks back, but you got to give him slack for dropping the ball in heavy rain. Brown is a second-round pick which would have bee enough, but clips of him “Mossing” New England DBs and some flashes here and there should have fans somewhat optimistic about the future he holds with this franchise.

Tight Ends

Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports
  • Starter: Delanie Walker
  • Backups: Jonnu Smith, Anthony Firkser, MyCole Pruitt

Walker is a Pro Bowl TE that should be mentioned as an All-Decade player for the 2010s when his career is finished. While his peak hasn’t been quite as high as some others, no one in the NFL has been more consistent when healthy over the last five years. Smith is another person who deals with injuries but if he stayed healthy last season he would finally figure out how to fit in the offense. Firkser is the fifth-best option on the Titans roster right now behind Davis, Walker, Humphries, and Brown. While his blocking needs a little bit of work he can work on that throughout the season.

Offensive Line

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports
  • Starters: Dennis Kelly, Rodger Saffold, Ben Jones, Kevin Pamphile, Jack Conklin
  • Backups: Davis Quessenberry, Jamil Douglas, Nate Davis
  • Suspended: Taylor Lewan

Lewan is the star on the offensive line but is set to serve his four-game suspension after failing a drug test for a banned substance, so he will not count for the 53-man roster. For now, Kelly is set to take his place for the time being.

Conklin has been physical, technically sound, and up to the challenge of taking on top defensive lines and the example of T.J. Watt and the rest of the Steelers front has shown it. If the Titans get this version of Conklin for 16 games, he is going to get a huge contract. Jones has also looked better than he has in a while, hopefully being fully healthy now. He looks like a guy who can hold his own versus a variety of pass rushers. Saffold was signed this past offseason to solidify the line and show some consistency the team has missed when it comes to the guard spots.

Defensive Line

Credit: Wade Payne/Associated Press
  • Starter: Brent Urban, DaQuan Jones, Jurrell Casey
  • Backups: Austin Johnson, Matt Dickerson, Isaiah Mack
  • PUP: Jeffery Simmons

The Titans desperately need to try to find someone to help bolster this group, at least until Simmons is healthy, who is currently set to miss the first six games after being placed on the PUP list.

Casey looked good especially against the Pittsburgh Steelers and is obviously he is the star. Mack looked good in the preseason and is as as powerful as anyone on the Titans offensive or defensive line. His natural leverage and pop make him a nightmare for offensive linemen to block and he has shown up in pass rush as frequently as he has shown up vs the run.

Linebackers

Credit: Donn Jones
  • Starters: Cameron Wake, Rashaan Evans, Jayon Brown, Harold Landry III
  • Backups: Sharif Finch, Wesley Woodyard, Daren Bates, Kamalei Correa, David Long

The starters were guaranteed from the start with guys like Wake and Landry forming a nice pass-rushing duo. Evans and Brown hold down the middle while the backups provide a lot of depth and can help out in the rotation.

Cornerbacks

Credit: Getty Images
  • Starters: Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan
  • Backups: Adoree’ Jackson, LeShaun Sims, Tye Smith

Butler and Ryan are solid corners that will start in Week 1. Jackson looks to be the nickel corner while Sims and Smith earn a roster spot for their Special Teams abilities.

Safeties

Credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images
  • Starters: Kevin Byard, Kenny Vaccaro
  • Backups: Joshua Kalu, Dan Cruikshank, Amani Hooker

Byard is a rising star in the safety department while Vaccaro has been a solid starter since joining the team last season. Kalu, Cruikshank, and Hooker will look to be mainly Special Team contributors.

Specialists

Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig/USA Today Sports
  • Kicker: Ryan Succop
  • Punter: Brett Kern
  • Long Snapper: Beau Brinkley

Kern is amazing, Brinkley does his job well and has a good relationship with the other two and Succop has been very good since joining the Titans. No surprises on this position group right here.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s