3 Burning Questions: Tennessee Titans
Dec 29, 2019; Houston, Texas, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) celebrates with wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
It’s that time of year again. Here are three burning questions for the Tennessee Titans.
What will Tannehill from Week 1 look like?
The spark plug for this team last season was head coach Mike Vrabel‘s decision to bench Marcus Mariota in favor of Ryan Tannehill. The latter led the Titans to an improbable playoff run that saw the team make it all the way to the AFC Championship.
After receiving a big time contract this offseason, the team has all the confidence that last season’s play wasn’t just a fluke.
Tannehill’s decision-making and his ability to get the ball out of his hand quickly to his playmakers made him a perfect choice for the offensive scheme this team runs.
The loss of right tackle Jack Conklin in free agency could be a concern but Tannehill will adjust if it becomes a major issue.
Could Henry win back-to-back rushing titles?
Derrick Henry stiff-armed his way to the NFL rushing titlee last season. On top of that, he stiff-armed the Titans to a pair of upset wins against the Patriots, essentially ending the New England dynasty, and the Ravens and MVP Lamar Jackson.
The team and Henry are working to get a long-term deal done before the July 15 deadline after Tennessee franchise tagged him at the start of free agency. The Heisman Trophy winner has earned every penny and will continue to run seemingly at will on opposing defenses.
Defenses through the first six games last season were able to stack the box against Henry because they didn’t fear Mariota and his ability to make quick reads. However, when defenses had to account for Tannehill, Henry and his productivity increased dramatically.
Henry could flirt with the 2,000 rushing yard mark in 2020 and lock up his second consecutive rushing title.
Who will be their “surprise” stars?
Offensively, tight end Jonnu Smith will have a breakout season. Last year, he made big plays and also showcased his speed on a few trick plays out of the backfield, which is seldom seen from a tight end. Now that the Titans have officially moved on from Delanie Walker, Smith will see his touches increase.
Defensively, Adoree’ Jackson had his fifth-year option picked up this offseason, much to the chagrin of many Titans fans.
Although he has shown he can be a solid cornerback and playmaker if he gets the ball in his hands, Jackson has been forced to contend with T.Y. Hilton and DeAndre Hopkins twice every season; that’s not an easy task for any NFL cornerback.