Tennessee Titans Last Season’s Performance
The 2021 season ended in disappointment for the Tennessee Titans, losing to the Cincinnati Bengals in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, 19-16. After finishing the regular season atop the AFC with a 12-5 record, falling short of the AFC Championship Game felt like a lost season.
After a 2-2 start, notably losing to the New York Jets in overtime, the Titans won the next six games, beating the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, and Los Angeles Rams, all Super Bowl contenders. They started to get hit with the injury bug, losing back-to-back games, one against the Houston Texans, one of the other worst teams in the league.
The defense carried the team through all of the injuries, finishing the season 5-1, with a comeback victory over the Texans in Week 18 to secure the No. 1 seed.
Mike Vrabel won Coach of the Year, as the Titans saw three of their star players on defense make the Pro Bowl.
Tennessee Titans Key Additions
After such an impressive season and proving to be one of the better teams in the AFC over the last few seasons, the Titans look for what could get them over the hump. The team eyed its offensive weapons and decided to make a change, losing key players in the process, while tryingt to replace them.
Last season Robert Woods tore his ACL with the Rams, ending his season. As the Rams’ payroll increased, as well as Woods’ injury, it made him an easy target for the Titans, only having to give up a sixth-round pick. Tight end Austin Hooper, who was Pro Bowler in 2018 and 2019, has also joined to revive a weak position group.
First-round pick wide receiver Treylon Burks needs to come in and have an immediate impact. Burks’ play style in college matches precisely what the Titans need as a replacement for what they lost. The Titans also drafted quarterback Malik Willis in the third round, who could be the team’s future starter.
Tennessee Titans Key Subtraction
Trading 2019 Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Brown might be a massive mistake. He has suffered injuries and was asking for a huge contract extension, but losing a talent like Brown is hard to replace. The Titans did receive the pick that turned into Burks, a player compared to Brown in the draft process, from the Philadelphia Eagles. Still, Brown’s production os better than the question mark surrounding a rookie.
Brown was hardly the only big-name wide receiver to leave the Titans this offseason. Julio Jones left in free agency after a disappointing, injury-riddled season. The offensive line also took a hit after two starters, David Quessenberry and Rodger Saffold, left to join the Buffalo Bills.
Most of the Titans’ elite defense remained in tact, except for two linebackers, Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans, who moved on in free agency. Corner Jackrabbit Jenkins, who struggled last season, left during the offseason and has remained a free agent.
Tennessee Titans Head Coach Analysis
In 2021 Vrabel cemented himself as one of the best head coaches in the NFL, winning his first Coach of the Year award inhis fourth season. His experience as a defensive coordinator for the Texans came in handy as the Titans’ defense looked impressive. Vrabel also had to manage a team that went through many injuries and still found success topping the AFC.
After having an incredible run to the AFC Championship Game in 2019, Vrabel’s second season with the Titans, they have not won a playoff game. The last two playoffs the team entered into the playoffs with high expectations but could not cash in.
The Titans receiving weapons have changed, but they have managed to keep Vrabel’s defense together. His consistency and leadership have been the backbone of the Titans’ regular season success.
Tennessee Titans Injured Players at the Beginning of the Season
All three of their key offensive weapons, Brown, Jones, and Derrick Henry, spent some time on the IR throughout the season. The defense did have some injuries they had to deal with, but not to the extent of the offense.
Henry, who came back just for the playoff game last season, and is set to be fully ready to go. However, Woods is still recovering from tearing his ACL, while Burks is also listed as questionable.
With the loss of two linebackers this offseason Monty Rice, who played in 10 games last year, was set to have a more prominent role but starts on the PUP list recovering from an Achilles injury. Their 2021 first-round pick corner Caleb Farley had his rookie season cut short, tearing his ACL, and is questionable. Farley slipped in the draft due to injuriesy, so suffering one his rookie season is not a good start to his NFL career
Tennessee Titans Offense
The Titans’ offense has been driven by its run game, heavily featuring Henry. Even without Henry for a large part of the season, they still made running the ball a focal point of the team, leading the NFL in rushing attempts. It didn’t have the same success as if Henry was leading the way but still came in fifth in total yards on the ground and tied for third in rushing touchdowns.
With Henry back, the rushing yards and touchdowns will surely increase, having led the league in both in two of the last three seasons. However, The offensive line will be without two key starters, bringing into question how good the group will be after consistently being one of the best.
After Ryan Tannehill capped off his subpar season with three interceptions in the playoffs, his starting job has been called into question. On the other hand, his key weapons were injured, and with Henry out, there was no play-action to open up the field. Tannehill has lost his favorite target but they have been replaced by three quilty receivers.
Tennessee Titans Defense
The Titans’ defense against the run was arguably best in the NFL. They faced the second least amount of rushing attempts while allowing the second-fewest yards. On top of that, they only allowed 3.9 yards per carry, fourth-lowest in the NFL.
The defensive line is stacked with talent, most notably Pro-Bowlers Jeffery Simmons and Harold Landry. In the playoff game against the Bengals, the Titans’ defense put on a show, forcing one interception with nine sacks.
Pro-Bowler and All-Pro safety Kevin Byard led the team in tackles and interceptions. The Titans’ secondary was attacked, facing the second-most passing attempts in the NFL, mainly because opposing teams had no other option but to throw. Still, the secondary held up, allowing the seventh-fewest passing touchdowns. Corners are a position that may need improvement, but hopefully, Farley can stay healthy and make an impact.
With no losses on the defensive line, expect the Titans again to be one of the best defenses in the NFL.
Tennessee Titans Special Teams
The Titans started the season with Michael Badgley as their kicker, but after a missed field goal and extra point on opening day, they moved on to. Randy Bullock, who made 83.9% of his field goal attempts. At the end of the season, the Titans had the eighth-lowest field-goal percentage as a team. With Bullock set to be the starter, it may be an open competition.
Brett Kern is the starting punter after not having much work to do last season due to how good the Titans were as a team. The Titans only punted 58 times, eighth-fewest in the league.
Chester Rogers led the Titans in punt and kick returns last season but is no longer on the roster. Safety Amani Hooker is listed as the kick returner, but maybe throughout the preseason, someone will present themselves as a starter in the position.
Tennessee Titans Prediction for the 2022 Season
In 2021 the Titans topped an outstanding conference, beating some of the best teams in the regular season. However, the offense struggled to do anything in one playoff game.
The offense is no longer reliant on one elite player in the receiving core but now has three that can share the load. If Henry stays healthy, he will likely reclaim his throne as the best running back in the NFL. The defense is still the same, elite, and one of the best in the league. The team has been one of the best in recent seasons, and on paper look to continue that trend.
The Titans should reach the 10-win mark, maybe even more, but the team is now looking for playoff success, which it may not find this season. With the Colts on the rise, the Titans may not win the AFC South for a third straight year.
Tennessee Titans Final Thoughts
With the 2022 season almost here, it is hard to see what lies ahead for the Titans. The team has a Super Bowl-level defense, but there are question marks surrounding the offense. The team has made it to the playoffs in three straight years and won more than nine games every season under Vrabel.
The team as a whole didn’t get any worse, if anything, they got more balanced, which could prove better in the long run. However, it is still hard to see the Titans find the success the team may want and have grown to expect over recent seasons in a talented AFC.
Teams like the Bills, Chiefs, and Bengals just seem to have a leg up on the Titans, and now with other teams in the mix, the AFC playoffs are more challenging. Last season the Titans did prove the doubters wrong ending up with the number one seed, it may be harder to do that this season.
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Tennessee Titans FAQs
What was the Tennessee Titans' 2021 record?
Last season the Titans ended the regular season 12-5. That was one more win than the previous season, as the NFL moved from 16 games to 17.
When was the last time the Titans went to the Super Bowl?
The last time the Titans went to the Super Bowl was in 1999 when they lost to the St. Louis Rams. They got close in 2019, losing to the Kansas City Chiefs, allowing them to come back in the fourth quarter.
What is the origin of the Tennessee Titans team name?
Tennessee Titans’ name was picked when then owner, Bud Adams, held a statewide contest to select the team’s name headed into the 1999 season. He liked the name because he felt it represented the people of the state.
When did the Titans move to Tennessee?
After the 1996 season, the Houston Oilers decided to move to Tennessee and become the Tennessee Oilers. The team name was changed before the 1999 season to represent the people of Tennessee better.