Peter King released the top half of his Off-Season Power Rankings this morning and the Titans position may qualify as the biggest surprise. He ranked the Titans 4th in the NFL behind the Patriots, Raiders, and Falcons. Here is what he had to say about why he had the Titans so high:
Why I have the Titans fourth: Every year there’s one stunner in the league (at least), and this year I like Tennessee to be that team. Not saying they’ll be another Nashville Predators and make the final two, but I like the Titans to make this huge jump because of core players. Marcus Mariota returns healthy from a broken leg and is a trusted and athletic player about to become a top-10 quarterback. The two franchise tackles, Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin, proved their mettle last year, and are long-termers; they’ll play this year at 26 and 23, respectively. Much is expected of Corey Davis, the first-round receiver, as a deep threat, and he has to deliver. On defense, Jurrell Casey needs to be a national attention-grabber, Vince Wilfork with a better pass-rush. He’s good. The pass-rush (Derrick Morgan, Brian Orakpo) should generate enough pressure. The secondary’s the big concern, obviously. Adoree’ Jackson has to be the physical cover player he showed last fall at USC, and he has to be that way from day one. LeShaun Sims is a rising corner. In short, I’m trusting lots of young players to win a division that’s up for grabs and to win at least one January game.
King also goes on to call Mariota a “strong MVP candidate”. What a time to be a Titans fan. I found the Casey-Wilfork comp very strange, but besides that I agree with King’s takes.
This is just one man’s opinion, and let’s face it, he’s got some incentive to be a little bold or controversial with his takes, but I think this theme of belief in the Titans is taking hold nationally. Expect more and more national media members to start jumping on the Titans bandwagon as the season approaches. It will be interesting to see how the team deals with the rising expectations around them. Based on the quotes you hear coming out of OTAs and rookie mini-camp, it seems like this team is all-in and not at all satisfied with their results from last season.
Count me as a believer in this team as well. I think we are on the verge of a great run of Titans football over the next few years. Someone is eventually going to take the AFC mantle from the Patriots and I don’t think there is another team better positioned to do that than our Tennessee Titans. Just 110 more days until Titans-Raiders at Nissan Stadium!!!