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Next Gen Stats paints ugly picture of Titans’ Week 1 pass protection woes

Arizona Cardinals v Tennessee Titans Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images

The Titans started their 2021 season in nightmare fashion on Sunday after getting blown out by the Cardinals to the tune of 38-13.

Tennessee entered the game with a lot of hype after acquiring Julio Jones and Bud Dupree in the offseason, but to say they failed to live up to expectations would be an understatement. The Titans were poor in all three phases of the game. It should be a busy week of practice. They have a ton of issues to correct before their Week 2 game against the Seahawks.

No issue was more glaring than the offensive line’s inability to protect starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was sacked an astounding six times on Sunday, and knocked down or hurried on several other dropbacks. Cardinals first-team All-Pro EDGE Chandler Jones absolutely had his way with Taylor Lewan, and finished the game with FIVE(!) sacks.

The six sacks suffered by Tannehill would have been the team’s worst mark during all of last season. That’s how poorly this went.

Next Gen Stats is an excellent tool. Its model often tells the story, and this week’s reveal for the Titans’ offensive line is downright embarrassing.

Wow. To have your starting quarterback pressured on 41.5% of his dropbacks is truly astonishing. There were several issues that led to this meltdown, and Tannehill was guilty of holding the ball for too long at times, but most of the issues simply came down to players losing their 1-on-1 matchups.

Lewan was especially bad, and acknowledged as much after the game, but Rodger Saffold, Nate Davis, Ben Jones and David Quessenberry were all guilty at times as well. In addition to the starting five dropping the ball, Tight ends MyCole Pruitt and Geoff Swaim were also bad. Guys like Pruitt and Swaim have to help the tackles in pass pro on occasion, and they failed to do that on Sunday.

There were absolutely no bright spots or positive takeaways for this offensive line. They are supposed to be a good unit, but they didn’t play like one against the Cardinals. If they want their starting quarterback to make it through the season, they’re going to need to play a lot better than this.