People have no idea what to do with the Tennessee Titans this offseason.
A disappointing playoff exit thanks to another underwhelming performance from Ryan Tannehill, coupled with the trade of A.J. Brown and Derrick Henry’s foot injury have people wondering what this team will look like going forward. Add Benjamin Solak of The Ringer to that list.
In a post published this morning, Solak named the Titans offense as one of the ‘least predictable’ units in the NFL heading into the season. His reasoning certainly checks out, beginning with the turnover at the wide receiver position.
The Titans are changing on offense—but once again, not in the direction you’d expect. While most teams are continually looking to add pass-catching weapons, the Titans are downgrading at the position. Tennessee traded Brown away during the 2022 draft, while Jones remains a free agent. Now at wide receiver are trade acquisition Robert Woods and first-round pick Treylon Burks.
Jon Robinson is putting all his faith into Woods, who is still rehabbing coming off of an ACL tear last season, and the rookie Treylon Burks, who struggled in rookie camp with conditioning. The move was made necessary by the impending payday coming for A.J. Brown and the inability of Julio Jones to stay healthy.
It’s also a little bit more of a gamble considering the fact that Derrick Henry isn’t getting any younger — and is coming off of a foot injury last year. That was the second part of Solak’s analysis.
The Titans offense works in large part because of Henry’s persistence. He’s enormous, he’s constantly finishing runs, and he has the speed to explode for a score from any area of the field. Whether or not he returns healthy is a massive “if” for Tennessee—and, even if he does, he alone isn’t enough to ensure the passing game works smoothly with Woods and Burks.
If Derrick Henry comes back and is Derrick Henry, everything is probably fine for the Titans. However, with the miles that the Titans have put on him over the last few seasons, it’s natural to expect some sort of slowdown soon. Todd Downing needs him more than ever as the team transitions at wide receiver, and Henry’s returning explosiveness remains as a bit of a mystery for the team heading into the fall.
Tennessee finished 17th in total offense last season with Henry missing the majority of the season. Now without Brown to lean on, the pressure falls squarely on the shoulders of Tannehill, Burks and Woods to supply the Titans with those classic play-action chunk plays to assist Henry.
How will it all play out? Frankly, I have no idea.