A new study found the Tennessee Titans wide receivers ranked dead last (32nd) in separation gained last season.
The study clarifies the averages were found from weighted means for each player by targets over the regular season. The Titans had an abundance of injuries at the position last season. A.J. Brown appeared in a career-low 13 regular-season contests (and left several of those games early). Julio Jones appeared in just 10 games, and was often unavailable midway through several of those contests.
Titans starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill spent various games targeting the likes of Marcus Johnson, Dez Fitzpatrick, Chester Rogers and Cody Hollister. Nick Westbrook was the No. 1 receiver for several games.
Studies like this possibly help explain why Tannehill suffered through his worst season in a Titans uniform. Tannehill just finished the regular season with 21 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He threw an additional three interceptions in Tennessee’s lone postseason contest. Turnovers were a constant issue and theme.
We’re certainly not letting Tannehill off the hook for his below-average performances, but the details bring the situation into greater focus. Tannehill was also sacked 47 times during the regular season as the Titans’ offensive line routinely struggled in pass protection. Pair an offensive line that’s struggling to protect their quarterback with a receiver corps that can’t get open and that spells trouble for the quarterback. It’s a wonder the Titans’ offense wasn’t even worse in 2021.
There are still several question marks entering the 2022 campaign. On the offensive line, Rodger Saffold and David Quessenberry were replaced by Dillon Radunz and either Jamarco Jones or Aaron Brewer. It’s worth noting both Saffold and Quessenberry were especially poor in pass protection last season, but their replacements are unknown commodities.
The makeover at receiver is even more prominent. Brown, Jones, Rogers and Johnson are all gone. They’ve been replaced by Robert Woods, Treylon Burks and Kyle Philips. All three receivers face legitimate question marks. Two are rookies and the other is an aging veteran that continues to recover from last season’s torn ACL.
Better pass protection and separation gained aren’t guarantees, but it would be difficult for the Titans’ offense to match (or even surpass) their ineffectiveness in these two areas last season. Should the Titans improve, Tannehill could enjoy a bounce-back season.