Don’t Panic Yet – Titans Offense May Not Need Extra WR Help

Don’t Panic Yet – Titans Offense May Not Need Extra WR Help


I know it sounds crazy but stay with me.

Entering the 2023 NFL Draft, many Titans fans were looking for the organization to draft a WR in the first round to go alongside Treylon Burks. With the AJ Brown debacle/firing of GM Jon Robinson behind us, many felt it was time to add more firepower on offense. There were some nice prospects in Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Quentin Johnston, Zay Flowers, among others who are all expected to be immediate contributors.

However, remember why the Titans offense was so anemic in 2022? Many asserted it was the always predictable play-calling of OC Todd Downing. That was undoubtedly a huge part of it. Nonetheless, I propose that the porous offensive line (looking at you Dennis Daley) was the biggest culprit. They not only regularly failed to open holes for RB Derrick Henry, but they also put QB Ryan Tannehill’s life on the line with every drop back. It’s truly a miracle that Tannehill was not injured sooner.

Derrick Henry is such a monster that he still nearly claimed the rushing title despite such poor blocking. Critics could easily point to Henry’s high usage rate as to why he racked up 1,538 yards, only fewer than Las Vegas RB Josh Jacobs (1,653). In 2022, #22’s 4.4 AVG was among the lowest of his career (though still respectable), while Henry’s 349 ATT only trailed his historic 2020 season where he carried the ball 378 times for 2,027 yards. To compare, Henry’s AVG in 2020 was substantially higher at 5.4 YPC.

Despite some impressive numbers including 13 rushing TDs, Derrick Henry’s game last season lacked the long runs that Titans fans have grown so accustomed to seeing. Although he managed to break out for longs of 56, 50, and 48, "El Tractorcito" failed to record a long of more than 20 yards in 10 of his 16 games played in 2022. Sure, ol’ Todd may have put him at a disadvantage with such uncreative play calling. But it just never felt like the offensive line could make that extra push to the second and third levels to open up the field for the running game.


I get the Ryan Tannehill hate. The painful memories of his ill-timed blunders in the Bengals playoff game are forever ingrained in the minds of Titans fans, and they may overshadow Tannehill’s otherwise productive career. That said, his declining play in 2022 was not his fault. Circling back to the WR topic, let’s consider the notion that Titans receivers were not getting enough separation. Only three Titans WRs logged the minimum 45 targets to be tracked by NFL Next Gen StatsNick Westbrook-Ikhine, Robert Woods (who’s Free! and now a member of division rival Houston), and Treylon Burks. While NWI and Woods ranked near the bottom with 2.3 and 2.7 SEP respectively, Burks came in near the top of the league at 3.1 average yards of separation.

Additionally, (this is where it gets good) TE Chigoziem Okonkwo posted an excellent mark of 3.0 SEP for the 2022 season. It’s no secret that Chig is a stud, and most experts figure he will only play better in 2023. According to a Fantasy Alarm report, Chig Okonkwo’s rookie season is on par with Ravens TE Mark Andrews, who is widely regarded as a top 3 TE in the NFL.

Snap %




Yards/Route Run



Mark Andrews








Chig Okonkwo








In Andrews’ rookie season (2018), he split snaps with Nick Boyle and Hayden Hurst. Similarly, Okonkwo competed with Austin Hooper (now with the Raiders) and Geoff Swaim in his first season. In Andrews’ second season, he became eventual league MVP QB Lamar Jackson’s favorite target as he led the Ravens with 64 REC for 852 YDS and 10 TDs. Even with the sneaky good pickup of blocking TE Trevon Wesco from Chicago and 5th round selection TE Josh Whyle, Chig figures to be TE1 with his dangerous pass-catching ability.

I’m not saying Chig is going to single-handedly solve every problem on offense and completely conceal what many believe to be a lackluster WR room. What I am saying is the Titans have more weapons than most fans think. In addition to an expected leap for Okonwo, PFF predicts Burks will have a breakout season as well. There is also cause for optimism in year 2 for WR Kyle Philips and year 3 for deep threat WR Racey McMath, who both had injury-riddled 2022 campaigns. Tennessee also made solid acquisitions in signing WR Chris Moore and drafting RB Tyjae Spears. So maybe – just maybe – the situation is not as bad as fans think.

All the pundits have already counted Tennessee out in 2023. The Titans over/under win total for 2023 currently sits at 7.5. ESPN’s power rankings following the draft slotted Tennessee at – wait for it – No. 28 in the league.

But with a revamped offensive line, underrated weapons in the passing game, and Derrick Henry in the backfield, the Titans are going to shock the world.