Ultimate Fan Guide
It's another great year to watch Tennessee Titans football! If you're a fan of free tickets, tailgates, amateur football analysis and draft recaps, you've come to the right place. What's in store for the season? Can our guys take the next step forward both offensively and defensively? Do any draft picks have an instant impact in areas of need? It can be tough to imagine what it takes to improve with so many moving parts, but this season in particular seems to have some strong arguments for optimism. Let's take a closer look...
The Tennessee Titans repeated a 9-7 record in 2017. With Mike Vrabel now at the helm, it's clear that leadership believes a shake-up is in order to take the team to the next level. The theme of this season is progress. Building a team is a multi-year process, and — while short term gains are exciting — the focus should really be on the long-term development in areas of need.
A Look at Seasons Past
At QB, Mariota finished the season with 3,232 yards, 281/453 passing, 13 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions while rushing for 312 yards (averaging 5.2 yards per carry) and 5 rushing touchdowns. Keeping Mariota healthy and limiting interceptions throughout the 2018 season will be a priority for the Titans, but if OL play continues to improve as it has, and if a few more receiving threats can be developed, that may be a very accomplishable goal. The Titans offense averaged 114.6 rushing yards and 199.4 passing yards per game. Statistics-wise, not much progress was made between 2016 and 2017, so it could be inferred that this new staff will be pushed to remedy this.
On the other side of the ball, the defense had its moments of brilliance but found defending against the rush to be a challenge. After taking a big step forward with passing defense, rushing defense - a strength in 2016 - seemed to fall by the wayside.
Overall, the Tennessee Titans seem poised for an exciting 2018 season, and we hope to join you all in the celebrations to come!
Gary Ashton's Keys to Gridiron Success
In a nutshell, these four things likely need to happen for this season to be considered a success. Football, of course, loves to surprise us once everything is in motion, but these factors are all areas that could be critical to not just wins in 2018 but also to wins in future seasons.
Keep Mariota Healthy
Mariota is the future, and that really isn't an exaggeration. This kid has jets but the Titans can't rely on his running ability to the point of injury. If the cast around him can keep him from needing to stay in the pocket for too long, or putting the team on his shoulders to fight for yardage on critical downs, his size should keep him from any unnecessary wear and tear.
Develop Another Receiving Threat
Similar to how a good defense can make a good offense, a strong receiving corps can lead to a strong run game. Mariota simply needs another big-time target to emerge. If opposing secondaries have their hands full with another productive receiver or tight end, more holes will open up for runners. Additionally, another receiving threat can mean Mariota can spend less time waiting for a man to get open, meaning less opportunities for defenses to get a piece of him.
Find Answers at Against the Rush
If other teams can rush the ball at-will, it becomes quite difficult to take control of a game. While the secondary stepped up in a big way last season, the line will need to do the same in 2018 if the Titans want to take the next step forward.
Improve Linebacker Coverage
The linebackers looked lost in coverage at times last season, and, in order to shut down that part of the field, it simply must improve. When this unit falls apart, it often doesn't matter how well the rest of the defense performs as opposing offenses exploit this to their advantage. Perhaps this was a problem caused by trying to do too much all at once, or simply a tough transition into a somewhat different style of play – either way, the hope is that the linebackers can play smart, yet instinctively as well.