The 2020 season has just ended, and from March 17, the 2021 campaign will open its doors. Touchdown Actu therefore takes the opportunity to offer you an overview of the various franchises during the offseason. Which players to keep and cut? Which free agent to extend? Which recruits to observe? Here are some ideas, franchise by franchise. In the spotlight today, the Tennessee Titans.
An offseason full of paradox. Qualified in the playoffs, for the second year in a row, the Tennessee Titans yet see spring with some trepidation. By separating from his defensive coordinator, Dean Pees, and resuming play calls, Mike Vrabel put some pressure on himself, accentuated by the disastrous performances of the local pass rush and the very clear failures of Jadeveon Clowney and Vic Beasley. To make matters worse, its offensive coordinator, Arthur Smith, architect of one of the most successful attacks in the country (4th in terms of points scored on last season, with more than 30 units of average), has just found Pees at Atlanta, for his appointment as head coach. To recover, Vrabel relied on internal promotions. Todd Downing, former tight ends coach, takes over the reins of the attack. In defense, it is quite astonishing the coach of the outside linebackers, Shane Bowen, who will take care of the squad. Bets up to the challenge that awaits General Manager Jon Robinson, with a lot of large contracts and a large contingent of tenants at the end of the lease.
1. Derrick Henry (RB)
2. AJ Brown (WR)
3. Ryan Tannehill (QB)
A Kevin Byard could have been on this list, but this trio clearly carried the famous thunderous attack of the past two years at arm’s length. By crossing the 2,000-yard mark on the ground, despite his atypical size, Henry was quite rightly named offensive player of the season and will undoubtedly remain an essential pawn of Downing. In the air, the complicity between Ryan Tannehill and AJ Brown is well established, with a new campaign at 1,000 yards for the receiver, despite an incomplete season.
Kenny Vaccaro (S)
As we said in the introduction: a lot of lucrative contracts are to be managed from the GM of the Titans, Jon Robinson. And if certain decisions, allowing to save on the course, are not to be ruled out (Malcolm Butler, Ben Jones) and that the franchise has unsurprisingly cut receiver Adam Humphries (to save 4 million), a choice is needed regarding Kenny Vaccaro. Relatively one-dimensional, the former Saints saw young Amani Hooker make his way into the defensive squad and could pay a heavy price, to the tune of around 3 million.
We also won’t rule out the possibility of second-year player Isaiah Wilson leaving Tennessee (and football?) Earlier than expected, due to his far-from-professional demeanor since joining the NFL.
Man of summer
Jeffery Simmons (DL)
He is clearly not the Titans’ biggest defensive disappointment of 2020. But the day after Jurrell Casey left for Denver, Jeffery Simmons did not fully assume the role of number 1 rusher on the front curtain. Active, without yet effectively concluding (3 sacks), the former first round of draft owes revenge to a franchise that bet big on him in 2019, despite a medical status that could worry. If playmakers are expected on the front-seven to lend him a hand, he is presented as the dissuasive force of a too often apathetic defense against the pass.
The main free agents
1. Jayon Brown (LB)
2. Jonnu Smith (TE)
3. Jadeveon Clowney (EDGE)
4. DaQuan Jones (NT)
5. Corey Davis (WR)
The others: Kalif Raymond (WR), Anthony Firkser (TE), Ty Sambrailo (OT), Jack Crawford (DL), Desmond King (DB), Stephen Gostkowski (K).
Not content with losing his offensive coordinator, Ryan Tannehill sees a lot of his targets appearing on the job market. This is the case of Corey Davis and Kalif Raymond on the exteriors. This is also the case for all of the tight ends of the 2020 season. Despite six missed games, at the end of last year, Jayon Brown was one of the most productive tackles of the team and will be. difficult to extend for the Titans. Jadeveon Clowney represents an eternal hope that it becomes difficult to afford financially. Finally, Stephen Gostkowski held on all season, but missed too many kicks to be a viable fix going forward.
Top 5 needs
1. Edge rusher
4. Tight end
The problem for the Titans, during this offseason, is not only to have players at the end of their contract. It is also to have many players from the same position in the market. Because in addition to the issue of tight ends and receivers, the inside linebackers (Brown, Compton, Bates, Dzubnar) could cause a deep problem to quickly consolidate. With only 19 sacks over the whole of the last season (only Cincinnati and Jacksonville did worse), the position of edge rusher could be doubled, with a signing in the free agency and a prospect selected high enough in the draft. .
Bud Dupree (EDGE)
Speaking of pass rusher… Jon Robinson loves betting, and the one Bud Dupree represents is an interesting one. It’s hard to hide the fact that the Kentucky alumnus performed alongside a phenomenon like TJ Watt in Pittsburgh. Difficult, too, to put aside his recent tear in the cruciate ligaments. But if the person concerned is financially accessible, the game may be worth the candle. Author of 8 sacks in 11 matches, in the year 2020, Dupree is at odds with the more glamorous profile of a Clowney: active and needy. His premature end to the season coincided with the gradual decline of the Steelers, which denotes the important role the No. 48 has acquired in Pennsylvania. Finally, the transition would probably not be as much of a problem, Mike Vrabel and the coordinator of Pittsburgh, Keith Butler, having both been bottle-fed by a certain Bill Cowher.
Kadarius Toney (WR)
If the defense had its share of responsibility throughout the season, the loss in the playoffs may come from elsewhere. Unable to offer a true offensive variety, as the Ravens countered Derrick Henry, the Titans would undoubtedly have an interest in bringing more speed to their offensive system, to adapt to what makes the difference in the modern NFL. A real Swiss Army knife, the Kadarius Toney moped would be a quality complement to support AJ Brown and make this attack by the Titans difficult to cover. Moreover, if Corey Davis has been solid in 2020, not sure if the franchise offers him a nice jackpot, besides the one that seems to be waiting for AJ Brown. To offer a second, less expensive option, initially, therefore has advantages in itself.
Other possibilities: Joseph Ossai (EDGE), Landon Dickerson (C), Tyler Shelvin (DT).