Are the Tennessee Titans Playoff-bound in 2017?
The Tennessee Titans formed a strong rushing attack last season between DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry, and the mobility of quarterback Marcus Mariota. The offensive line ranked first in all of football, according to Pro Football Focus. Three of their linemen placed in the top-10 at their respective positions. So, this offseason, they addressed wide receiver to balance the offense out.
Tight End Delanie Walker is a two-time Pro Bowler and he’s 6’2 248 lbs. As for the new additions, first, it was Corey Davis with the 5th overall pick in the draft. The Western Michigan target stands at 6’3, 209 lbs. Their latest free agent acquisition stands at 6’3, 213 lbs.
Eric Decker was the latest veteran to be released by the New York Jets, who have been purging a number of contracts this offseason. The Titans scooped up the eight-year veteran, who has recorded a trio of 1,000-yard seasons and another with over 900 yards. During those 1,000-yard campaigns, Decker grabbed touchdown totals of 13, 11, and 12, between the Jets and the Denver Broncos.
In his better years, he was good for 80+ receptions and 13 yards per catch. I think we can all agree when I say that the Jets haven’t been a great franchise to judge a wide receiver. Nonetheless, Decker has run routes for Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning, and Ryan Fitzpatrick, so his ability to adapt is a positive for a team with playoff aspirations. Before missing 13 games last season, Decker had only missed 4 games in the previous 6 seasons.
Considering that the defense was stout against the run, ranking 5th, their ball-control offense could further that efficiency if they continue to score in the redzone like they have been. The only glaring weakness, heading into 2017 at least, is their pass defense that finished 2nd-to-last. The hope here is that the outside linebackers, Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan, will repeat their success where they recorded 19.5 combined sacks last season. In addition, they signed cornerback Logan Ryan from the New England Patriots, and safety Johnathan Cyprien from the rival Jacksonville Jaguars.
Tennessee will be a tough football team to beat each week. They actually tied the Houston Texans at 9-7, but missed out on winning the division and playoff contention due to a tie-breaker. Both should remain in the playoff hunt, however, the division has improved as a whole and could send two teams into contention.