It is head coach Mike Vrabel’s second season leading the Tennessee Titans, and it was his and general manager Jon Robinson’s main offseason goal to improve the team enough to move above the middle of the pack position to which they’ve sadly become accustomed.
With quarterback Marcus Mariota in the fifth year of his rookie contract, all eyes are on him this season, especially now that he has to play better (and more often) than his new backup Ryan Tannehill.
Anything less than a 10-6 record will be considered a failure but the Titans will need to do even better than that to at least score a Wild Card spot in the playoffs, and we take a look at some of the offseason moves that Tennessee made to improve as well as the odds and predictions of their 2019 season.
The 2019 Tennessee Titans are:
- Owners: KSA Industries
- General Manager: Jon Robinson (Hired January 2016)
- Head Coach: Mike Vrabel (Hired January 2018)
- Offensive Coordinator: Arthur Smith (Promoted January 2019)
- Defensive Coordinator: Dean Pees (Hired January 2018)
- Quarterback: Marcus Mariota (5th season, all with the Titans)
- Offensive Stars: Running back Derrick Henry and wide receiver Corey Davis
- Defensive Stars: Linebacker Jayon Brown and defensive end Jurrell Casey
How did the Titans do in 2018?
The Tennessee Titans had the exact same record last season as they did the two seasons before (9-7), except in 2018, head coach Mike Vrabel’s first at the helm, the Titans ended up in 3rd place of the AFC South and did not play in the postseason like they did in 2017.
By Week 17, the Titans were in charge of their own fate and could have snagged a Wild Card spot with a defeat of division rival Indianapolis Colts, but they lost that matchup 17-33 and had to watch the playoffs from their couches at home for the ninth time in ten seasons.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota missed a lot of game time due to his injuries (elbow, stinger), and his backup, Blaine Gabbert, posted a 2-1 record in his place but was released at the end of the season.
Why the change in offensive coordinator?
Last year, the Titans’ offensive coordinator was Matt LaFleur, but he was hired to be the new head coach of the Green Bay Packers this season.
The Titans promoted Arthur Smith, who had previously been the Titans tight ends coach after he impressed Vrabel with his ideas and in-game situational awareness.
Smith will be the fifth offensive coordinator for the Titans since Mariota was drafted in 2015, so it will be a relief to everybody if he proves effective enough to become a keeper.
What does the Tannehill trade mean for Mariota?
The Miami Dolphins’ quarterback room got filled up this offseason with the likes of veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and second-year man Josh Rosen, so their front office was desperately seeking to get something, anything, for their prior starter, Ryan Tannehill, before they were forced to release him.
Enter the Titans, who have been searching for a backup who can serve as a legitimate starter whenever Mariota is forced out of the game due to injury, and they gave up a seventh-round pick in the 2019 draft and a fourth-round pick in 2020.
Tannehill missed all of 2017 thanks to a knee injury and last year started in 11 games for the Dolphins, but he is expected to motivate Mariota in training camp and make a run for the starting spot, as well.
Why won’t the Titans’ first-round pick play for a year?
With their first-round selection, the nineteenth pick overall, the Titans drafted Jeffery Simmons, a defensive tackle from Mississippi State who suffered a torn ACL in February while going through position drills.
It will take the 6-foot-4, 300-pound lineman all of this season to recover from his surgery, but that didn’t keep general manager Jon Robinson from still snagging Simmons, who in 37 college games had 159 tackles (30.5 for loss), six sacks and five forced fumbles.
Simmons will likely be able to take attention off defensive end Jurrell Casey, who, despite many double-teams last season, was still able to post 7.0 sacks.
Biggest strategy shift Titans will make for 2019?
The Titans have had three 9-7 seasons in a row, so their main strategy going into the draft was to improve their roster enough to see an increase in wins and emerge from the middle of the AFC pack.
This is the fifth and final year on Mariota’s rookie contract, so it’s a critical season for him, one that will determine whether the team will continue forward with him or begin to explore other options (like Tannehill).
The hope is to discover the next Jevon Kearse, the defensive end who won Rookie of the Year in 1999 and ended the Titans three-year curse of 8-8 records and helped the team make its first and only Super Bowl appearance.
What major players have the Titans lost so far this offseason?
Edge rusher Derrick Morgan, who is currently considered an undrafted free agent.
Left guard Quinton Spain, who signed a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills worth $2.05 million, with $200,000 of that guaranteed.
Safety Johnathan Cyprien, who was released by the Titans in March of 2019 and is currently considered an undrafted free agent.
What have been the Titans’ key free agent pick-ups this offseason?
Left guard Rodger Saffold, who signed a four-year deal worth $44 million, with $22.5 million of that guaranteed.
Wide receiver Adam Humphries, who agreed to a four-year, $36 million contract, with $19 million of that guaranteed.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who signed a one-year contract for $2 million, with $1.5 million of that guaranteed.
What were Tennessee’s Biggest offseason needs?
Offense: Wide receiver, center, quarterback
Defense: Edge rusher, defensive tackle
What draft picks did the Titans have in 2019?
The Titans ended up with 6 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, and they were:
- Round 1: Jeffery Simmons, defensive tackle, Mississippi State (19th pick overall)
- Round 2: A.J. Brown, wide receiver, Ole Miss (51st)
- Round 3: Nate Davis, offensive line, UNC-Charlotte (82nd)
- Round 4: Amani Hooker, safety, Iowa (116th)
- Round 5: D’Andre Walker, outside linebacker, Georgia (168th)
- Round 6: David Long Jr., linebacker, West Virginia (188th)
How have the Titans done in the last ten postseasons?
Over the last decade, the Tennessee Titans have been to the playoffs just once, and that was in 2017 under head coach Mike Mularkey when they lost in the Divisional Playoff Game to the New England Patriots, 14-35.
The Titans have been to the Super Bowl just once, in 1999, under head coach Jeff Fisher when they lost Super Bowl XXXIV to the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 16-23.
When the team was the Houston Oilers, they won two AFL Championships (1960, 1961) and since they became the Tennessee Titans in 1999, they’ve been to the playoffs a total of seven times.
How are the Titans predicted to do during the 2019-20 season?
The oddsmakers actually predict the Titans will do worse than last season by coming in the last place in the AFC South and have given eleven other AFC teams better odds of going to the Super Bowl than them.
There are twenty-two other NFL franchises that have been given better odds than the Titans to win the Super Bowl, but at +6000, if you’re feeling like the Mariota / Tannehill combo will translate into more wins, go for it and maybe bring home the big money.
What are the current postseason odds and predictions for the 2019 Tennessee Titans?
Is Mariota going to play well enough to earn a new contract, or will the injury bug continue to limit his possibilities?
Can Tannehill bring a new level of competition for the starting spot, or will bringing in a hungry former starter just complicate it all?
Will Smith stop the endless progression of Mariota’s offensive coordinators, or will he be just another notch on the young quarterback’s belt?
Will Vrabel’s second season as head coach be the charm or are the oddsmakers right and he’ll be struggling at the bottom of the AFC South again?
The Titans have improved this offseason (and with a healthy Simmons, next year, as well), but so have a lot of other middle of the road AFC teams, so their battle for the Wild Card spots could be fun to watch.
Here are the current odds listed for the Titans’ postseason in 2019-20:
Tennessee Titans Postseason
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