Tennessee Titans Season Preview 2023
The Titans’ fifth year under head coach Mike Vrabel did not turn out as planned. The team went 7-10 and came in second place in the AFC South, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2017. Unfortunately, the Titans struggled as a collective unit as the passing game was ineffective, and the defense did not meet their expectations. The Titans are looking to turn their disappointing season into a learning lesson and prepare for the upcoming 2023 NFL season.
With no surprise, the Tennessee Titans odds of winning the Super Bowl are not great; however, winning the division is another story. Despite being in a soft rebuild, the AFC South will (likely) feature two rookie quarterbacks, assuming the Texans and Colts draft one in the first round. That leaves the Jaguars as the Titans’ only real threat at winning the division and making the post-season. Mike Vrabel is an excellent coach and should have this team in a better position this coming season. As far as sleeper teams, the Titans are very much top of that list.
Coaching Staff Changes
In February, head coach Mike Vrabel decided to start changing his coaching staff. Tim Kelly, who was previously the passing game coordinator for the team in 2022, was elevated to offensive coordinator for the 2023 season. A slew of other positions was filled as well, including hiring Charles London as pass game coordinator/quarterbacks coach, Chris Harris as defensive pass game coordinator/cornerbacks coach, Lori Locust as defensive quality control coach, and Justin Hamilton as defensive quality control coach.
Rebuilding through the draft
This is the most important offseason in Titans recent history as the draft is crucial for their future success. They hold the 11th overall pick, where drafting a wide receiver would be the correct choice for the organization as that is the position that struggled the most last season. Choices for the Titans are Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba, TCU’s Quentin Johnston, and USC’s Jordan Addison who all should still be on the board by the time Tennessee is on the clock. Each player has their own strengths and weaknesses which the Titans should study carefully and choose the best receiver that fits their system.
On March 22, 2023, Ohio State hosted their pro day in which wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba performed for the NFL scouts. The Titans sent seven representatives to watch the Buckeyes practice including head coach Mike Vrabel who played college football at Ohio State and General Manager Ran Carthon. When coach Vrabel was interviewed at OSU’s pro day about possibly drafting Smith-Njigba he stated, “Of course, I mean I think we’re looking for guys who can get open and catch the ball and that can do things after and create separation, absolutely.” I firmly believe the Titans have a close eye on Jaxon Smith-Njigba who they most likely will select with the 11th overall pick on April 27, 2023.
As the 2023 NFL Draft approaches, the Titans are looking to move current players, including Pro Bowl running back Derrick Henry and starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The Titans will be able to acquire additional picks in exchange for their soon-to-be former players, which will assist in speeding up the process of rebuilding their roster.
Here's every route from former Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba at the Buckeyes' Pro Day Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/PHqurx3eLr
— Lantern Sports (@LanternSports) March 23, 2023
In addition to rebuilding the roster through the draft, signing new players to the team and bringing in fresh faces to the program has been the plan for success. Players who have signed with the Titans from other teams this offseason so far are defensive end Arden Key (JAX), linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair (SF), left tackle Andre Dillard (PHI), right guard Daniel Brunskill (SF), cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting (TB), and linebacker Luke Gifford (DAL).
Fortunately for the Titans, the Baltimore Ravens placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on star quarterback Lamar Jackson, meaning Jackson can negotiate with other NFL teams. A realistic scenario for the franchise is to meet with the Pro Bowl quarterback and try to figure out a deal that works for both Jackson and the Titans organization. With signing Jackson, the Titans would be set at quarterback for possibly the next five to ten years whom they can build the roster around and compete for a championship.
Looking Forward to Next Season
The first step of action is for the organization to aggressively pursue Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson whom the team can be built around. Then, fill in the gaps at wide receiver, offensive line, and possibly add a starting running back if the Titans trade Derrick Henry. If they rebuild this team carefully and methodically, the Titans will have a chance to win the AFC South and make a playoff run once again.
Lawrence is a fan of the Green Bay Packers. He is currently a graduate student at William Paterson University pursuing a master’s degree in Financial Planning. His hobbies include all things fantasy football, weightlifting, collecting Yu-Gi-Oh trading cards, and playing Madden. He specializes in dynasty fantasy football having won two championships in the past five years. He is also a college football fan who loves to watch his Buckeyes play on Saturdays while drinking pumpkin-flavored coffee. He is always looking to evolve his game as a fantasy football player and one of his goals is to help other players do the same.