Are The Tennessee Titans Contenders Or Pretenders?

Are The Tennessee Titans Contenders Or Pretenders?

It has been a drama-filled offseason around the NFL. Superstar players have expressed their displeasure leading to being shipped off to a playoff-caliber team. Matthew Stafford swapped places with Jared Goff. Aaron Rodgers announced his refusal to be a Packer because his relationship with the front office was strained beyond repair.

However, it is not just quarterbacks leading the charge. 

The Atlanta Falcons sent Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans last Sunday for a second-round draft pick. The price seemed a bit too low for the elite pass catcher, but he got his wish. He was out of that snake-bitten organization. 

The trade sent the entire league into a frenzy. Players and analysts tweeted their thoughts. Titans fans danced around their living rooms, while Falcons fans were too busy gawking at their fourth overall draft pick. Everyone had something to say about this blockbuster movie. 

I have my thoughts about the deal, but there is a question that needs to be answered. 

Does trading for Julio Jones make the Titans automatic Super Bowl contenders?

The Tennessee Titans have made the playoffs in three of the past four seasons. Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry have led the charge before being eliminated by Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen, the elite QBs of the league. 

Jones ranks as the league’s top receiver for the last decade. Any team he joins automatically gains a massive boost of confidence for a deep playoff run. The Titans saw a chance to make a move, especially with two of their top three pass catchers departed in free agency.  

Julio Jones instantly skyrockets the Titans to the top of the power rankings. Jones gives Tannehill not one but two WR1 caliber receivers to throw to. Receivers that need 100+ targets each to be satisfied. Unfortunately, Tannehill is unfamiliar with the idea of two WRs seeing over a hundred marks. 

Last season, AJ Brown led the team in targets with 106. Corey Davis, the second option, saw 92 marks, and Jonnu Smith finished with 65. 

Julio Jones has not finished a season under 100 targets when playing a full schedule. Something has to change. 

It will. This transaction gives the Titans a lot of wiggle room to air the ball out more and take the pressure off of Derrick Henry’s workload. 

Is this enough? Does Julio Jones make the Titans Super Bowl-bound? 

No, sorry. 

The Titans’ defense holds them back from making that jump into the next tier of teams, specifically their ability to cover the pass. 

The Titans allowed the second-most touchdown passes, the third-most completions, and the fourth most passing yards in the league. The other teams surrounding them include the Seahawks, Lions, and Falcons.

Those teams are looking towards the draft in January, not the playoffs. 

The signings of Kevin Johnson and Janoris Jankins provide some help to the defense but do not make a significant impact. Tennessee needs one more defensive back still treading in the free agency pool. Richard Sherman said that he wants to play for a competitive team in 2021; Sherman could even become a mentor to Caleb Fairley in the process.

Julio Jones joins a video game-type offense in the Music City. The immediate comparison that comes to mind is the 2013 Broncos. They dominated the regular season but put up a Super dud in the championship game that season. 

The Titans are good but still have a lot more to fix. 

Pat Pitts

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