3rd Annual 32 in 32ish NFL Previews: Tennessee Titans

As our previews of all 32 NFL teams continue, we conclude our look at the AFC South with the Tennessee Titans, who finished in last place in the division last season.

The Titans are coming off a second straight last-place finish in the division after a three-win season. The Titans’ drafting of QB Marcus Mariota last year didn’t immediately pay off with just one more win than in 2014. The team’s biggest roster move this year in an attempt to improve the team was trading for RB DeMarco Murray from the Eagles, joining a running-back core that put up mediocre numbers last season. Also new to the running game this season is second-round draft pick RB Derrick Henry, the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner out of Alabama. Other moves the team made to reinvent the offense was signing WR Rishard Matthews and veteran WR Andre Johnson, to add some experience to a young team.

In his rookie season, Mariota made 12 starts and completed 62% of his passes for 2,818 yards and 19 touchdowns, with 10 interceptions. RB Antonio Andrews, who’s now low on the depth chart, was the team’s leading rusher in 2015, totaling 520 yards and 3 touchdowns on 143 carries. TE Delanie Walker was the top receiver on the team, catching 94 passes — 58 more than anyone else on the team — for 1,088 yards and 6 touchdowns. The defense was among the worst in the league, giving up 423 points on the season and notching just 11 interceptions.

With offensive numbers like the Titans had last season, it’s no surprise that they’re trying to revamp just about their entire offense, outside of Mariota, who you would think will put up better numbers this season with a year of experience behind him and a seemingly better team around him. Murray had a disappointing season last year with Philadelphia after putting up monster numbers with the Cowboys a season earlier. Johnson is likely there just for some depth and veteran leadership, but the 35-year-old veteran receiver likely won’t do much on the field, as the Colts found out when he was with them last season.

The start of the schedule isn’t easy for the Titans, who host the Vikings, coming off a NFC North title, in Week 1. The Raiders, who many expect to be improved this season, come to Nashville in Week 3. The Titans host the Packers in Week 10, then visit the Colts in Week 11 for the teams’ second meeting of the season. After a Week 13 bye, the Titans face back-to-back games against AFC West teams, a home game with the Broncos in Week 14 and a road game at the Chiefs in Week 15. Two divisional battles close out the Titans’ season, at the Jaguars in Week 16 and a home contest with the Texans in Week 17. Despite the offensive additions the Titans made in the offseason, I’m actually projecting them to regress to the 2-14 record they had in 2014, one game worse than their 3-13 mark from 2015. I just don’t think the offense or defense are good enough to keep the Titans in many games this year. They’re still a way away from competing.

Source: http://www.titansonline.com, http://www.pro-football-reference.com

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