Analysis

8/23/23

5 min read

Tennessee Titans 2023 NFL Season Preview: High Expectations for Vrabel

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Treylon Burks (16) takes the field to face the Cincinnati Bengals at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. Nfl Cincinnati Bengals At Tennessee Titans

As teams head to training camp and the NFL season approaches, The 33rd Team asks its experts to preview every team’s outlook for the 2023 season. In this installment, Matt Cassel takes a deep dive into the Tennessee Titans

>>READ: Titans Fantasy Football Preview

Titans Team Preview

What To Know: Offense

The Titans won the DeAndre Hopkins sweepstakes. This is a big add for a team that was in desperate need of help at wide receiver.

In addition to that, it takes the attention off second-year player Treylon Burks, who will be the No. 1 wide receiver this year, but opposite him now they’ve got a veteran and proven entity in the league with Hopkins.

The big question that everybody has is: What version of Hopkins are you going to get? Hopefully for Hopkins, this can be one of those productive years. It would bode well for not just the Titans organization but particularly for that offense.

What To Know: Defense

You’ve got to look at the cornerback position, and it’s about time they get a return on their investment. At this position, they’ve put in a lot of draft capital over these last three drafts.

Kristian Fulton, their second-rounder in 2020, has played in 30 games but only has four interceptions. You’ve got Caleb Farley, a first-rounder in 2021 who has only played in 12 total games and has suffered various injuries. And then last year’s second-round pick, Roger McCreary, played in all the games last year and is hoping to build off that season.

When you look at this defense, they’ve got a good group of safeties led by All-Pro Kevin Byard and Amani Hooker. Then you look at the defensive front, and they can get after guys. You got Jeffery Simmons and Denico Autry. In addition to that, you’re getting LB Harold Landry back from the ACL injury last season.

Biggest Off-Field Storyline

The biggest thing here is the hiring of general manager Ran Carthon, who comes over from the San Francisco 49ers as their director of player personnel. He gets a fresh start with an established team that’s looking to get over the hump.

But he also has a lot of decisions to make because obviously, RB Derrick Henry is a hot commodity. As you move forward this season, if it’s not going well and if there’s a market out there for Henry, is the decision to move on from him and trade him for draft capital down the road? It’s a question Carthon might have to answer pretty soon in his tenure with the Titans.

Breakout Player Prediction

I’m going to go with Burks. I like this player. He was drafted in the first round to take over for A.J. Brown when he was traded to Philadelphia.

Burks showed some promise last year. He only played in 10 games and suffered a toe injury, but he did have 429 yards. The Titans are looking to grow that number this year exponentially. With Hopkins' arrival, it’ll take a lot of pressure off Burks.

Look, this team will face a ton of loaded fronts, and they’re going to drop a safety in, they’re going to load the box to stop the run. Henry in that rushing attack gives Burks many more 1-on-1 opportunities on the outside.

Mike Vrabel Titans vs. Chiefs2023 Season Expectations

This is definitely a playoff-caliber team They have a winnable division with first-year head coaches for the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans. The Jacksonville Jaguars made great strides last year. But do you even go back to the last game of the season where they had to pull out some miraculous plays to beat the Titans, who were depleted in terms of who they had out on the field?

So I have high expectations. I think Mike Vrabel is a heck of a head coach, and they’ll figure out how to make their way into the playoffs this season.

 

NFC East: DAL | NYG  | PHI | WAS

AFC East: BUF | MIA | NE  | NYJ

NFC North: GB | CHI | DET | MIN

AFC North: PIT | CLE | BAL | CIN 

AFC West: KC | LAC | LV | DEN

NFC West: SF | SEA | LAR | ARI

NFC South: TB | CAR | NO | ATL

AFC South: JAX | HOU | IND 


Matt Cassel is a former NFL quarterback who played with seven teams in his NFL career, most notably the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys. Follow him on Twitter at @M_Cassel.


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