The Tennessee Titans open training camp on July 25 at St. Thomas Sports Park in Nashville, Tennessee. Here’s a closer look at a few storylines:
What has to happen for the Titans to make a playoff push?
They need to get more explosive on offense. They only had six plays of 40 yards or more last season. Opposing defenses are going gear up to stop Derrick Henry and the rushing attack early in the season. The Titans have to complete some deep passes to keep defenses honest. That would help lead to some early wins. Getting off to a strong start when the schedule is tough to open the season will help put the Titans in the driver's seat for making a push to the playoffs in the back half of the schedule.
Can first-year offensive coordinator Arthur Smith make Marcus Mariota the long-term answer at quarterback?
Yes. The carryover that former TE coach Smith brings from Matt LaFleur's offense last year is good for Mariota. Smith can help Mariota by getting him into an early rhythm with the playcalling. Smith can present him with high percentage throws that allow players such as Adam Humphries to catch short passes and do all the work by gaining yards after the catch.
What is coach Mike Vrabel's biggest hurdle in his second year?
Getting his team to be more consistent. Last year, the Titans found ways to beat teams like the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots but lost to teams like the 6-10 Buffalo Bills. Tennessee wants to make a playoff push and improve upon their 9-7 record last year. They won't unless Vrabel figures out how to avoid letdown games.
Can the Titans pass rush improve with the current personnel?
Improving the pass rush will be a group effort, but the key will be second-year LB Harold Landry, who is working to add more pass-rushing moves. His improvement will dictate how much better the defense gets after the quarterback. DE Cameron Wake, 37, is still able to pressure the quarterback. He brings added juice off the edge. Rashaan Evans figures to get more opportunities to show that he can be a force after seeing his role gradually increase last year. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees likes to generate pressure with various blitzes from the secondary as well.