Better, worse or the same? Tennessee Titans' offense gets more dangerous

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans offense established itself as one of the league's best last season. The unit, under former offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, finished with a husky average of 30.7 points per game (fourth in NFL).

The Titans' offense also averaged 396.4 yards per game which tied them with the Buffalo Bills for the second-highest average in the league.

But there have been some big changes. Todd Downing takes over for Smith, who moved on to become the coach of the Atlanta Falcons. The Titans also lost three starters on offense: WR Corey Davis, TE Jonnu Smith and OT Dennis Kelly.

As the Titans turn their attention to 2021, the question is are they better, worse, or the same?

Here is a position-by-position look at the Titans' offense for 2021:


Additions: None

Losses: None

Returners: Ryan Tannehill, Logan Woodside, DeShone Kizer

Better, worse or the same? Better. It's kind of strange to say Tennessee's QB room got better even though they didn't make any changes. However, there is a strong argument to be made.

Kizer signed to the Titans' practice squad last November and immediately became a "quarantine quarterback," meaning he practiced without the rest of the team and worked primarily with former NFL QB Pat O'Hara.

Now Kizer finds himself in a much better position because he has a chance to practice with the team and develop chemistry with the pass-catchers. The fifth-year veteran enters this season more confident since he isn't learning a new scheme and has a prime opportunity to compete for the backup QB position.

Kizer's skill set is similar to Tannehill's so Downing wouldn't have to deviate too far from the game plan if Kizer were pressed into action.

Running back

Additions: Brian Hill, Mekhi Sargent, Tory Carter (FB)

Losses: D'Onta Foreman, Senorise Perry

Returners: Derrick Henry, Darrynton Evans, Jeremy McNichols, Khari Blasingame (FB)

Better, worse or the same? Same. The Titans like what they've seen from Hill so far. But it's not a significant upgrade that moves the needle. However, having Evans back for a full season could pay huge dividends for the Titans. Evans figures to have a large role as a third-down and matchup specialist when the Titans face teams.

Regardless of whatever changes have been made, Henry is going to continue to be the catalyst for the rushing attack. Henry has carried the ball over 300 times each of the past two seasons and it would be a surprise if he doesn't eclipse that mark again this year.

Wide receiver

Additions: Julio Jones, Josh Reynolds, Marcus Johnson, Dez Fitzpatrick, Racey McMath, Fred Brown, Kalija Lipscomb, Mason Kinsey

Losses: Corey Davis, Adam Humphries, Kalif Raymond

Returners: A.J. Brown, Cam Batson, Cody Hollister, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine

Better, worse or the same? Better. Adding Jones (51 receptions, 771 yards in nine games in 2020) helps offset the loss of Davis (65, 984) and Humphries (23, 228). Despite being 32 years old and coming off of an injury, Jones is a more dangerous player than Davis. The threat Jones brings to the Titans' passing game helps provide greater balance in the passing game and will make teams think twice about rolling coverage to Brown.

Reynolds was considered to be the replacement for Davis before Jones was acquired via trade. Now he shifts back to the third option behind Brown and Jones giving the Titans three big receivers who can play in the slot or on the outside.

Tight end

Additions: Miller Forristall, Briley Moore-McKinney, Jared Pinkney

Losses: Jonnu Smith, MyCole Pruitt

Returners: Anthony Firkser, Geoff Swaim, Tommy Hudson

Better, worse or the same? Worse. Losing Smith took away their best pass-catching and blocking tight end in one transaction. Smith's eight touchdowns were second only to Brown's 11 scores last season. All eight of Smith's touchdown receptions came in the red zone.

Pruitt was a capable receiver in addition to being used as an H-back. The losses far outweigh the additions for the Titans' tight end room.

Firkser is the starter this season and figures to be factored heavily into Tennessee's red zone plans, according to coach Mike Vrabel. While Firkser is mostly a pass-catching tight end, Swaim is primarily a blocker. Having one or the other on the field could signal whether the Titans want to run the ball or pass it.

Offensive line

Additions: Kendall Lamm, Dillon Radunz

Losses: Dennis Kelly, Marshall Newhouse, Isaiah Wilson

Returners: Taylor Lewan, Rodger Saffold, Ben Jones, Nate Davis, Ty Sambrailo, Aaron Brewer, Daniel Munyer, David Quessenberry

Better, worse or the same: Better. Essentially, the Titans' offensive line comparison is Kelly and Wilson pitted against Lamm and Radunz. Kelly was a reserve lineman before starting all 16 games for the Titans last season, primarily at right tackle.

The Titans took a less expensive route by releasing Kelly and signing Lamm, a former Cleveland Browns reserve lineman. If there is any kind of upgrade along the offensive line, it's Radunz over Wilson. Although Wilson, their 2020 first-round pick, didn't have the luxury of rookie minicamp, OTAs and mandatory minicamp, he failed to show any signs of promise during training camp and played only four snaps last year before being placed on the non-football injury list then traded to the Miami Dolphins.

Radunz has shown more promise than Wilson and training camp hasn't even started yet. The rookie will compete for a starting spot at right tackle and continue to get reps at every position along the offensive line. It wouldn't be a surprise if Radunz follows right guard Nate Davis' path as a rookie and becomes the starting right tackle by Week 4.