The Tennessee Titans’ star trio ranks outside the top-ten in the NFL, but that won’t be the case for long once the 2020 season gets underway.
The Tennessee Titans are coming off a run to the AFC Championship last season and will have expectations to be competitors in the AFC once again in 2020.
Derrick Henry will look to repeat as the rushing champion, Ryan Tannehill will hope to continue his success from the second half of the 2019 regular season, and AJ Brown will try to bring the same fire he had last season back to the field this year and build on his dominant 2019 season.
When you think of Tannehill, Henry, and Brown together as a trio in the NFL, before last season, it wouldn’t seem like anything more than a middle of the road NFL team. That all changed last year, though.
Tannehill took the starting job from Marcus Mariota and proceeded to throw for 2,742 passing yards and 22 touchdowns with only six interceptions in the 12 games he appeared. He started the final ten games of the season and led the Titans to a 7-3 record as the starter which was just good enough to get into the playoffs.
Henry led the NFL in rushing yards last year with 1,540 rushing yards and finished tied for the most rushing touchdowns with 16. There’s no doubt that 2019 the best season of Henry’s career, but he could top that in 2020 if there’s consistency at the quarterback position to open up the running game.
Brown had the best season of his career, but that could be because he was a rookie. He finished the season with 1,051 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. 778 of those receiving yards came from Week 7 on when Tannehill took over as the starting quarterback.
With that being said, the Titans’ “Big 3” didn’t impress Ryan Dunleavy of The New York Post enough to be ranked in the top-ten. Dunleavy ranked the Titans trio at No. 11.
"“The uniquely bruising Henry (1,540 yards) won the rushing title, allowing Tannehill’s resurgence,” Dunleavy said. “Can either duplicate their 2019 success? Brown led all 1,000-yard receivers with a 20.2-yard average per catch as a rookie.”"
The Saints’ trio of Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas came in at No. 1, the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and Amari Cooper came in No. 2, and the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes, Damien Williams, Travis Kelce rounded out the top three.
If Brown’s numbers can be more consistent from game-to-game in 2020, then I can only expect that he could finish this season with a few more yards than he had in 2019.
The 2019 season effectively changed these three players’ careers. Brown is still young, so he has a couple more years to prove himself if he struggles to continue the success in 2020, but Tannehill and Henry needed their success in the 2019 season to continue to guarantee themselves security with the Titans for the years to come.
I don’t think the Titans would’ve let Henry walk even if he didn’t have the best season of his career in 2019, but with Henry only getting older, it would be harder for the front office to convince themselves that Henry is worth the investment.
The Titans have high expectations coming into the 2020 season. Will they be able to live up to those expectations? If so, we could see the Titans’ trio ranked with the best of the best this time next year.