Former Tennessee Titans cornerback Jason McCourty made his national television debut on Monday, appearing as a cast member on the newly revamped “Good Morning Football” show on NFL Network.

And he immediately turned into a Titans doubter.

McCourty, who played for the Titans from 2009 to 2016, said on Monday that while he thinks Tennessee will be a good team in 2022, he doesn’t necessarily think they’re a contender this season.

“I don’t see the Titans as a contender,” said McCourty.

“For a team when you’re ready to win right now and your team is built for that…the No. 1 seed last year (in the AFC) and we get rid of our most productive offensive player (AJ Brown) with Derrick Henry not being out there, that makes it tough for me to really believe they’re going to be the team that takes it over the top. A very good team, but I don’t know if I have them in my contender slip right now.”

McCourty seems to be basing most of his opinion on the Titans’ decision to trade wide receiver AJ Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason (they didn’t want to trade him, by the way, but Brown forced their hand).

I’m not sure that’s fair. If he wanted to criticize quarterback Ryan Tannehill and his performance last year, then I get it. There’s no doubt that Tannehill needs to be better than he was last season (especially in the playoffs). But his down year last season (his quarterback rating last season was his lowest since 2015 when he was with the Miami Dolphins) had more to do with the absence of star running back Derrick Henry than anything else.

The return of Henry this season should help Tannehill return to his 2020 form when he threw a career-high 33 touchdown passes and only seven interceptions (a career low for Tannehill in a full season).

Does losing Brown hurt? Of course. But new addition Robert Woods is an excellent wide receiver who has a bigger history of production than Brown. And then there’s rookie Treylon Burks, who has a ton of upside (he has a lot to prove, but the potential for stardom is there). Those two players should be able to adequately replace Brown.

Essentially, I think the return of Henry will have a bigger impact on the offense than Brown’s departure will have on the offense.

If I’m right, then Tennessee will be a threat to win the AFC.

And if I’m wrong, then McCourty will be right.

Most times I’d say trust the professional athlete. But since McCourty is leaning into his role with the national media (doubting the Titans is apparently a requirement to be in the national media), I’m going to suggest you roll with me on this one.

Featured image via George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK