NASHVILLE, Tenn. ⏤ It’s no secret that the 2022 NFL offseason has been one of the most active and aggressive in league history.
AFC teams, in particular, made a plethora of moves and improved significantly.
“Going into every single year, there’s going to be things like that as far as roster turnover in the league, but in recent years, I don’t really remember it being this much,” Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard said. “That month of March kind of exploded with Russell Wilson coming to the AFC.”
Ben Jones on the AFC loading up this off-season: It takes more than one year to build something special. pic.twitter.com/pBUpp4FPpf
— AtoZ Sports Nashville (@AtoZSports) April 18, 2022
The explosion, which included the powerhouse Buffalo Bills adding stalwart pass rusher Von Miller in addition to the Broncos’ trade for Wilson, has led some to wonder if the Titans will be able to keep up with the rest of their uber-talented conference.
After all, the Titans’ only notable offseason additions have been WR Robert Woods and TE Austin Hooper while other teams have made huge splashes, like the Raiders acquiring WR Davante Adams.
Anyone who’s doubting the Titans based on their comparative lack of offseason explosiveness, though, is forgetting something important: their cultural foundation.
Tennessee has recorded six straight winning seasons dating back to 2016. Just last year, they earned the AFC’s top seed entering the postseason.
The Titans have an established track record of success, and the intangible cultural framework within their building is one of the major factors behind it.
“We’re building something special here, and we’ve done it over the past four years with Vrabel,” center Ben Jones said. “I think this team is maturing. We went from just getting into the playoffs a couple of years ago and making a run to winning the division, to, last year, winning the whole AFC.”
It takes years to build the type of confidence, trust and winning culture that the Titans have developed under Vrabel, and that culture is a legitimate weapon for the team.
It’s something that the teams who went bananas during the offseason will need if they want their moves to amount to anything worthwhile. That’s something Titans TE Austin Hooper knows all too well.
“Without making it team-specific, I’ll just say I’ve been in places where it’s been tight, and I’ve been in places where it hasn’t been tight,” Hooper said. “It’s real. It doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, but it does. If you really care about your brothers, you’re gonna finish a little extra.”
The Titans may not have made a move that led to Ian Rapoport or Adam Schefter getting 50,000 Twitter likes or reposts during the offseason, but they really didn’t need to.
Most of the roster that went 12-5 last season is back and, more importantly, the organization’s strong cultural framework remains in place.
“In football, you can’t really buy championships like that,” Byard said. “You have to have the foundation first, then you bring pieces into that foundation, and that’s when you talk about winning championships.
“We have the foundation.”
Cover image: Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean