The legal tampering period is over and free agency has officially begun, as of 3:00 (CT) Wednesday afternoon. The last 48 hours have been a complete whirlwind for Titans fans. By now, hopefully everyone has caught their breath.
Tennessee Titans GM Jon Robinson made a flurry of moves spanning the last two days, including surprise cuts such as Adoree Jackson and Dennis Kelly, paired with the monster signings of Bud Dupree and Denico Autry.
Buck Reising, of A to Z Sports and 104.5 The Zone, invited Pro Football Network’s Trey Wingo on his midday show to chat about free agency, the upcoming NFL Draft, and the Titans’ recent moves.
Early indications seem to reveal that Robinson is responding to head coach Mike Vrabel’s sentiment that defensive coordinator Shane Bowen’s scheme was not the reason the Titans’ defense performed at a historically atrocious level, but rather that the personnel was the primary complication.
“[Bud Dupree] addresses a need. Then the question becomes, Why were we terrible in 2020 when we were really good defensively in 2019? How much of it is players? How much of it is scheme?,” asked Wingo.
There was an obvious disconnect between Bowen and his players last season that often times showed up on third down. The Titans, for a variety of different reasons, finished last in the NFL by a significant margin, allowing opponents to convert on the money down in 51.98% of their tries.
Y’all be quick to blame the players for bad defense. Who was the defensive coordinator last year??— Wesley Woodyard (@WoodDro52) March 16, 2021
“If you’re team was historically great in 2019, and then they were historically terrible in 2020, the odds are that in 2020 it’s going to be somewhere in the middle between those two outliers,” stated Wingo.
Last season’s performance on the defensive side of the ball applied to Marshall’s Law in that everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.
Whether the blame falls upon the pass rush’s inability to produce anything resembling pressure on opposing quarterbacks, or a banged up secondary that, outside of the recently released Malcolm Butler, was comprised of two-legged traffic cones will vary depending on who you ask.
So here's how the #Titans revamped starting defense is shaping up:— Mike Herndon (@MikeMiracles) March 17, 2021
OLB Bud Dupree
DL Jeffery Simmons
DL Denico Autry
OLB Harold Landry
ILB Rashaan Evans
ILB Jayon Brown
CB Janoris Jenkins
CB Kristian Fulton
CB TO BE NAMED LATER
S Kevin Byard
S Amani Hooker
However, one thing remains certain: A change was critically necessary. And who is to fault Robinson for choosing the ‘Pimp My Ride’ route in revamping this wretched defense?
The trust Robinson has in Vrabel and Bowen’s evaluation is one that has been earned. After all, Vrabel has knocked his coordinator hires out of the park thus far with Dean Pees and Arthur Smith.
While the sins of last offseason might creep up and manifest doubt amongst the unforgiving portion of the fanbase, Titans fans should have plenty of reasons to trust Robinson’s vision in ultimately bringing the Lombardi Trophy to Broadway.
Featured image courtesy of Philip G. Pavely – USA TODAY Sports