When the Tennessee Titans drafted Treylon Burks, they didn’t expect him to walk in the door and instantly replace the production left behind by A.J. Brown.
It would’ve been unreasonable to expect them to do so, considering the outlook of the Titans’ offense as a whole, and the unpolished skill set Burks still possesses to this day.
If anything, the Titans wanted Burks to show off the physicality and toughness that left the league impressed during the pre-draft process, while also improving upon skills he has plenty of room to fix.
That was evident during the first two games of the season, as the Titans eased Burks into the offense, making him play less than 70% of the team’s offensive snaps through the first four games of his rookie season.
After those four games, Burks’ infamous toe injury appeared, sidelining the rookie for four more games. Burks returned just over four weeks later against the Denver Broncos last week, but he was understandably limited during that game, since it was his first amount of game action in roughly five weeks.
Just four days later against the Green Bay Packers, the training wheels remained on — at least in terms of snaps, as he played just under 50% of the team’s offensive snaps — but in terms of impact, Burks’ training wheels turned themselves into full fledged adult sized biking wheels, ready to hit the road with full confidence.
TREYLON BURKS – 1st career 100 yard game— AtoZ Sports Nashville (@AtoZSports) November 18, 2022
Burks finished with his first career 100 yard receiving day against the Packers, amassing 111 yards receiving, which included two long grabs down the field that showcased his ability to threaten defenses over the top with natural speed — with one of the grabs being aided by a cheeky playcall when the game was well out of reach.
The performance gave this offense a big lift, especially in the big play production area, an extra important detail that the Titans have found ways to maximize over the last couple of weeks.
For an offense that struggles to put up points, and put together a decent amount of good drives consistently from week to week, breakout performances like these are always welcomed.
But for the Titans’, they’re especially welcomed considering just how barren the receiving group is in terms of overall talent, something you already known considering just how putrid the receiver production has been all season long.
However, for as good as breakout performances are, they mean almost nothing unless you’re able to build upon them week to week.
That’s the part of the equation that Burks has yet to solve.
That isn’t to say Burks is at fault, there’s plenty of nasty circumstances Burks has had to deal with throughout the majority of his short, yet uneven NFL career.
But it is to say that Burks hasn’t yet figured out the way to break through the wall so many rookies tend to walk into, which is the wall of consistency.
That can come in due time, but for the Titans, Burks displaying a sense of consistency needs to come sooner rather than later. Not only because him doing so would drastically improve the passing game for the Titans, but it would also increase this team’s ceiling from a petty division leader with a good defense, to a more balanced and competitive team that can go toe to toe with the best of them.
We talk a lot regarding the Titans and their status as contenders, mostly because that’s the scenario this team wants strapped to their name. This team wants to be mentioned among the best and it doesn’t matter how it’s done.
Whether this team is being talked about as some team built to upset the favorites, or a team that’s talked about as being the hunted instead of the hunters, quite frankly this team doesn’t care.
They want to be mentioned in any way possible, so they can place themselves in a position to challenge their opponent come January.
Burks stepping up and becoming another bright spot within this offense can be a big part of that, well it might have to, at least it will if the Titans are serious regarding their goals for this season.
There isn’t a guarantee that Burks can carry his eye opening play consistently, there’s simply not enough proof to say that he surely can because of the issues that still plague this offense.
However, if he can begin to carve out a way to consistently bring it each week and give this offense another game changing threat aside from Derrick Henry, then this offense’s potential will reach heights no one thought was attainable.
And for a league that has seen the might of the Titans’ defense, as well as the scrappy nature of the offense when the going gets tough, that spells nothing but trouble.
Bad trouble for the league, but good trouble for Mike Vrabel’s Titans.
Featured image via Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA Today Network
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