Sports Illustrated’s Peter King joined Braden & Fitz Thursday morning to discuss expectations for the Tennessee Titans as well as touching on Nashville and the Predators.
The Titans trended upward last season, and King figures that Tennessee will only continue to trend upwards. In fact, King ranked Tennessee fourth in his most recent power rankings. With a well-rounded offense, King figures that there should be relatively high expectations for the Titans and that they could surprise people.
“Almost every year, there is a stunner,” King said. “In December, you wake up and say, ‘How did Atlanta dominate the world last year?’ Every year, some team goes south and one or two teams goes north. I think that Tennessee has the arrow pointing in the right direction.”
Atlanta’s unexpected run to the Super Bowl came on the back of a well-balanced offense, which King thinks the Titans possess thanks to the development of the backfield and offensive line to assist quarterback Marcus Mariota.
“Obviously having a quarterback of the future,” said King, listing the qualities of the Titans offense. “Two book-end tackles who’ll play this year at [22-] and 25-years-old, [Jack] Conklin and [Taylor] Lewan and having a backfield that essentially will complement what they’re trying to do in the passing game, that really helps them on offense.”
However, King does think that there are some questions to answer on defense. The Titans allowed 23.6 points per game last season, finishing a mediocre 16th in the league in scoring defense, but their primary issues came against the pass. Quarterbacks averaged 269.2 yards per game against Tennessee, which was third-worst in the NFL. If the Titans want to make the push for the playoffs, King thinks that it will rely on the defense improving.
“I think that the pass rush is good enough,” King said. “Jurrell Casey is one of the most underrated players in the league. They need a couple guys in the secondary to come through, they need Logan Ryan to be a little better than he was in New England.”
Speaking of the secondary, King emphasized the potential but also the need for Adoree’ Jackson to deliver on his NFL draft first-round selection if the Titans want to make defensive progress.
“They need Jackson to come in right away and play at an NFL level,” King said. “People saw him at USC and saw how competitive and how physical he was, and think he’s almost an NFL-ready corner.”
King concluded the interview with praise for Nashville and saying that he was definitely on the Nashville Predators bandwagon. For all this and more discussion, listen here: