It is July 2021, the final month without football until March of 2022. Training camp starts at the end of the month, followed by the pre-season, then real games in September. In other words, the race to Super Bowl 56 is starting sooner than many realize. In this league, it is the small group of superstars that can make or break a team. That being said, let’s take a look at the three faces of the 2021 Tennessee Titans.
Faces of the 2021 Tennessee Titans
Right off the bat, Derrick Henry leads off this list. No, he’s not the team’s quarterback. Though Ryan Tannehill has had a career resurgence in Nashville, he’s not even on this list. Henry, however, is arguably the best running back in the league. He’s been the rushing leader for the past two seasons and improved on his 2019 campaign by almost 500 yards last year. In 2019, Henry rushed for 1540 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. In 2020, he ran for 2027 yards and 17 touchdowns. His career rushing average is now 5.1 yards per carry. He’s a hard man to bring down, and over half his yardage (1073 yards) last year was after contact. Can he lead the league in rushing for a third straight season?
After just two seasons, A.J. Brown has made his mark on the NFL. The Titans drafted him in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Ole Miss. Brown has amassed over 1000 yards in each of his first two years in the league. He’s scored 19 total touchdowns and was selected to the Pro Bowl for the 2020 season.
Brown is also a very physical receiver, like his new running mate opposite of him. With the incoming help, Brown may benefit from it. Despite another mouth to feed, he will likely see fewer double teams, allowing Brown to potentially do even more damage after the catch.
Yes, Julio Jones is one of the best receivers of the past decade. He’ll surely be in the Hall of Fame one day, but he’s not quite done yet. At the same time, Jones is 32 and hasn’t played a full 16 games season since 2018. He’s still one of the league’s most talented pass catchers. The question is, can Jones keep from getting injured this season? And will he be able to produce more touchdowns?
In 10 seasons in the NFL, Jones has scored 10 or more touchdowns in the regular season just once (10 in 2012). But he’s always made up for the lack of touchdowns with copious yardage. Jones has over 1000 receiving yards in seven of his 10 seasons and had a six-year streak of accomplishing this feat from 2014-2019. However, he has a new quarterback for the first time in his career. Instead of catching passes from Matt Ryan, he’ll have to gel with Tannehill.
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