Filed under the category of Who knew?, according to the website sharpfootballstats.com, the 2019 Tennessee Titans were actually one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL last season.
The site’s data takes into consideration explosive plays (10 yards or more) from both running and passing, and ranked the Titans as the third-most explosive overall offense behind only the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.
The Titans were one of only six teams in the NFL to rank in the top 10 in explosive plays from both the running game and the passing game. The numbers were tabulated based on the percentage of explosive plays from each offense per the number of plays run total.
Tennessee’s rushing attack, led of course by rushing champ Derrick Henry, had 73 explosive rushing plays, according to the website, good for 544 yards. Those numbers had the Titans fourth overall in the league in explosive rushing plays and those types of plays accounted for 13 percent of the Titans total rushing attempts last season. Only Baltimore, Arizona and Buffalo – all spearheaded by running quarterbacks to help boost their yardage totals – ranked ahead of Tennessee.
On the passing side, which got a nice boost when Ryan Tannehill took over as the starting quarterback in week seven and averaged a league-best 9.6 yards per attempt, Tennessee was listed as even more explosive. The Titans were second-best in the league with 64 explosive pass plays that accounted for 566 yards or 11 percent of the Titans’ pass plays. That percentage trailed only the 49ers in terms of explosiveness. Tannehill also led the league in passer rating at 117.5 as well in 2019.
When combined, the Titans were statistically the third most explosive offense in the NFL a season ago with 12 percent of their offensive snaps being regarded as explosive plays.
While most football fans don’t exactly think of the Titans as explosive compared to the Ravens, Chiefs or the Saints, Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, who proved a perfect fit for Tannehill and Henry in his first time calling plays last year, said the Titans are simply what they are offensively, and they showed a knack for production using both the run and the pass.
“Those are where the narratives are built. Who knows where they come from?,” Smith said. “Some people love to hype themselves and how big of a genius they are. We are who we are. And we certainly want to get explosive. I think any offense in the league wants to be explosive. Baltimore certainly different from Kansas City, they’ve both got great players, great scheme. And, we may not be the most aesthetically pretty, but we feel pretty confident who we are.”
The numbers certainly bear that out. Smith said that being on the same page with Tannehill and the rest of the offense is what turns the scheme and the game plan into success on the field.
“We put in certain plays, you put in your system, or whatever you’re trying to accomplish, and they’re the ones that can bring it to life. He and I need to be on the same page and that’s just the way I believe it. Certainly, we go back and forth through ideas and the way we may tweak something,” Smith said. “And Ryan’s got a great football mind and that relationship your right, hopefully we can build on that. As we’re continuing from last year, but it’s definitely important that relationship between the playcaller and the quarterback, because he’s got to see it. What your intent is on the play. And then obviously he’s the one who brings in the life. And me understanding that he knows, and we’ve talked about and he may have an idea, he wants to go back and forth. Those are great conversations. And then, ultimately comes Sunday exactly what the intent is when every plays called and we’re on the same page.”
Tannehill agreed that the chemistry between himself and his offensive coordinator was solid last year, and hopefully will improve more this year.
“Just like players get better over time with each other, playcallers and quarterbacks, it works the same way. So, I’m excited about Art (Arthur Smith) and his second year calling the offense and just the growth that we’ve had over the spring,” Tannehill said. “Just over Zoom, we’re able to do a lot of things I feel like really grow as an offense, even though we weren’t physically together. So, we can keep doing that, keep pushing the envelope forward here as we head into training camp and the season. It’s going to really help us out a lot.”