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State of the Tennessee Titans: Brian Callahan era begins after transformative offseason

Where does your squad stand ahead of the 2024 NFL season? Adam Rank sets the table by providing a State of the Franchise look at all 32 teams, zeroing in on the new faces to know, one significant fantasy spin and the stakes at play in the campaign to come.

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Mike Vrabel is gone. And to be honest, I thought Vrabel and the Titans were going to be a Tennessee institution forever. But I also thought the same about Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, so what do I know? The Titans will not only welcome in a new head coach this season, but for the first time in what seems like forever, there will be no Derrick Henry, either. Damn, there are a lot of changes in Nashville. But will they be for the better? Let's take a look.

2024 brain trust

Head coach Brian Callahan
General manager Ran Carthon
Offensive coordinator Nick Holz
Defensive coordinator Dennard Wilson
Special teams coordinator Colt Anderson

Roster reshuffling

Below is a rundown of the Titans' most notable roster developments for the 2024 season, including this year's draft class, as well as key acquisitions and departures via free agency and trade.

Draft class (round-pick) Key additions Key departures
JC Latham, OT, Alabama (1-7) Mason Rudolph, QB Ryan Tannehill, QB
T'Vondre Sweat, DT, Texas (2-38) Tony Pollard, RB Derrick Henry, RB
Cedric Gray, LB, North Carolina (4-106) Tyler Boyd, WR Chris Moore, WR
Jarvis Brownlee Jr., CB, Louisville (5-146) Calvin Ridley, WR Andre Dillard, OT
Jha'Quan Jackson, WR, Tulane (6-182) Saahdiq Charles, OL Chris Hubbard, OT
James Williams, LB, Miami (7-242) Lloyd Cushenberry, C Aaron Brewer, C
Jaylen Harrell, OLB, Michigan (7-252) Sebastian Joseph-Day, DT Denico Autry, DT
Kenneth Murray, LB Kyle Peko, DT
Chidobe Awuzie, CB Azeez Al-Shaair, LB
L'Jarius Sneed, CB Kristian Fulton, CB
Nick Folk, K Sean Murphy-Bunting, CB
K'Von Wallace, S
Terrell Edmunds, S

New faces to know

Tennessee Titans head coach Brian Callahan during an NFL football practice Wednesday, May 29, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)
Brian Callahan
Head coach

We don鈥檛 know what to entirely expect with Callahan, considering he didn鈥檛 call the plays for the Bengals. We do know he鈥檚 the son of a former NFL head coach, (who's now Tennessee's offensive line coach). We also know what he did with 2019 undrafted free agent Jake Browning last year after Joe Burrow鈥檚 season-ending injury. Browning, who made seven starts (the first of his career, by the way), led the NFL with a 70.4 completion percentage and ranked fifth with 8.0 pass yards per attempt. Oh, and Callahan was pretty decent with Burrow, too, as the QB has averaged 271.3 pass yards per game with 84 total TD passes since 2021 (both top five in the NFL). I am confident in Callahan and really like this hire. I think it鈥檚 going to be all right. 

Calvin Ridley
WR · Year 7

The Titans actually added Ridley and Tyler Boyd to join DeAndre Hopkins. Ridley had 76 receptions for 1,016 yards and eight touchdowns in 2023, and the Titans swiped him in free agency from the Jaguars, which serves as a double bonus. Like when your BBQ is both sweet and savory. Boyd is a great pickup, too, as he leads the NFL with 225 receptions from the slot since 2020, according to Next Gen Stats. This WR corps is trending up.

Dennard Wilson_
Dennard Wilson
Defensive coordinator

This is kind of a fun hire. Wilson served as the Ravens' defensive backs coach in 2023. He鈥檚 coming to a Titans D that had just 14 takeaways in 2023; the only team that was worse was Carolina. The Titans also lost their tackles leader (Azeez Al-Shaair) and sacks leader (Denico Autry) to free agency, both signing with division-rival Houston. Despite the losses on that side of the ball, Tennessee did add some talent, including cornerbacks L鈥橨arius Sneed and Chidobe Awuzie. And because I don鈥檛 want to be so dour, here鈥檚 a fun fact: Wilson started his NFL coaching career in 2012 with the St. Louis Rams, who were led by former Titans coach Jeff Fisher.

State of the QB room

Will Levis is the guy. As I mentioned above, the Titans have brought in a lot of talent around Levis to give him a fair shake in Year 2. You sometimes worry when a new head coach is brought in and given a quarterback whom he didn't draft. That could be a disaster, but there are reasons for optimism. Levis is a good prospect. I mean, people thought he could have been the No. 2 quarterback taken in last year's draft (he was fourth behind Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson). Levis' opening game was magical, as he threw for four touchdowns in a Week 8 win over the Atlanta Falcons. It was amazing. The downside was he would finish with eight touchdown passes and a 3-6 record as a starter. I'm not saying that it was all his fault. Far from it. But he needs to show some progress this season if he wants to remain in the Titans' long-term plans.

Most important non-QB

JC Latham
OT · Rookie

Tennessee could have gotten into the quarterback market with the No. 7 overall pick. Michael Penix Jr., J.J. McCarthy and Bo Nix were still on the board. But the Titans made a savvy move by investing in the offensive line in an effort to build around Levis. The young QB deserves that much. He was pressured on 44.5 percent of his dropbacks in 2023, third-highest in the NFL, per Next Gen Stats. And when pressured, Levis only completed 43.3 percent of his pass attempts, second-lowest in the league, besting only Bryce Young. Latham should help this. The 6-foot-6, 342-pound tackle allowed just two sacks on 970 career pass-blocking snaps at Alabama, according to PFF. 

Another big plus for Levis is the fact that Tennessee has acquired four of its five projected starting linemen since the 2023 offseason, including Peter Skoronski, the 11th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Titans needed to overall that unit -- and they did! Not to mention, they added one of football's best OL coaches this offseason in Bill Callahan.

My HOTTEST Titans fantasy take:

No sure thing in the Titans' offense?

Tony Pollard is another big-name signing the Titans made during the offseason. After suffering a major injury in January of 2023, Pollard got better as last season progressed in Dallas, ultimately surpassing 1,000 rushing yards for the second straight year. But despite his contract (three years, $24 million), I'm not sure he's going to out-perform Tyjae Spears this season. The Titans could also be pass-happy under Brian Callahan, but I doubt I'm going to have many shares of this offense.

2024 roadmap

Three key dates:

  • Week 1: at Chicago Bears. Tennessee will go into this game not knowing exactly what to expect from a Bears team that will trot out the No. 1 overall pick from this year's draft under center. It'll be interesting to see if this will be a tone-setter for the new-look Titans.
  • Week 6: vs. Indianapolis Colts. The Titans host the Colts in their first AFC South matchup of the season. Then it's back-to-back tough roadies in Buffalo and Detroit.
  • Week 18: vs. Houston Texans. Tennessee finishes the regular season with three divisional games (as it should be): on the road at Indy and Jacksonville before closing out at home vs. the defending AFC South champs. Will the Titans be in the mix?

For 2024 to be a success, the Titans MUST:

A) Win the Super Bowl
B) Make a playoff run
C) Earn a playoff berth
D) Finish above .500
E) Show progress

My answer: E) Show progress. Look, it feels a little steep to go into this season with playoff expectations. That's not to say Titans fans shouldn't dream of winning the AFC South, kind of like the Texans did last year. It can be done. But to me, that's just not a healthy expectation right now. I mean, a more realistic possibility is figuring out you have a new head coach who makes good decisions and a promising young quarterback who looks like he's going to stick at the NFL level. I'd take that as a victory and move on to 2025.

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