By John Glennon
Talk about a Monday makeover.
Up until the early hours of this workweek, the overriding question for the Titans looking ahead was the same as it had been for two seasons: Would this team ever field a defense that could complement its high-scoring offense? More specifically, would the Titans ever find a way to pressure the opposing passer, lessening the need to score 30-plus points each and every week?
How quickly those storylines changed.
In the span of a few hours, the Titans took two significant steps toward bettering their abysmal pass rush, adding defensive lineman Denico Autry and edge rusher Bud Dupree, who combined for 15.5 sacks in 25 games last season.
But at what cost, literally and figuratively?
The Titans’ defensive gains came amidst two sizable gut-punches to the offense, as tight end Jonnu Smith (eight touchdown catches last season) and Corey Davis (65 catches, 984 yards, five TDs) took their talents to New England and the New York Jets, respectively.
So the biggest questions in my mind now are these: Do the desperately needed defensive additions move the Titans that much closer to the AFC’s elite? Or do the significant subtractions leave too much of a hole in this high-octane offense, one that fueled the Titans’ back-to-back playoff appearances?
Let’s take a closer look at where things stand now, starting with the outgoing and ending with the incoming.
The first news bomb dropped about 60 minutes into the NFL’s free-agency period, when national reports revealed Smith had signed a whopping four-year, $50 million deal with the Patriots, an average of $12.5 million per season.