Pocket protectors: Five reasons Titans have improved from near-last to near-first in sacks allowed

By John Glennon

Compared to the past seven years of his career, Ryan Tannehill has hardly had to dust off his uniform this season.

One of the five most sacked quarterbacks in the league since he entered the NFL in 2012, Tannehill has been dropped behind the line just five times this season. That figure is not only tied for best among NFL quarterbacks who’ve started at least five games, but it represents a huge turnaround for both the Titans and Tannehill from last year.

“It’s certainly (a stat) that’s trending in the right direction,” Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith said. “We’ve just got to keep it going.”

Titans fans would probably like to forget what a nightmare 2019 was when it came to surrendering sacks, as the team allowed 56 – the third-highest figure in the league. Marcus Mariota was sacked 22 times in the first five games alone last season, 25 times in all. But Tannehill spent plenty of time on the turf as well in 2019. He was sacked 31 times in 10.5 games, buried behind the line on nearly 10 percent of his pass attempts.

So just how is it that the Titans have all but eliminated the sack issue so far in 2020?

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  1. And neither the Rams nor the Bills have a commanding rushing attack of the same caliber as the Titans have. Tge Bills especially will have a tougher and tougher time selling defenses on the idea that their playaction really means anything. As long as Henry is healthy, playaction will strike fear in the hearts of opposing linebackers and disrupt their competence in coverage.

    1. Agree with a lot of your points. I do think play-action can be effective even with an average back, but I think it’s that much more effective with someone like Henry.

  2. Could the pff pass rate protection discrepancy be attributed to us allowing pressures but less sacks? As well as Tannehill throwing the ball away more?

    1. Good question, Cory. Probably more of the former. But also worth pointing out that the PFF team pass-blocking grade includes RBs, TEs, etc., as opposed to just O-linemen.

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