If you look up and down the Titans’ offense, chances are you’ll have some questions that need answering.
One of those questions will likely pertain to the receiver core, and just how effective the group as a whole will be in 2022.
It’s a valid question and concern of course.
Not only due to the mass exodus of 2021 mainstays that made up a solid portion of the team’s targets last season.
But also because the newcomers have only been able to strut their stuff in practice uniforms against their own teammates, not against opposing competition from different teams. Because of that, the conclusions we’ve been able to take away from this group’s progress has been limited in nature.
The only few we’ve been able to confidently express directly relate to a select few surefire receiving options on team currently — Robert Woods, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, and even Kyle Phillips – three wideouts who should command a good amount of targets this fall.
However, that same lack of confidence might soon be extinguished, and the likely cause will be the impressive poise and growing confidence the receiving group has shown throughout the rigorous training camp window.
“I think they’re doing good,” Malik Willis said after practice. “All the practices we have with each other, in the group drills, in the individual drills, and just continuing the reps, I feel like it’s definitely given me more confidence to let it rip.”
The roster bubble players have been at the forefront of the increase in intensity and confidence. Racey McMath, Reggie Roberson, Josh Malone, Dez Fitzpatrick — although he’s been inconsistent in camp — have all scrapped their way into the conversation to earn roster spots, and they’ve done so by making some important grabs during the all important 7v7 and 11v11 sessions.
McMath has especially come on strong. He’s returned to camp with a better understanding of the game, and the results of his improved mental and on field capabilities have been evident.
“He worked on his technique and the small details of his routes,” McMath’s former LSU and current Titans teammate Kristian Fulton said. “It’s helped him improve for this season.”
McMath’s ascension — along with everyone else’s — plays into a bigger picture for the Titans’ offense collectively this season.
With an improved pool of back end talent — including McMath’s improvement, Josh Malone’s consistency, Roberson’s intriguing skill set, and Fitzpatrick’s continued developmental process — and an obvious increase in quality across the board, it gets easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel for an offense that stumbled and crumbled in the darkness last year.
Of course it isn’t as easy at that though. You need a better overall cohesiveness within the unit to see noticeable improvements statistically and visually. But developments like these have worked wonders for offenses before, and if certain events go the Titans’ way, these developments will not only serve as wonders and welcomed positivity.
But a pot of theoretical gold you usually see at the end of the rainbow.
However, before the Titans can dive into their piles of riches, they need to see results against actual competition in the pre-season. Only then will this newfound well of confidence initially reveal its true contents.
Pre-season contests against the Baltimore Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Arizona Cardinals will present the challenges this receiving group needs in order for their confidence to be taken as something serious or premature.
For now though, Mike Vrabel and his staff have to be thrilled with the confidence this group has shown, and will continue to show. That same confidence will lead to good competition, and good competition breeds much better football players.
Better football players equal better displays on the field, which in part, usually leads to the brand of success every NFL team wants to experience each and every year.
Which is something this team wants in the worst way.