Jon Robinson made the decision in April to trade A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles for a first and third round draft selections. History shows that teams trading a star player are usually on the losing ends of trades and this seems no different. As we saw on Sunday, the Titans were dominated, not just because they didn’t have A.J. Brown. He would have helped, but wasn’t the difference. The difference in the game was between the two GMs.
At the end of last season, which ended in a disastrous game against the Bengals, the question was asked, how do you improve? The answer, “be great around Ryan Tannehill”. A fantastic answer, in my opinion, as with any limited QB that doesn’t elevate his surroundings, you need to make the baseline talent better around him. What followed looked more like a confused attempt to soft rebuild. A.J. Brown was traded, the offensive line wasn’t fortified other than the drafting of NPF (who has been brutal the last few weeks) and free agent signing, JaMarco Jones (signed on the first day of FA, I’m not even sure if he’s a real person or a Ponzi scheme).
Robert Woods, off of an ACL tear, was acquired from the Rams prior to the A.J. Brown trade, Austin Hooper was signed to a one-year deal. That’s pretty whelming around Ryan Tannehill, and that’s assuming there are no injures. We all know what assuming does, right? Coming off the most injury plagued year in NFL history, the Titans must have thought the luck would swing in their favor in 2022. That’s the only explanation because the backup plans have been atrocious. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine continually gets miscast as a top 2 WR, where he’d really be an ok WR4. Dennis Daley is the worst offensive lineman I’ve ever seen, Dillon Radunz and Aaron Brewer don’t seem like they have the functional strength to play football at the NFL level.
Betting on three rookies to boost the passing game in Burks, Philips, and Okonkwo was extremely unwise, and yet they did it anyway. Again, after watching injuries decimate their team a year ago. The plan made no sense coming into the season, so when it looks like it did on Sunday, I am hardly surprised.
I said the difference in the game was between the two GMs, right? Lets do a quick recap of Howie Roseman’s offseason. The Eagles won 0 games against teams with winning records in 2021. Jalen Hurts was bad, even if his fantasy football numbers were great. They had just drafted Devonta Smith, who had a decent rookie year, but didn’t look like a top tier NFL WR. Their defense was much maligned. What did they do? They went out and signed a top tier FA EDGE rusher in Reddick. They traded for Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. They traded for A.J. Brown. They became great around Jalen Hurts so even if he’s not amazing, the supporting cast is. They idiot proofed the roster, with a coach that plays rock-paper-scissors with potential draftees to determine their competitiveness. Imagine what Mike Vrabel could do with a roster like that?
Right now, the Titans are a team in the middle. Their floor is too high to bottom out, but they don’t have the proverbial horses to run with the elite teams. 2023 will be a year of change for the Titans. How much do they have the stomach for will be very telling, and it will tell me if I am out or in on Jon Robinson as a GM going forward.