Tennessee Titans training camp preview: Will QB Ryan Tannehill’s newfound passion be enough? – Tennessee Titans Blog

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Titans open their 2022 NFL training camp Tuesday at Saint Thomas Sports Park. Here is an overview of some scenarios:

The biggest question: Can the passing game survive the loss of AJ Brown? Brown will catch passes for the Philadelphia Eagles this season after leading the Titans in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in each of the past three seasons. Brown’s 869 yards accounted for 23% of the Titans’ total receiving yards last season. Tennessee is counting on veteran Robert Woods and rookie Treylon Burks to help fill the void. Woods is a confident receiver, as shown by his 1.3 drop percentage over the past five seasons — which is sixth-lowest among receivers with at least 200 targets. The Titans’ offense should get a boost from Woods once he’s fully recovered from a torn ACL in his left knee he suffered last November. Burks should help primarily by getting yards after the catch. He averaged 9.4 yards after catching last season at Arkansas, seventh among FBS receivers. All eyes will be on Burks during training camp as the rookie looks to bounce back after missing minicamp due to asthma-related complications. Don’t forget the tight end squad that has been bolstered by free agent Austin Hooper and fourth-round pick Chigoziem Okonkwo. Both frequently linked with quarterback Ryan Tannehill during OTAs and minicamp.

The player with the most to prove: Tannehill. Tannehill’s three interceptions in Tennessee’s shock home loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the Divisional Round of the playoffs last season sent him to what he called a “dark place” that has forced into therapy. He vowed to enter this season with a desire to win like he never had before. Returning to the productive player who completed 70.3% of his passes in 2019 and threw 33 touchdown passes in 2020 would likely buy him another season at Tennessee. But his interceptions late in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens and Bengals have sealed the Titans’ playoff fate in each of the past two seasons. Tannehill will have to show he can deliver in the playoffs. Otherwise, the Titans can part ways with Tannehill after this season and absorb an $18.8 million dead cap if he doesn’t produce and they feel third-round pick Malik Willis is ready to take over.

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Most impactful off-season addition: Hope. The tight end position lacked a real pass-catching threat last season, which is why Hooper was added through free agency in the offseason. Anthony Firkser’s 34 receptions for 291 yards were the most on a tight end for the Titans in 2021. Even though he set career lows as a starter last season, Hooper’s 38 receptions for 345 yards would have tied him for second on the Titans in catches and fourth in receiving yards. Hooper has already built chemistry with Tannehill and is looking to return to Pro Bowl form as he was in 2018 and 2019 after having 70 or more receptions.

Training camp is a success if… someone emerges as the undisputed starter at left guard and right tackle. Two spots opened up along the offensive line when the Titans released left guard Rodger Saffold and opted not to re-sign right tackle David Quessenberry. Tennessee used a second-round pick to select Dillon Radunz last year in hopes he would eventually start. Radunz is the favorite to get the right tackle job after spending last season working mostly at guard. But, 2022 third-round pick Nicholas Petit-Frère will likely also get the chance to compete at the right tackle. The battle for left guard will focus primarily on Aaron Brewer and free agent addition Jamarco Jones. Putting on the pads will give the team a chance to really weigh their options, especially during joint workouts with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals. Consolidating the two spots as soon as possible will give the new offensive line more time to gel ahead of the season.

Camp Forecast: Okonkwo will cement his role as one of Tannehill’s favorite passers. Okonkwo’s playing ability burst during minicamp when he caught four touchdown passes in two days of seven-on-seven work in the red zone. The Titans coaching staff loves Okonkwo’s versatile skills. Okonkwo’s 4.5-second time in the 40-yard dash was the fastest among scouting combine tight ends. His speed matches linebackers and safeties favorably, making him a viable threat in the passing game. The 6-foot-3, 238-pound tight end drew comparisons to former Titans tight end Jonnu Smith. Tannehill already likes what he’s seen from Okonkwo. Tannehill added: “Just physically, to see his size, his strength, his speed, how he is able to play through contact, he definitely gives us another weapon.”