Analytics Check-in On Titans' Will Levis And The Offense


Jake Downard is a law student who creates NFL and NBA content focused on analytics on Twitter as @JakeAndBall. He also works with fanspo.com. A glossary of the analytics terms he uses is at the bottom of the piece.

For a glossary of the metrics and terms used in this post, please see this earlier file.

Will Levis has played enough in the 2023-24 iteration of the Tennessee Titans offense for us to reach some general conclusions on his rookie year. I do not know what could transpire in the next five weeks to starkly change my opinion for better or for worse. He takes too many risks at times and may need to dial it in a notch. At times, he has struggled with the underneath throws; the layups, if you will. 


Dec 3, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Will Levis (8) rolls out of the pocket during the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Will Levis/ © Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

There are a ton of contributing factors involved in these struggles, but they’re the type of struggles you expect to see with a rookie QB, especially with the personnel currently surrounding him. On the flip side, he is extremely tough on the field and comes across as motivated, smart, and vocal off the field. He has a ton of tools to become a productive, game-changing starting QB in this era of the National Football League.

Levis is really beginning to develop chemistry with three key weapons on offense who are already under contract in 2024: DeAndre Hopkins, Tyjae Spears and Chig Okonkwo. As a result, the veteran receiver, rookie running back, and sophomore tight end accounted for 72.7% of Levis’ targets in Nashville against the Colts on Sunday.

The highlights included a sharp TD throw to Hopkins to tie it up late in the fourth quarter, an early 39-yard strike to Okonkwo to set the Titans up for their first touchdown of the day and a big third-down conversion on a screen to Spears in the fourth quarter to set up the Hopkins’ play.

Pair that with glimpses from rookie TE Josh Whyle, who picked up an angry 16 yards on his lone catch of the day, and sophomore WR Treylon Burks, who cannot catch a break when it comes to health, and the Titans certainly have the bones of a dynamic, dangerous offense heading into 2024. Here’s how Levis distributed his 33 targets against the Colts on Sunday: 

  • DeAndre Hopkins: 12 targets (36.4%)
  • Chig Okonkwo: 6 targets (18.2%)
  • Tyjae Spears: 6 targets (18.2%)
  • Nick Westbrook-Ikhine: 3 targets (9.1%)
  • Josh Whyle: 2 targets (6.1%)
  • Derrick Henry: 2 targets (6.1%)
  • Chris Moore: 1 target (3.0%)
  • Trevon Wesco: 1 target (3.0%)

With the lack of consistent protection, Levis still finished the day with fairly respective advanced analytical rankings. Here is how Levis graded out in some of our favorite advanced statistics: 

  • EPA/Play: 0.072 (13th of 27)
  • Success Rate: 40.9% (15th of 27)
  • Air Yards / Attempt: 8.9 (12th of 27)
  • CPOE: -12.8% (25th of 27)

As I alluded to above, Levis has a tendency to be a little overzealous with picking his deep shots. There are six games of tape to sift through at this point, and there have been more than a handful of times where he neglected to look for the open receiver 7 or 10 yards downfield, and instead opted to take the 50-yard shot looking for the home-run ball. Levis has one of the strongest arms in the league, but patience a massive key to efficient, effective quarterback play as we have seen from guys like Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott this season. 

Success Rate and CPOE are two metrics that will begin to skyrocket as Levis becomes more and more comfortable taking what the defense gives him. 

We’ve discussed in past pieces that the run game is going to be a big part of Tim Kelly’s offense. Love it or hate it, everyone in the NFL has to run the ball. You may not think the offense should be run-centric (I don’t either), but we can all admit that an ideal NFL offense runs the ball at a high level.

The duo of Henry and Spears combined for 177 rushing yards on 37 carries, good for 4.78 yards per carry. The Titans also graded out with the 10th-best Rush EPA and the eighth-best Rush Success Rate of the 24 teams that played heading into Monday Night Football. All in all, the Titans ran the ball with quite a bit of success on Sunday and I thought Kelly did a good job mixing in different looks in the run game. 

The offensive line again had its good and bad moments. The run-blocking performance by the offensive line was as good as it has been all season, but on dropbacks, we unfortunately saw more of the same issues that have plagued this team all season. Here is how PFF graded each offensive lineman in run blocking and pass blocking on Sunday:

  • Jaelyn Duncan: 49.9 RBLK, 37.2 PBLK.
  • Peter Skoronski: 72.5 RBLK, 65.7 PBLK. 
  • Aaron Brewer: 92.5 RBLK, 40.6 PBLK. 
  • Daniel Brunskill: 77.0 RBLK, 58.7 PBLK. 
  • Dillon Radunz: 92.2 RBLK, 65.0 PBLK.

And here is how PFF attributed the pressures allowed by the offensive line: 

  • Jaelyn Duncan: 9 pressures allowed (3 sacks)
  • Peter Skoronski: 3 pressures allowed (0 sacks)
  • Aaron Brewer: 2 pressures allowed (0 sacks)
  • Daniel Brunskill: 3 pressures allowed (0 sacks)
  • Dillon Radunz: 5 pressures allowed (1 sack)

Nothing we saw on Sunday from this Titans offense should come at a surprise. The sample size is large enough to have a general idea of what to expect from this group each week. I believe there’s plenty of cause for concern heading into an offseason with a league-leading $99,681,682 in cap space (via Over The Cap), but at the same time, I think there’s room for optimism with the current pieces in place.

Winning games and building confidence in Levis and this current core would be a good way to finish this season, but letting a few games slip away here and there and moving within striking distance for guys like Olu Fashanu, Joe Alt, and dare I say, Marvin Harrison Jr. doesn’t sound too bad either. 

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