NASHVILLE, Tenn. – For weeks in May, Titans’ fandom crackled: Julio Jones could be coming.

The potential price and merits of a trade with Atlanta for the all-time great were hotly debated -- with the vast majority in favor of his acquisition in a go-for-it move. The Titans No. 1 receiver A.J. Brown, a huge fan, had big fun publicly campaigning for a deal.

Julio Jones

On June 9 the Titans made the exchange, getting Jones and a 2023 sixth-rounder for their 2022 second-round selection and a fourth-round pick in 2023.

His new teammates rejoiced and the vast majority of fans and media applauded.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – X plays.

It’s the increasingly popular lingo for explosive plays and the Titans’ path to 8-4 hasn’t featured many of them. Particularly in the passing game.

  • Tennessee has eight passes of 30 or more yards this season.
  • It is tied for a league-low with 14 passes of more than 25 yards.
  • The Titans have 27 pass plays of 20 or more, a low number
  • They have just 55 plays of 15 or more -- the distance most frequently used to classify an X play.

Jeremy McNichols

Pool photo, Jeremy McNichols/ Donald Page, Tennessee Titans

The loss of their big-play receivers has certainly hurt. A.J. Brown has missed two games, falling out of a couple others and is now on IR. Julio Jones has played in just six games, not finishing them all and has just been activated to practice.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- At 8-4, the Titans stand second in the AFC thanks to their conference record.

Rested up after their bye, they will be on the practice field Wednesday preparing for a visit from the Jacksonville Jaguars. It's their third game against one of the AFC's three worst teams, and they've managed to lose at the Jets and to the Texans. 

They can't possibly suffer that fate again, can they?PK Unleashed

Everything was fair game when we gathered for a public broadcast fueled by your questions Tuesday evening.

What's up with the injuries? Does Dontrell Hilliard challenge Jeremy McNichols when McNichols returns from his concussion? What can Julio Jones offer if he's back this week? Why has Ryan Tannehill thrown so many interceptions? What has he revealed about himself in Derrick Henry's absence? Can the front four get back to harassing quarterbacks?

These chats are frequent for members of this site and come with a text notification. You can get in on that and all the benefits of membership with a yearly membership at 25 percent off right now -- a nice ask for a Christmas gift.

We broadcasted on Facebook and Twitter.

YouTube is below for members only.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Much of the Titans hopes as they restart their season following their Week 13 bye rest with their overall team health.

Three players on injured reserve -- Julio Jones, Dane Cruikshank and Racey McMath -- were designated Monday to return to practice 

Jones (hamstring) and Cruikshank (knee) are eligible to return to play after missing three games on IR. McMath (quad) has missed seven games.Julio Jones

Pool photo/ Donald Page, Tennessee Titans

Seven others who didn’t play the team’s last game against the Patriots could also be in line to return:

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – While Adrian Peterson spent three weeks on the Titans’ roster, his presence spurred a conversation among my All-22 group: What would an All-Titans team of players at their peak, regardless of when that was in their careers, look like?

Randy Moss

Randy Moss as a Titan in 2010/ Courtesy Tennessee Titans

Such a team wouldn’t include 2021 Adrian Peterson, but 2012 Adrian Peterson, who averaged 6 yards a carry, ran for 2,097 yards and won MVP. In the Titans’ era of Eddie George, Chris Johnson and Derrick Henry, peak Peterson would still qualify as the starting running back.

So here is the rest of the team that would surround him, with the years they were in Tennessee:

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As thinned out as the Titans were in New England, the backbone of who they are defensively was still on the field.

David Long and Rashaan Evans, the presumed starting inside linebackers were out. So was interior defensive lineman Teair Tart. Outside linebacker Bud Dupree was missing as was his replacement, Ola Adeniyi. Rotational corner Chris Jackson was also unable to play.

Jeffery Simmons

But Jeffery Simmons, Denico Autry and Harold Landry started, and it was reasonable to expect them to impact and influence rookie quarterback Mac Jones. A dejected Simmons said after the Titans’ 36-13 loss that dropped the team to 8-4 that the Titans’ defense failed to do its job because it failed to outplay the Patriots' defense.

Simmons made four tackles and Landry three, with Autry not registering anything to get on the game-day stat sheet. The three didn’t hit or sack the quarterback or knock down a pass.

For the last three games, they've been missing David Long (hamstring) at inside linebacker behind them.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans inserted Ryan Tannehill into a favorable system when he took over as their starting quarterback during the 2019 season.

That’s not a bad thing, that’s a good thing.

Teams are supposed to maximize the strengths of their players, and in trading for Tannehill in the first place, Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel recognized a great contingency plan for Marcus Mariota.Ryan Tannehill

Pool photo/ Donald Page, Tennessee Titans

Derrick Henry and the run game are the central components of the Titans’ offense and play-action throws built off of that are the backbone of the passing game.

Too often Tannehill has been criticized for being good in that framework.

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Scouting review: Ryan Tannehill, Titans' defensive stars didn't do enough vs. Patriots

BY BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Turnovers and special teams were two categories the Titans were going to need to win to have a chance to pull out the victory versus the Patriots in New England.

The Patriots won both areas and that canceled out two positive areas from the Titans -- the positive play from the Titans’ defense keeping the Patriots out of the end zone and the offensive line that started to impose its will on the Patriots’ defensive front.

Ryan Tannehill

© George Walker IV / / USA TODAY

In the preview, I mentioned that the established starters, captains, and perceived stars on the team needed to step up and play their best game.

Ryan Tannehill played another poor game without A.J. Brown, Julio Jones and Derrick Henry. There is no excuse for his level of play.

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