Sunday Features: The Titans' Rebuilt O-Line, DeAndre Hopkins' Debut And Potential Pass Rush Dominance

Peter Skoronski
  Peter Skoronski/ courtesy Tennessee Titans

By MIKE HERNDON, columnist

The 2023 NFL season is upon us, and after an offseason that sometimes seemed to be veering in multiple directions, we’ll finally get to see what Ran Carthon’s first version of the Tennessee Titans looks like when it kicks things off in New Orleans on Sunday.

The Saints represent an interesting measuring stick for the revamped Titans squad. New Orleans finished 7-10 last season, Dennis Allen’s first as head coach following Sean Payton’s temporary retirement. Defensively, Allen’s group was stout, allowing just 20.3 points per game, good for ninth-best in the NFL, but they were even better down the stretch as they didn’t surrender more than 20 points to any team over the final eight games of the season.

Their 5.0 yards per play allowed was sixth-best in the league in 2022 and they ranked top-five in virtually every pass defense statistic. The run defense, however, took a big step back from their league-best ranking in 2021, allowing opponents to rush for an average of 4.5 yards per carry, the ninth-highest rate leaguewide.

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