NFL: Offseason projections for the Packers and Titans
Immediately after a team is eliminated from the playoffs, it’s time for the front office to think about what went wrong and how to fix it in the offseason. So what should the Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans do to make a run at the Super Bowl next season?
Green Bay Packers
Despite a 13-3 record in the regular season and a trip to the NFC Championship Game, the Packers are several moves away from being a serious Super Bowl contender. A lot of things flopped right for Green Bay in head coach Matt LaFleur’s first season, but the Packers cannot expect to be as fortunate in 2020, especially with a first-place schedule on tap.
After we all watched Raheem Mostert rush for 220 yards and four touchdowns Sunday in San Francisco, it is clear the Packers need to bolster their run defense. The additions of Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, and Adrian Amos were huge improvements to their pass defense, but now they need to strengthen the interior of their defensive line and the linebacking corps if they want to have more success in 2020. They also need a better cornerback opposite of budding star Jaire Alexander. Kevin King is not the answer.
The Pack has a lot to build around on offense, but also a number of holes. The Green Bay offensive tackles are strong, but the Packers need to upgrade the interior of their line. They also need to add weapons for their future Hall of Fame quarterback. Davante Adams is one of the league’s best wide receivers, but he was a one-man show in 2019. For Aaron Rodgers to be at his best, at this point in his career, he needs a more athletic tight end and more options on the outside.
LaFleur was overmatched in his first conference title game, and the Niners exposed his squad, but he should learn from the experience. With the right moves in the NFL Draft and in free agency, the Packers should be competitive again next season.
The move to former Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the domination of the Titans running game led to a strong second half of the regular season and two upset road playoff victories.
Tennessee has a number of key decisions to make as players enter free agency. With Tannehill, Derrick Henry, and right tackle Jack Conklin unsigned, it is difficult to project whether the Titans can progress on what they did so well to end 2019 or if they will need to do some rebuilding.
The Titans have spent a lot on their offensive line over the years, and it really paid off during the second half of this season. Losing Conklin, who they drafted in the first round of the 2016 draft, would be a huge blow. However, if they are able to retain Tannehill, Henry, and Conklin, and get the expected jump forward from wide receiver A.J. Brown and tight end Jonnu Smith, they would be a tough offense to stop in 2020.
The Titans defense did well in the 2019 draft, with the selection of defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, but their biggest holes are still on that side of the ball. They need to add a pass rusher or two, as well as a cornerback, so they can improve on a pass defense that yielded 255 yards per game and had no real answer for the high-octane Chiefs attack in the AFC Championship Game. They need to figure out a way to beat Kansas City if they want to get to a Super Bowl anytime soon.
It was a promising season for Tennessee, and it was not a fluke. If the Titans can keep the band together, they are clearly the team to beat in the AFC South in 2020.