Falcons Opinion: Titans are slightly better than a lateral move for Julio Jones

953201025216 det v atl

Before news broke about the Titans and Falcons finalizing a deal that would send Julio Jones to Tennessee, Jeremy Fowler reported that Jones wanted to be traded to a contender — one with a “big-armed QB” who can deliver the deep ball. It feels awfully like a slightly better than lateral move given his prerequisites, but I do believe everyone “won” in the end.

First and foremost, this isn’t some homer piece where I try to convince you that the Titans are only slightly better than the Falcons. Tennessee has made the playoffs two years in a row and the AFC Championship game in 2019; Atlanta is a few years behind that timeline. It made sense for Jones to go to a team competing right now.

I say it is a slightly better than lateral move because, though they’re contenders, the Titans aren’t that much different than the Falcons. Both teams have questionable defenses; Tennessee was 28th in total defense and 24th in scoring defense a year ago. Both teams have competent quarterbacks, and though his statistics may paint him superior, Ryan Tannehill is only slightly better than Matt Ryan, if at all. The biggest difference is the Titans’ path to the playoffs is much easier than the Falcons because the NFC South is far superior to the AFC South.

Though Tennessee’s offense was historically efficient a year ago, Tannehill isn’t this gunslinger who is going to out-throw Julio Jones. The Titans made their money on timely deep shots off of play-action after establishing the run, and kudos to Tannehill; he was great when he needed to be in the regular season. Still, in the Wild Card round against the Ravens, he was average as the offense could only muster 13 points, and Tannehill threw for just 165 yards because Baltimore stifled Derrick Henry to the tune of 2.2 yards per carry.

Tannehill and the Titans’ offense need to establish the run before attacking through the air, and while he isn’t the same quarterback that he was in Miami, Tannehill is NOT a high-volume passer in this league. Adding Julio Jones won’t change that either. Yes, the Titans were much closer to winning the Super Bowl last year than the Falcons, but they might’ve lost the piece that makes the biggest difference, and nobody seems to be talking about him — Arthur Smith.

In 2018, Matt LaFleur led the Titans to a 27th ranked scoring offense and 25th ranked total offense. Enter Arthur Smith; Tennessee ranks 10th in scoring and 12th in total offense the next year. The bones of Smith’s offense are still there, and because of the elite personnel in Tennessee, they’ll have a solid output offensively this year. But just like the Falcons in 2017, losing an offensive coordinator can drastically change the team’s composition. That is why I believe it is a slightly better than lateral move, but it was never Jones’ decision. Julio was always going to go to the team that offered the most, which just so happened to be Tennessee.

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: