It may appear untimely, nevertheless it truly isn’t. As soon as minicamp ends on Thursday, will probably be 94 days till the Cardinals open the common season on the street in opposition to the Tennessee Titans.
Attaining a season-opening victory grew to become infinitely more durable for the Cardinals this week when the Titans acquired large receiver Julio Jones from the Atlanta Falcons.
Tennessee received the AFC South on a tiebreaker with the Indianapolis Colts final yr as each groups completed with 11-5 information. Not like the earlier marketing campaign when the Titans superior to the AFC Championship Recreation in opposition to the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs, they had been bounced by the Baltimore Ravens in a first-round playoff sport.
Following the departure of offensive coordinator Arthur Smith to Atlanta to be the Falcons head coach, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel promoted tight ends coach Todd Downing to offensive coordinator.
In 2020, Titans working again Derrick Henry rushed for two,027 yards on 378 carries, whereas averaging 5.4 yards per try and scoring 17 touchdowns. He added a meager 19 receptions for 114 yards. The 397 complete touches had been almost 25 per sport. And this season there will likely be 17 video games, so Tennessee might be hoping to lighten Henry’s load.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill accomplished 65.5 p.c of his passes for 3,819 yards, 33 touchdowns, solely seven interceptions and a 106.5 passer ranking that ranked fifth within the NFL. He was sixth within the league in common per try at 7.94 yards.
Nonetheless, two of his three main targets have departed: Huge receiver Corey Davis (Jets), who had 65 receptions for 984 yards (15.1 common) and 5 touchdowns; and tight finish Jonnu Smith (Patriots), who totaled 41 catches for 448 yards (10.9 common) and eight touchdowns.
The crew’s main receiver was A.J. Brown with 70 receptions for 1,075 yards (15.4 common) and 11 touchdowns. Most notably, particularly with the addition of Jones, their receiver corps is massive and bodily. Brown is listed at 6-foot-1 and 226 kilos and Jones at 6-foot-3, 220.
Josh Reynolds, signed as a free agent from the Los Angeles Rams, is 6-foot-3, 196 kilos and caught 52 passes for 618 yards (11.9 common) and two touchdowns final season.
Tight finish Anthony Firkser had a line of 39-387-9.9-1.
The acquisition of Jones actually caught the eye of Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph forward of Week 1.
Requested his ideas when he first heard the information of the Jones commerce final Sunday, Joseph mentioned, “My first response was, ‘Wow, we obtained a problem.’ I texted your entire workers and I mentioned, ‘Boy, let’s go, we obtained a problem Week 1.’ Clearly, that makes them completely different. With the working sport and having two targets who can each win 1-on-1s with the large man (Henry) sitting seven yards deep.
“And the quarterback has performed actually, very well. I used to be with him in Miami for one yr (2016). He was a younger man, rising. Man, he is come a good distance. He is very correct. He is athletic. He is powerful. That is going to be a troublesome out.”
Whereas groups are working onerous in coaching camp, they do start early planning for the primary sport and Joseph acknowledged that. It’s not that a lot completely different than Week 1 final season when the Cardinals opened on the street in opposition to the San Francisco 49ers, the defending NFC champions.
“We have got an extended summer time to determine what’s finest versus these guys,” Joseph mentioned. “That is going to be a pleasant problem for us Week 1. We’re trying ahead to it as a result of, clearly, to make the playoffs and do issues particular, you bought to play everyone. So we’re trying ahead to that Week 1 problem, which goes to be powerful.”