After advancing to the AFC Championship Game in 2019, the Titans set out to improve their pass rush by signing former first-round picks Vic Beasley and Jadeveon Clowney.
Neither move worked out as planned.
Beasley didn’t report to the team on time for training camp, and registered only three tackles in five games before Tennessee released him in early November.
Clowney started the first eight games and had four tackles for loss and six quarterback hits, but no sacks. He missed the rest of the season with a knee injury.
Tennessee finished 30th with just 19 sacks in 2020. Linebacker Harold Landry led the club with 5.5. Defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons had 3.0.
No other playoff team had fewer than 32 sacks.
During his Tuesday video conference, General Manager Jon Robinson conceded the Titans’ pass rush has to get better. But disagreed with the notion that the team hasn’t tried to improve it.
“We tried to put a plan together last year with building a team and adding some players,” Robinson said. “And there were some players that came on the team in free agency that bought in and were about what we’re about. And there’s some that it didn’t work for myriad reasons. But I think that’s a position that we’re definitely interested in, and would love to have a guy that commands double teams and gets to sacks.
“I think that we’ve gotten production out of those positions. Harold’s a good player for us. Jadeveon did some good things for us last year before he got dinged with some disruptive plays. The statistical piece might not have gleamed, but he was a disruptive player on the edge for us. Didn’t get a lot of run out of Vic [Beasley], I’ve commented on that one back in October, November — whenever we made that move. But no, it’s about effort. It’s about guys wanting to get to the quarterback.”
The lack of pass rush likely contributed to the Titans also finishing dead last in giving up 52 percent of opponents’ third-down opportunities.
Clowney is slated to become a free agent again in March. After last year’s result, Tennessee seems likely to look elsewhere for some help getting after the QB.