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The Tennessee Titans were considered overachievers by many last season. No one expected them to make it as far as they did, especially with the porous 2-4 start. For the Titans, they got knocked down early but got back up, as they were one win away from the Super Bowl.
This offseason, the Titans are looking to get back to where they were and like any offseason, they were expected to make changes. But what happens when those changes take away two fan favorites?
The Titans no longer have two veteran players fans came to love. With the emergence of tight end Jonnu Smith and the reserve tight ends, Delanie Walker was deemed expendable and released.
With his injury history the last two seasons, it was expected Walker would be gone but the latest exit was one not many saw coming. In a surprise move, the Titans traded Jurrell Casey to the Denver Broncos for a 2020 7th round pick.
Both moves, expected and unexpected, have two players leaving a city that they were important to. Although Casey was not a voice you heard a lot, he was one of the most respected players in the locker room. His production will be missed.
As far as Walker, he was a guy that made plays and led by how he played. Sure, he said a few things in the media from time to time but he was a guy who plenty could count on to show leadership.
With these two gone, a new era of leadership has to step forward. And with the team paying Ryan Tannehill and franchise tagging Derrick Henry, this duo could fill in on the leadership side for the offense.
Tannehill became a leader of the team last season with his play and that should carry over to this season along with his voice and composure.
As far as Henry, he is not the most vocal guy in the locker room. But what he lacks in being vocal, he surely makes up for in being a leader through his actions. With him getting the franchise tag to set up a new deal down the line, leadership is more than likely the next evolution for him.
Defensively, Casey is a tough man to replace as far as leadership but it can happen. One man that can be looked at to replace Casey’s leadership potentially is Rashaan Evans. The third-year linebacker stepped up and made big plays and in the middle of that defense: he commands respect.
Next year, expectations will be higher going into the season. With some leadership missing, it will be interesting to see how the Titans fill that gap. Walker and Casey were great for the Titans and there is never a perfect time to move on but the organization figured now was the right time to do so.