But he wasn’t the only factor in the Titans’ success. As with any offense, strong performance starts with an offensive line that can deliver.
When Pro Football Focus’ Ben Linsey released his rankings of the top-25 interior offensive linemen in the NFL, two Titans made the list.
Here’s what Linsey had to say about Saffold.
There has been a lot of discussion around the decline we saw from the Los Angeles Rams’ offensive line in 2019. Saffold’s departure wasn’t the sole domino to fall, but it was an important one. Excluding a 2015 season where he played just 233 offensive snaps, Saffold has recorded a PFF pass-blocking grade of at least 72.0 in every season since 2012 — he’s a consistently strong performer at the guard position. His grading profile as a run-blocker has really picked up in the last several seasons, as well. Since 2017, the only two guards to record a positively graded run block on a higher percentage of their snaps than Saffold have been Nelson and Brooks. One could be in worse company.
Center Ben Jones was listed at No. 18.
After fitting the good-not-great mold for much of his NFL career, Jones really stepped up his play in 2019 — particularly in pass protection. His 1.8% pressure rate allowed at center for the Titans was a top-five mark at the position, and the only center with a higher PFF pass-blocking grade than Jones (86.8) was Rodney Hudson. He allowed multiple pressures in just one game all season. Even at a position like center, which limits the number of truly destructive pass-protecting performances that we see, that’s an impressive season for Jones. He allowed just two pressures in the team’s final seven games. Tennessee will be hoping that elite play carries over into next year as they look to compete in the AFC South.
Both of these players figure to be a factor once more as the Titans look to prove they can be consistent postseason contenders in 2020.
The Titans are set to begin their season against the Denver Broncos on the road on Sept. 14.
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