The Tennessee Titans did not have a good showing on special teams overall in 2022, something that has become common over the last few years.
Punter Ryan Stonehouse was a rock star and the brightest spot on Tennessee’s units last season, and the Titans were actually good defending kick returns, ranking fourth in the NFL.
But they ranked 19th in punt return average, 22nd in kick return average, and they gave up the the fifth-most yards per punt return.
Punt returns were an adventure each and every time, with multiple players botching them throughout the year. The offense would rarely get close enough to even attempt field goals, partly because of the limitations with Randy Bullock’s leg, and mostly because the offense stunk.
Despite the myriad of issues, the Titans actually ended up with a better-than-expected mark via NFL writer Rick Gosselin, who does yearly rankings of every team’s special teams based on their showings in 22 different categories.
Those categories range from from returns, to coverage, to starting field position, to punter and kicker stats, and many more. Here’s more on Gosselin’s formula:
The league’s 32 teams are ranked in 22 kicking-game categories and assigned points according to their standing – one for best, 32 for worst. The Texans compiled 255 points to finish 14 1/2 better than the runner-up Seattle Seahawks at 269.5. The top 12 finishers included two division champions – Buffalo and Jacksonville – and four wild-card playoff teams: Seattle, Baltimore, the Chargers and Dallas.
In those rankings, the Titans landed at No. 14 in the NFL, even though what we saw with our own eyes did not scream even a top-half-of-the-league group.
Of those aforementioned 22 categories, the Titans finished first in at least one of them (punt average; thank you, Ryan Stonehouse) and last in at least one of them (field goals made).
We say at least because there are multiple categories that saw ties between multiple teams, but those teams were not listed.
Thanks to the Titans’ issues on special teams, fans have been calling for Craig Aukerman’s job for a few years now, but it doesn’t sound like head coach Mike Vrabel is making a change anytime soon.