Snaps Lost: Tennessee Titans
The “Snaps Lost” series is a detailed look at the playing time void created by players that have left each team this offseason, whether they were traded, cut, left in free agency, or retired.
Because each unit plays a different number of snaps over the course of the year, we have created the “Full Time Equivalent” metric. FTE is the total number of missing snaps divided by the number of plays the team ran on that side of the ball. This is an equivalent measure of how many full time players (100% snap count) the team would need to add on to make up for their offseason losses, even though very few players actually play a full snap count.
For example, if a team had 1,100 snaps on offense and then lost seven players who combined to play 2,200 snaps, their FTE would be 2.0 (2,200/1,100). This ensures that a team who lost a high volume of players only has a high FTE if those players racked up some significant playing time. FTE can only fall between zero (no players left the team) and 11 (fire everyone!) for each side of the ball.
Each team will have a ranking following their FTE, with the first-ranked team in each category (offense, defense, and total) representing the team with the smallest portion of their playing time in need of replacement.
A few caveats before getting into the good stuff:
-Suspensions and injuries that may limit 2015 snap counts are not considered.
-Biggest Losses are purely in terms of snap count, not necessarily in terms of impact.
-All snap counts are Regular Season only.
Overall FTE Lost: 6.09, 21st
FTE Lost: 3.94, 28th
Biggest Losses: Nate Washington (782), Michael Oher (668), Chris Spencer (338)
Summary – The Titans rank near the bottom in offensive FTE lost despite only two losses of over 350 snaps, but Tennessee lost eight more players who logged at least 100 snaps in 2014. Washington is the biggest loss here, but after just one 1,000-yard season in six years with the Titans, his production shouldn’t be hard to replace. Oher was cut with three years left on the puzzling deal they gave him last offseason and will compete in Carolina. Spencer struggled in limited snaps last year and after an offseason Achilles’ tear, the 33-year-old may be done for good.
Replacement Plan – Harry Douglas’ run in Atlanta over the previous six years is quite similar to that of Washington’s time in Tennessee, and he should be the frontrunner to fill his shoes. Second-round pick Dorial Green-Beckham will get plenty of opportunity to eat up those snaps as well. If Taylor Lewan can stay healthy in his sophomore year, he’ll see a full-time role that should completely cover for Oher and provide a noticeable bump in the level of play as well. Similarly, a knee injury to starter Brian Schwenke pushed Spencer into the lineup in the first place, and a healthy year out of the young center should negate the loss of Spencer.
FTE Lost: 2.15, 9th
Biggest Losses: George Wilson (834), Kamerion Wimbley (549), Shaun Phillips (362), Bernard Pollard (351)
Summary – Wilson’s play slipped from 2013 (+6.2) to 2014 (-14.1), and as such the Titans saw him as replaceable. Pollard requested a release shortly after the 2014 season ended, and Tennessee granted him his wish in March, though a long recovery from an Achilles’ injury suffered midway through the season has him still waiting to find a new suitor. The 31-year-old Wimbley retired after nine seasons in the NFL, spending the last three in Nashville. The Titans had Phillips playing a rotational role before waiving the veteran last November — he briefly caught on with the Colts but was then cut after the season.
Replacement Plan –The Titans really only have two positions to fill here despite losing four significant contributors. Safety is one, and though they shelled out some cash to bring in Da’Norris Searcy, they found a guy who looks to be a solid up-and-coming safety. Former Redskin Brian Orakpo could be a major upgrade and ideally would account for nearly all of the snaps vacated by both Wimbley and Phillips, though expecting that much play time out of the injury-prone outside linebacker may be a tad optimistic.