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Treylon Burks Titans
NFL

How Can Titans Get Treylon Burks More Involved?

  • Justin Melo
  • September 28, 2022
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NFL rookie wide receivers are off to an excellent start. The likes of Chris Olave, Jahan Dotson, Drake London, and Garrett Wilson have all made immediate impacts on their clubs. It’s been a bit of a slow start for fellow first-round wide receiver Treylon Burks, but the former Arkansas product has flashed moments of brilliance in Tennessee’s run-heavy offense. 

All signs point toward Burks improving as the season progresses. The Titans must get Burks more involved, which offensive coordinator Todd Downing touched on recently.

“He’s been generating confidence in a lot of people around here each and every week,” Downing recently said.

Burks’ usage indicates Downing’s assessment is honest. Burks’ snap count has increased with each passing contest (37% in Week 1, 45% in Week 2, and 69% in Week 3). Burks went from running routes on 36% of his snaps in Week 1 to a startling 97% in Tennessee’s Week 3 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders. Burks was surprisingly only targeted on two occasions against the Raiders, one of which was a crucial fourth-down drop that was thrown slightly behind Burks. An increase in snaps and routes ran suggests Burks’ breakout is swiftly approaching.

There are several ways Titans head coach Mike Vrabel and Downing can get Burks more involved, starting with an appetizing matchup against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. It’s a crucial divisional contest given the current state of the AFC South. The Jacksonville Jaguars took advantage of a conservative, prevent-like Colts defense in Week 2 via a quick-hitting passing game. Jacksonville targeted a vacated middle of the field with terrific consistency. Trevor Lawrence was efficient and decisive, completing 25-of-30 passing attempts for two touchdowns en route to pitching a 24-0 shutout.

The Titans run a different system altogether, but also prefer to exploit the middle of the field via play-action passing attempts. The Titans should attempt to get Burks going via the play-action glance and play-action crosser-type routes that dominate their playbook and would allow Burks to receive the ball in space. Burks can thrive in this matchup.

Through three contests, Burks has secured 8-of-13 targets for 115 receiving yards. He’s yet to record his first career touchdown catch. Burks is averaging a chain-moving 14.4 yards per reception. He’s displayed a physical skill set that makes him an ideal fit for Tennessee’s heavy play-action approach. Burks is averaging 6.8 yards after the catch per reception, per Pro Football Focus. Picking up yards after the catch is a staple of Tennessee’s passing offense. Starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill has enjoyed a passer rating of 90.2 when targeting Burks. Burks led all Titans receivers in routes run for the first time in Week 3, via PFF. Burks’ numbers will improve as his role in the offense gradually grows.

The Titans flashed passing-game improvement throughout their first victory of the season. Downing’s offense was productive throughout the first half as Tannehill entered the break 14-of-17 for 195 yards and a touchdown. Burks will command Tannehill’s attention. There’s plenty to build on from their Week 3 showing. It’s imperative that Downing features Burks more frequently.

Written By

Justin Melo