Arthur Smith doesn't want to say too much yet about Darrynton Evans, but Ryan Tannehill will

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Continuity is the keyword for the Titans on offense and the personnel is largely the same coming off a big 2019.

Still, Arthur Smith smartly offered a reminder during a Friday media Zoom that the team still has to “start over.”

He said he’s opened the creative vault in an offseason where he was not able to deal with players in person and watching him add to an offense that was really able to push the ball downfield should be incredibly interesting.evans darrynton 2

(Photo courtesy Appalachian State athletics.)

In terms of weaponry, the new element he has is a guy expected to be an upgrade as the change-up back, third-rounder Darrynton Evans.

We learned earlier this week that Jonnu Smith wasn’t the only guy that got valuable time with Ryan Tannehill in Florida.

“I was able to throw with him down in Florida several times over the offseason,” Tannehill said. “And obviously, he's been here as well. Just a talented guy. He's very explosive, very fast. Granted, catching the football, really natural. When you see a running back catch the ball naturally, whether they're coming out of the backfield or split out wide, it definitely adds another element to the offense and can give defenses a hard time. I’m really excited about having Darrynton with us.”

Dion Lewis simply didn’t deliver the element the Titans will now look to Evans for, and that Florida head-start with Tannehill rates as a big deal.

“It’s just going to be how much he can handle,” Smith said. “I think it's unfair because everybody's growth curve is different. We know we liked him, obviously, before the draft and what he did at App State, and then what he's done here is he's handled what we've given him and until he gets on the field and we can see what he can handle and then we can expand from there.

“So, we're certainly optimistic about it, but it's hard to put a label or timeframe and sit here and tell you guys, ‘Oh, you're going to do this X, Y, and Z.’ That's just not fair. It's not fair to everybody out there competing. Just got to see what they can do.”

The Titans will clearly be looking to Evans on third down when he’ll first be asked to be a reliable pass-protector and then put to use the expansive receiving ability where he can run the whole route tree.

Derrick Henry is absolutely going to carry the load on first and second down when he should be in the field for the vast majority of snaps.

But Evans will get in there once in a while, and when he does the presumption will be that the Titans are throwing it.

“You’ve got to do a great job with your self-scout to know those tendencies,” Smith said. “You don't want to become obvious. I know sometimes it sounds hypocritical but Derrick (Henry) certainly got his fair share of carries, but that's where we feel like with the other actions we have in the run game, certainly pay off whether they're on our play-pass or keeper game.

“But you got to do a great job scouting, mix it up because you don't want to come out and make it easy. It's competitive and guys are studying that. You don't want to give away, ‘This is going to be a run, this is going to pass,’ so you're constantly self-scouting and aware of that and creating roles. But yes, definitely aware of that.apple icon 144x144 precomposed

Henry will have to continue to develop as a guy who can catch more than screens and passes thrown to him where he runs to a spot, turns and faces the ball. And Evans will have to run effectively.

Still, when Evans carries and doesn’t fare well it will be hard to wish it wasn’t Henry who got the ball. And when Henry catches and doesn’t fare well, it’s probably going to be hard not to wish it wasn’t Evans who got the ball.

It’s life in the NFL if you don’t have a do-everything back.

And it’s certainly a good thing that the Titans believe they have a legit pass-catcher in the position group now.

Evans is the biggest new feature and wrinkle on offense. Tannehill's excitement is expected, but a little more meaningful given his work with Evans. Smith's unwillingness to rush to pronounce he's got something big is a reminder to stay patient.

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