The Tennessee Titans sent two players to the Pro Bowl last year following a 3-13 season, tight end Delanie Walker and defensive lineman Jurrell Casey.
This year the Titans are in the midst of one of the biggest turnaround seasons in recent memory, and as a result were rewarded with five Pro Bowl participants this year.
Walker and Casey will make their second straight trip to the annual exhibition, and will be joined this year by running back DeMarco Murray, left tackle Taylor Lewan, and outside linebacker Brian Orakpo.
Murray, who was brought in this offseason via trade, currently leads the AFC in rushing, and has been the unquestioned MVP of the team this season.
Murray’s worth can be summed up in one play last Sunday in a must-win showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs, a critical over the shoulder catch on fourth down to keep Tennessee’s division title and playoff hopes alive. Tennessee scored shortly after, setting up the now infamous failed two point conversion and game winning kick by Ryan Succop.
Taylor Lewan’s offseason dedication is one of the bright spots for the Titans this season. Drafted in 2014, Lewan underwhelmed his first two seasons. This year the vocal and often unpredictable left tackle has played up to his lofty draft status, and is deserving of the honor.
Brian Orakpo’s comeback story is equally worthy of praise. A stud linebacker while with the Redskins, Orakpo fell on hard times his last few years in the nation’s capitol when a multitude of season ending injuries threatened to derail his career.
This season, his second in Tennessee, Orakpo has been healthy and problematic for opposing offensive coordinators. His 10 sacks leads the team, and his veteran leadership is a huge reason for Tennessee’s turnaround this year.
What I find ironic is the fact that Murray was the only player listed in the top five at his position according to fan voting just a couple of weeks ago.
Amazing how two high-profile wins against the AFC’s elite can grab your attention.
And of course, Titans fans would rather have all five miss this year’s contest in Orlando, because that would mean that Tennessee will be playing in the Super Bowl the following week in Houston.