It's that time of year again- the dreaded offseason. OTAs are starting up, but news does not circulate much. What does fill the minds of all football fans is one thing: speculation. With every offseason comes months of speculation. How is your favorite team going to fare this upcoming season? 12-4? 9-7? 8-8? 3-13? Most sensible people will mark their teams with a favorable record of 9-7 or better. And honestly, every team has the potential to be a 16-0 team. All professional football players have the talent to build a championship caliber team. However, this can all change. There are too many possible scenarios to fathom how a season will go; nevertheless, we all speculate how our teams will compete. We can speculate all we want, but there is no way that we can predict our beloved Tennessee Titans' 2012-2013 season because of the surprises, the disappointments, and the uncontrollable.
Think back 365 days from now. The quarterbacks on our roster were Jake Locker, Vince Young, and Rusty Smith. We all speculated that we could bring in Hasselbeck or McNabb. But who would have thought that the gameplan would have worked out as well as it did? Matthew Hasselbeck came to Nashville after the lockout and provided the leadership and stability (on and off the field) to lead this team to its first winning record since the 2008 season. How great is that? I was a major critic of him before we brought him in due to stats and injuries. However, a person cannot base an opinion solely on these things. Game-tape and the intangibles are what control how a player does. The drive to perform is what dictates how a season plays out. No one here believed Nate Washington would not only become the leader and performer that he was. He was incited by a gain in maturity to stop fooling around and be what he could be. Look what that did for him. You take a below average receiver, ignite a fire, and the result is a 1,000 yard offensive weapon. Jason McCourty took his rookie year's train-wreck and became the best player on our defense last year. If Nate and Jason can do this, why can't Damian Williams, Michael Griffin, Leroy Harris, Eugene Amano or Chris Johnson? There will always be the surprise player of the season. Who will it be for the Titans this year?
With every surprise comes a disappointment. Derrick Morgan and Damian Williams would have to be our examples of the 2011 season. They hype for these two sophomores was huge. Derrick was to return to his 2010 pre-injury form. However, he never seemed to completely fulfill this in his 2.5 sack performance season (NFL.com). Damian was given a golden opportunity to make an impact on offense after Kenny Britt went down with injury. In contrast, his inconsistency helped win some games and cost us others. Can each turn it around in his 3rd season? ¡Por supuesto! But they must prove themselves worthy of their respective roster spots. This year will most likely come with disappointments as well. Jake Locker, Colin McCarthy, and Kamerion Wimbley are the prime candidates for this award. Do they all have the work ethic to achieve great success in Valhalla with Thorchak. Nevertheless, the sophomore slump will take its victim on every team (i.e. Damian, Derrick, and D-Mac). Also, Kamerion Wimbley may have difficulty transforming into a defensive end. Do I believe this will be an issue? No, but it is a huge possibility.
Surprises and disappointments are what make up every NFL team; furthermore, one more element will change the flow of every team- the uncontrollable. That's right- injuries. Derrick Morgan tore his ACL in his rookie season, which led him to be a 2011 disappointment (I am by no means intending to bash on Derrick. He is just a good example for these purposes. I think he will return in 2012 and make a huge impact.). Kenny Britt, Eric Berry, Jamaal Charles, and Adrian Peterson all tore their anterior cruciate ligaments. Will they be the surprises of 2012 or will they take Derrick Morgan's path? Or will they come back better than ever? Nate may not recover from his injuries from 2011, or will he repeat a 1,000 yard season? The scary thing is that an ACL tear can happen to anyone- Chris Johnson, Jared Cook, Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, Desean Jackson, DeMarcus Ware. No one is safe. Every play is a possibility for a player to alter his career and life. What if Andrew Luck tears his ACL on his first snap? That could ruin his possible HOF career. Anything can happen, altering the future and direction of every NFL. However, that is when the backups are supposed to step up and either become the surprises (Tom Brady) or the disappointments (Rusty Smith).
The possibilities for each team are not countable. The list of scenarios is endless and speculation will continue until the Super Bowl is finished. Then... the cycle of speculation will begin all over again. The NFL's drama is what makes it so exciting for many of us. It's like watching a favorite TV show- you wait for the next episode to see what your favorite characters will do next. What will director Mike Munchak create for his fans this season? No one knows. However, this season, like all will be plagued with surprises, disappointments, and the inevitable.