This is going to be a short piece about some players that were on the roster before the start of the offseason and have been somewhat ignored because of the additions that we've made. On each side of the ball I'm going to look at one player who will play a big part in the Titans 2013 team and another that will only be used sparingly but its a better player than given credit for. The fact that I had to narrow this down to 4 players really stands out as a testament to the improved depth the 2013 Titans have that the 2012 Titans somewhat lacked. Last year all of these guys were going into the season guaranteed a roster spot and didn't have any competition. Three of these four will have some form of competition in camp to keep their jobs.
There has been a big focus on the additions to the D-Line in Ropati Pitoitua, Sammie Lee Hill and Lavar Edwards. Also given the interest that the Titans have in adding Freeney, Idonije or Abraham you could be forgiven for overlooking the players who are already on the roster. The two players I have in mind are Mike Martin and Scott Solomon.
On offense I'll be looking at Byron Stingily and Quinn Johnson two players who are going to be more important to the Titans than we imagine. Stingily is more of a long term potential guy and QJ is going to make an impact this season.
Everybody seems to have penciled Sammie Lee Hill into the second DT spot next to Jurrell Casey but I would think that given a strong rookie campaign Mike Martin would be given at least a shot at the starting role. PFF loves this guy and is one of their top 'underpaid' guys on our roster. I'm not going to write much on Martin but I think he has a serious chance of being a 3 down DT in the league. With the way the NFL is going, being more and more pass oriented a big bodied guy like Sammie Lee Hill who is going to primarily be a run stuffer will get a lower % of the snaps than he would have 5 years ago.
Now I'm sure some of you would have seen Scott Soloman and just ignored it, but hear me out. This is a guy that the Titans valued enough to trade up for using a sixth rounder and a seventh rounder on last season. He's a notorious high motor guy, struggled with a knee injury last year and trying to find some evidence of him playing at 100% is pretty hard to find. However whilst doing some research for this post I looked at snap counts I think its a good indicator of how much faith the Titans have in him. For someone who only managed to suit up in 13 games he managed to get the 6th most snaps of all of our defensive lineman, more than Karl Klug. Now just under half of those snaps came on special teams. With the snaps he got on defense he managed 4 pressures in 84 snaps by no means setting the world on fire. I'm not suggesting he will be some sort of standout player, but I expect him to make the roster and hopefully take some steps forward in his second season.
I've heard some people on the site, especially recently talking about the downturn in Dave Stewarts play in 2012, whilst he wasn't a liability it wasn't his best season by any stretch of the imagination. This is the first time in a long time there is some debate as to the long term future at the tackle position. The Titans have brought in Eric Winston for a visit. Dave Stewarts leg is apparently not healing as well as we would like so it is only prudent to bring in someone to explore our options especially with Stewart in what potentially could be the last year of his contract.. That's all well and good but what does it mean to Stingily.
There was some speculation on the site before the draft about drafting a late round tackle and letting him develop. I didn't see the point because we already have that guy on the roster in Stingily. He might be the biggest athletic freak on the roster and has gotten some brilliant coaching since he got into the league. Now the first question in your head must be, well everyone got hurt on the line last year and the replacements were terrible weren't they? Well not Stingily PFF thought he showed some real promise in the two games he played at the end of the season.
Byron Stingily(+2.3) who before today had only played one NFL snap on offense. He’ll face bigger tests than Dezman Moses and Erik Walden, but he didn’t buckle where others might have. Encouraging. (PACKERS GAME)
The latest Titan to take over the right tackle spot was 2011 sixth-round pick Byron Stingily, and he also performed well, allowing only a hit in 49 pass blocking attempts. (JAGUARS GAME)
This is a guy with a really high ceiling who was taken late in a draft a few years ago who has received some good coaching and despite massive ineptitude next to him played admirably. He could well be in for a future starting role looking past the 2013 season.
He might not be my favourite Titan but make no mistake about it we are going to be carrying a specialist fullback on the roster and he will see significant playing time. Its not easy to find interesting things about a fullback but searching the annuls of PFF I did find their look back on his drafting and they said this of him
You can never have enough fullbacks’ right? Johnson did a decent job as one of the Packers lead blockers, earning a +8.4 grade in 419 snaps before he became surplus to requirements.
I think QJ is an underrated Titan, he is a pretty good lead blocker. Fullback might not be a sexy position but its certainly one that we will get great use out of next year. Craig Stevens and Delanie Walker will play some FB as well but there is little doubt in my mind that QJ will be on the roster and be there blocking for CJ all year.
This is a post about a couple of fringe players for the Titans and two players who might be in for significant playing time this year. It wasn't meant to give any new perspective on the abilities of each player but just to showcase the strength in depth that is on this roster and hopefully shine some light on Titans players who aren't being discussed too often on the site.