With the offseason draft process completed, it's time to survey the lay of the land for this team. The team certainly has had an interesting and busy offseason, bringing in numerous free agents and signing some of them. Did things change from last time or did the team continue to run in place? Let's begin with the front office.
The front office did an excellent job identifying the proper holes on this team and went about filling them. I liked all the moves in free agency made by Ruston Webster and company. The FO spent a staggering $110 million of Bud Adams' hard earned money on 12 different free agents. The biggest expenditure being that of G Andy Levitre. Some say that they overpaid for him but given that he was the top guard on the market, it had to be done. I have two main complaints about the free agency pursuits, however. The main one being the fact that Shonn Greene was vastly overpaid for the caliber of his talents. A cheaper option could've likely been had in the draft via trade given the expected fall of running backs. My other complaint is that better defensive end options weren't pursued as vigorously as most people wanted. It's a small complaint as the need was somewhat filled within the draft. Speaking of the draft, the Titans did very well, acquiring talent at their correct values. It remains to be seen what the coaching staff can do with the newly acquired talents that the front office has provided them.
After a horrendous season, much change within the staff was expected and brought upon it in the form of new hires along with role changes. The biggest new name being a familiar face in Gregg Williams. It came as a surprise to us all that he was hired after serving a year long penance for his alleged crimes for the BountyGate case. Maybe he's the yin to Jerry Gray's yang and could provide some much needed aggressiveness. Speaking of the embattled Gray, it was a surprise that he was retained after a lackluster showing by his charges on defense. In his defense, the defense did show signs of some life towards the end. Keith Millard turned out to be a home run hire as the pass rush improved under his watch. OC and Ed Orgeron look a like Dowell Loggains must show improvement from the Palmer era of hilarity or the franchise's belief in him will be utterly misguided and a terrible failure. If Loggains calls those largely unsuccessful receiver screen plays more than once a game, he should be immediately fired on the spot. Sylvester Croom might be one of the more respected coaches in all levels of the sport. New receivers coach Shawn Jefferson has proven to know what he's doing with the Lions in the same capacity so I have faith in him to turn around an unit full of adventurous unknowns. Retaining some of the underperforming parts of the staff from last year gives me the feeling of Mike Munchak is just reshuffling deck chairs on the Titanic, similar to the current Texas Longhorns regime under Mack Brown.
The Titans suffered an unprecedented amount of injuries everywhere, leading to team wide catastrophe. The indirect root of the issue is how the training staff prepares the players during OTAs and training camp. Many don't give credence to this but it plays a vital part in how the season goes. The front office did its job of filling in depth but if injuries continue to pile up like they did last year, it's 100% on the training staff instead of bad luck. The onus is on young Jake Locker to improve this year with a better supporting cast or he will be deemed a bust and cut loose. After witnessing last year's horrific sideshow and downright offensive offensive performance, I have my concerns. Defensively, things are looking up after being so awful, they have no choice but to be better. It would help tremendously if defensive general Colin McCarthy stayed healthy for a longer period of time. The additions of that guy whose name I can't pronounce, Ropati P. and Sammie Lee Hill should improve the DL from its anemic numbers. No defensive end alive can sustain consistent pressure while playing over 80% of the snaps like Morgan and Wimbley did. I also love the additions in the secondary with George Wilson and legendary Patriots hunter Bernard Pollard. They both bring a solid and steady veteran presence to a team that needs it.
For a team that needed a ton of help during the offseason, the front office might have delivered the right tonic to solve its woes. As Jake Locker goes, so will the team. The training wheels are off for him now, he needs to show up and take command for good. Instead of just moping around with the other QBs, he needs to go out there to shake hands and kiss babies. The team will be better but the record might not reflect it with a brutal opening stretch run. The Titans drew arguably the best division in football this year in the NFC West. Seattle and the Delanie Walker Invitational back to back is rough. As long as the team stays in the playoff hunt, everyone's jobs should be safe.