Nine notes from the nine Titan OTAs

USA TODAY Sports

The Titans finished their stretch of OTAs with a movie day leaving fans and the media only nine days of practices to talk about. These are the nine things that stood out the most to me.

During offseason workouts it is important to take everything with a grain of salt, however some things seem more relevant than others. For example it isn't really news the McCarthy has been taking reps with the second team, he was injured and the Titans are just easing him back in.

With that in mind, these are the nine things I saw that really jumped out to me.

1. Brian Schwenke won't be given the starting center job, he will have to earn it.

I think ultimately Schwenke makes the most sense at center for the Titans, but that is far from a consensus opinion. If the Cal standout is going to take the starting spot he will have to out perform Rob Turner and Fernando Velasco for it, and it will have to be a clear difference.

2. We may have to wait a year to really get a feel for Justin Hunter's ability.

Hunter has a lot of things going for him, he is fast, tall, has a huge catch radius, he played against top tier talent at UT, but the one thing not working in his favor is his health. Hunter was never going to be asked to run the full route tree in his first year, but after missing so many OTAs he could be looking at a very limited role in the offense at least for the first half of the season.

3. The Titans aren't quite sure how Alterraun Verner or Karl Klug fit into the new big, press coverage defense.

It is clear that the Titans have specific molds for their defensive players this year, they want the line to be bigger and staunch against the run and they want their biggest corners outside pressing WRs. With that said, two of the most popular Titans on the defense seem to have no home. Klug will get looks at both DT and DE so his job is likely safe, (and he could actually see a bigger part in the defense this season) but Verner may only see the field in nickel situations unless he can bench Michael Griffin for the starting FS spot.

4. Chris Johnson has no excuses for a bad season.

CJ is in camp, has a good RB coach, an above average back up, and one of the most talented offensive lines in the league. At this point if he has a below 1,400 yard season he could be staring the open market in the face. The Titans are going to be a running team that depends on CJ's ability to attack creases in the defense, if he can't do that then Shonn Greene could steal his job.

5. Dowell Loggains seems very exciting on paper.

Without actually witnessing the offense in a true game situation it is hard to make any truly accurate judgement, but on paper Loggains is saying and doing all the right things. Loggains is using a running offense that will put little strain on Locker's arm and will shine a spotlight on his ability to excel in a two-read and go type offense.

6. Even through injuries the Titans should be a lot better at WR.

Word out of camp is that the Titans WRs are competing more intensely than any other group on the field and the man to thank is Shawn Jefferson. Whether it is his aggressive, uptempo coaching style or it is his don't-take-no-for-an-answer mentality, something is happening with the Titans pass catchers.

7. Gregg Williams and new FA defenders have changed the makeup of a horrendous 2012 defense.

This offseason the Titans added Bernard Pollard, George Wilson, Sammie Lee Hill, and Gregg Williams and all of those people look like they are going to make a big impression on the Titans 2013 defense. Sammie Lee Hill seems to be poised to start at 1-technique or NT depending on the look and I doubt that the Titans will get anything less than 1,500 combined snaps between the two new safeties.

8. The Titans will play some 3-4.

I don't feel 100% confident that this scheme won't end up on the cutting room floor if the Titans struggle to take leads in game, but if everything goes according to plan then the Titans will definitely use some 3 linemen sets. One quote about the defensive game plan is to take Casey out and allow three bigger guys to eat up space on the defense. That likely means Pitoitua, Hill, and either Mike Martin or Antonio Johnson will be starting on the DL. If the Titans do that then you can bet that they will have Akeem Ayers, Kamerion Wimbley, and/or Zach Brown rush the quarterback from a variety of angles.

9. The Titans need athletic/big-name players to take the next step.

Three Titans that really need to have a big season are Kenny Britt, Jake Locker, and Tommie Campbell. Britt is finally healthy and should be the go to guy for Jake Locker. If Britt can show that he is more than just a ton of potential, then the Titans passing game can be lethal.

Jake Locker is obviously the starting QB and a lot of responsibility comes from being in that position. Locker needs to take control of this team, make good decisions, and remind the Titans of the threat he can be with his legs in the right offense.

Finally, Tommie Campbell seems to have the inside track on a starting CB job. Campbell is tall, strong, and has elite speed so if he can just get his technique and instincts down the Titans could really have a great player here. His development would lead to less gashing plays and possibly HUGE turnovers that could easily go for touchdowns given the physical specimen he is.

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