So after a long break from my weekly post's (Finals, moving, and summer classes), I am finally back. As I come back to the masses of Titans fans, the first week of OTA's are wrapping up and there were a bunch of things that peaked my interest.
First the things that excite me so far about the new and re-vamped Titans, because lets be honest, this team already looks way different from the team we last saw against the Jags in the Winter Months.
Kenny Britt finally looks focused and determined not to be a liability on and off the field. So far Kenny Britt has stayed out of trouble off the field, which is a breath of fresh air. A lot of that can be contributed to his off-season workout routine. First thing he did was go to Los Angeles and practiced, worked out, and rehabbed his knee even more. He showed for OTA's in phenomenal shape and a lot of his teammates have said he is much more focused. Now a lot of that can be attributed to him going into a contract year, be that as it may, he looks like he is starting to mature into a reliable starter. Lets just hope he keeps it up and finally has the year that we all saw he could be capable of in 2011, before he torn his knee up.
Jake Locker is healthy and is starting to bring the offense together and work as a solid, brute force of a unit (a lot of that is the O-line play as well, more on that later). Now I am still very skeptical of Jake and his accuracy issues, but for the most part he has looked confident in the pocket and he says he feels 100%, similar to how he felt before the shoulder injury against the Texans last year. One thing that is also a positive for Jake, but could be an underlying problem, is the Titans going with the run 1st approach. Some of you may cringe at the thought of that, but that offensive mindset is letting the players you have play to their strengths and not their weaknesses. Especially for Jake Locker, because he is still trying to perfect his accuracy.
Bernard Pollard may be annoying to some people and his coverage skills may not be the best, but I'm starting to like the guy more and more. Look the Titans have lacked that fiery type player since Keith Bulluck, and Mr. Pollard may finally fill that void. He has to lead by example on the field by his play, but so far he brings a winning attitude and much needed bark to the Titan naysayers among the media and other Titan detractors. Hopefully his "Tatum-esque" style of Safety play will pay dividends this season.
Gregg Williams may be the best acquisition out of all the free agents, because of the type of defense they are gonna run. Instead of reacting to what the offenses do, his style of defense will dictate what offenses will be able to do. He's more pro-active than reactive, and no offense to Jerry Gray, but he isn't as aggressive as he needed to be last year. Jerry Gray may be the defensive coordinator on paper, but most people in the media and locker room say it differently, Williams is back and he's got a chip on his shoulder. Yeah he may be humbled from the whole "bounty-gate" situation, but his type of coaching won't really change that much.
Mark my words this offensive line, barring injury, could be one of the top 5 in the league by years end. Warmack is already transitioning into being a starter and the rest of the O-line couldn't be happier. I will also argue that the offensive line could be even better when Brian Schwenke becomes a starter, because it's gonna happen. As of right now CJ, Greene, and Locker should be smiling because they will be well protected this year.
Now to the negative...which there isn't too much to be worried about, but some issues have arisen that should be addressed.
Now I know it is early and it's nothing to get worried about, but Andy Levitre's knee is rather alarming to me. If it was his shoulder or his wrist, or even his back I wouldn't be too worried, but it's his knee. Now it was mainly an arthroscopic surgery, which is to clean up floating cartilage. Having anything scoped is almost mandatory at season's end for all player's, but his rehab is taking longer. Nothing to get too worried about, but we specifically targeted Levitre and payed a kings ransom for him. Hopefully the reports are true, that is was mainly a pre-caution and nothing bigger...
...which brings me to another injury to a recent free agent acquisition. Delanie Walker having to get an MRI on a tweeked knee is troubling to hear as well. Now right now they don't know the severity of the injury, but he has been walking around on it, still he sat out OTA's and has to sit out the rest of them. Which doesn't sound good, even if it was a tear of some sort, it wouldn't mean his season is over, just shortened. His absence could hurt the run game and more of that much needed leadership.
Jake Locker has looked like a leader so far, but his accuracy issues are worrisome. In the pass happy league the NFL has turned into, accuracy is extremely important. Right now Jake is has shown signs of a franchise QB, but has looked more like a mediocre QB at best. Now he has shown signs of being the QB we want, before the shoulder injury, and he also has a re-vamped O-line to protect him along with a run-first offense. Still, there is going to be that game where Jake is forced to win it with his arm, lets hope he can finally live up to task. If not I'm taking notes on Teddy Bridgewater right now.
So right now there isn't too many big concerns compared to the positives that have been seen so far.
Till next time, stay classy and Go Titans!