The Tennessee Titans did a lot in the offseason to upgrade at the safety position with the signings Bernard Pollard and George Wilson. How many players will the ultimately carry on their 53 man roster.
One of the more maligned position for the Titans in 2012 suddenly became a whole lot better during the offseason with the signing first of Wilson and then Pollard. I firmly believe the safety position was mishandled by coaches last season but the overall talent and depth of this year's group should be a lot better. In addition to dipping into the free agency market, the Titans drafted Daimion Stafford, a strong safety out of Nebraska who can play both strong and free safety. He seems more ideally suited to strong safety.
The issues at safety contributed a lot to last year's poor defensive performance. Sixth round pick Markelle Martin never made it off the injury list year and the Robert Johnson experiment didn't last very long. The Titans ended up keeping 4 full time safeties with Jordan Babineaux, Michael Griffin, Al Afalava and Robert Johnson while Tracy Wilson was signed later on and made 9 game appearances playing mostly on special teams. No Titans safety from the 2012 season ranked higher than #57 out of all safeties per Pro Football Focus, and that was Afalava who showed some flashes of good play.
The current depth chart is interesting because the Titans have the strong safety depth chart at Bernard Pollard, George Wilson, Al Afalava, and then Markelle Martin and Daimion Stafford. At free safety, they have listed Michael Griffin, Robert Johnson and Tracy Wilson. News out of mini camps has indicated Alterraun Verner is playing some free safety as well.
George Wilson can play free safety and is really good. When the Titans signed him, I expected to see him push Griffin for playing time but I haven't seen any reports of that yet. The free safety position is a spot to watch during training camp this year for sure. While I am not as low on Griffin as some, he has clearly struggled more often than not. Will we see G. Wilson or Verner push him for snaps? Are the Titans still as high on Robert Johnson as the depth chart would appear? I have so many questions.
Jerry Gray has shown a preference for 3 safety packages and the lack of depth at safety really showed last season. Would the Titans carry 5 safeties this year? Or would they prefer to carry a cornerback or two like Verner who can play both positions? We did hear some talk about Blidi Wrey-Wilson being played at safety although from all appearances that has yet to materialize. Still, that will be another guy to watch in training camp to see if the Titans experiment with him at safety as well.
Whether the Titans carry 4 or 5 safeties, it seems pretty clear the position should be improved and might even be a position of strength in 2013. Both Pollard and George Wilson are excellent tacklers and that alone makes the position better. Oh what a difference an aggressive offseason can make, huh Titans fans?