The Tennessee Titans turned in a disappointing 6-10 record last season. If a head coach wants to keep his job after a showing like that, there are usually big changes elsewhere, and the Titans were no different. In came new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Williams is a solid defensive coordinator who knows how to put his players in good position and get the most out of them. However he does come with a little baggage from the Saints issue. They also signed 12 players in free agency to the tune of $105 million. The locker room will definitely have some new faces in it.
"We all want to win it," coach Mike Munchak said. "We all know what our expectations are. I've been around this league long enough."
It's going to be tough to get the ship turned around, but Munchak is going to have to start with the offense. They need Jake Locker to not just play well, they need him to stay healthy. If his left shoulder continues to separate it doesn't matter how talented he may be, he won't be on the field to prove it. The Titans figure with this offseason under his belt and the shoulder surgery in January Locker will be able to continue to improve as their quarterback.
The team still looks at Johnson as their number 1 running back, and they should. He is still dangerous and capable of breaking one at any time if he gets into the open field. With additions to the offensive line Johnson can go for 1,400 yards on the ground. Yet the team boosted this position in the offseason by acquiring Shonn Greene. Both of these guys were feature backs last season, carrying the ball an even 276, but they won't both get that many this year. Munchak has said he will follow the hot hand but I don't believe him. Both back run the ball differently and he would be wise to capitalize on each of their strengths by playing situational football.
The receivers have a new coach and a new face on the roster that will certainly help out. If Keny Britt can get healthy and stay on the field everyone knows what he can do. However the unit also has Washington and Walter from the Texans. 2nd year man Kendall Wright will also likely improve on his team high 64 catches from a season ago.
Of all the changes that happened this season no unit was affected more than the offensive line. The team signed stud guard Levitre from the Bills and also signed Warmcak, from Alabama, to take the other guard spot. Through free agency the team also added Rob Turner and Chris Spencer. Most teams seem to be building from the inside out in recent years. It's hard to produce on either side of the ball no matter how skilled your other players are if you have a weak line. The Titans knew that to have any real chance at rebuilding it had to begin here.
Last season the defense gave up a franchise record for points. One team always has o hold the record, but you never want it to be you. Right now it belongs to the 2012 Titans and I don't expect that to change after this season. The addition of DC Williams will certainly mean the defense won't be so passive. He is known for sending his guys after the quarterback.
The defensive line is average at best. Last season the two ends only managed 12.5 sacks between them. After paying $35 million to Wimbley last offseason he had better produce now that the new coaching staff is here.
Linebacker is a much better spot for the team. With McCarthy in the middle the team will be able to produce. His only problem is getting injuries that keep him off the field. He was voted the captain of the defense for a reason.
The star of the secondary is Michael Griffith. He has the talent and football IQ to make tremendous plays at times, but he can also show inconsistency. It seems as if he has mental lapses during plays. The team went and added more talent in the hopes that not only will the unit get better because of their play but that it will also help improve his. Benard Pollard came over from the Ravens and he will provide the boost to their physical presence. He was known for sticking his helmet in and blowing plays up while he was with Baltimore. McCourty is also coming off of a solid season and will hopefully turn in an even better 2013 campaign.
One thing is for sure, no one can accuse the Titans of accepting mediocrity. They knew that they needed to make drastic changes and that is exactly what they did during the offseason. The Titans will improve on their 6-10 record and there will be some games that they lose where they look pretty good, but this is still a rebuilding year. While a lot of new faces always get us excited and hopeful we also need to remember that they have to learn to play not only together, but in a new system.