The Titans linebackers came into the season with high expectations; a new MLB that had beaten out a very good Colin McCarthy, and two second round picks that looked like they knew how to get to the QB. Things change quickly in the NFL, and what looked like a strength has really cost them a few games. Is it time for the Titans to look at a few FA and draft options?
Ruston Webster had a short comment on the linebackers, but has seemed to be disappointed for most of the year.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Ruston Webster on <a href="https://twitter.com/Midday180">@Midday180</a>: "Would have liked to have seen more production from linebackers." <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Titans&src=hash">#Titans</a></p>— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) <a href="https://twitter.com/PaulKuharskyNFL/statuses/416663226961494017">December 27, 2013</a></blockquote>
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It isn't a secret that the Titans are looking at MLB in this draft, but should Tennessee look at a SLB to replace Akeem Ayers? For the most part, Ayers as a standup player has been disappointing, and his conversion to a semi-defensive end is really leaving a lot to be desired. It looks as though his best position is likely a 3-4 OLB, but if the Titans don't find a coach that runs that style of defense next year, then what should the Titans do with him?
At WLB, Zach Brown looked like a keeper in the first three games but really hasn't stood out since. In fact, the second year player from UNC was so mediocre that Munchak and company pulled him in a game they NEEDED to win to keep their jobs. Were the first three weeks of the season a mirage, or is there some issue with Brown that we don't know about. Maybe there is some injury keeping him from being the effective OLB fans saw. Maybe he is just hitting his sophomore slump. Either way, the Titans need to figure out whether or not he is their starter this offseason, and if not they should be able to move him for a good pick given his past production.
As for the MLB position, well whose job is it to lose? Fokou is under contract next year, but it looks like the Titans aren't sold on him. When Colin McCarthy comes in he looks confused, out of sync and too slow which doesn't really inspire confidence. So are the Titans going to look outside for a new MLB, or are these cheap solutions better than going out and spending money on a player that only provides a minor upgrade?
Something to watch in the game against the Houston Texans this week, is just how much time each LB plays. Is Gooden going to get significant reps again? Will McCarthy and Fokou split time? Will the Titans show a 5-2/4-2 look on defense to minimize the impact of their linebackers? This game won't mean anything in the standings, but it will make a difference on draft day both in pick position and in areas of need.