Tennessee Titans training camp starts at the end of the week! Leading up to camp,
Xanpham Churchill and I are going to be breaking down all of the positions on the roster. We continue with the running backs.
All players have 2013 stats listed, if applicable.
Sankey can run inside the tackles, outside the tackles and catch the ball out of the backfield. Ruston Webster has called Sankey a three-down back. It will be really interesting to see how the Titans use him early on. He should get the lion's share of the work with Shonn Greene spelling him at times.
Dexter McCluster- 53 catches, 511 yards, 2 TDs (with KC)
While McCluster is listed as a running back, he will end up with a stat line that looks more like that of a receiver. Danny Woodhead had a really good year for Ken Whisenhunt last year in San Diego. McCluster is going to play that role for the Titans this year, and I think he will be better at it.
Shonn Greene- 77 carries, 295 yards, 4 TDs
The first priority for Greene is getting healthy. He never got it going last year after hurting his knee in the first game of the season. He came back and played some, but his knee clearly wasn't right. That is why he had to have another procedure on it this offseason.
The Titans added him to compliment Chris Johnson. What will his role be now that CJ is gone? That is the question going forward, and if Greene isn't able to answer it in camp, he could be looking for work.
Jackie Battle 36 carries, 142 yards, 1 TD
It is fun to watch Battle run at times, but let's be honest, if he is a major part of the Titans plans in the run game, they are in big trouble.
There probably isn't room for both Mooney and Battle on this roster. Mooney has shown valuable versatility in his time with the Titans. He can carry the ball in a pinch and is good as a fullback. I will be rooting hard for him to make this roster.
James is an undrafted rookie from TCU. He had an up and down college career. He was the team's leading rusher in 2011, but he was injured in 2012 and ended up being kicked off the team in 2013. It will be an uphill battle for James to break camp as a member of the Titans.
To say that Andrews was productive in college is an understatement. He finished his senior year at Western Kentucky with 1,730 yards and 18(!) touchdowns. Those numbers jump off the page. I can't wait to see if he can make some noise in training camp.
Well, it seems like there is a name missing from the list that has been the focal point of the Titans offense for a long time. Of course that name is Chris Johnson. He was released earlier this offseason and proclaimed that "God don't like ugly." Say what you want about CJ's production (or lack thereof) over the last couple of years, but you could always count on him to be on the field on Sundays. The Titans will miss that.
The Big Question
There is a lot to love about Sankey, but we don't know if he is ready to be the feature back. Shonn Greene can be an effective runner if used correctly, but you don't want him to be THE guy. So the big question is, can this group carry the load? I am fairly confident they can, but I wouldn't bet the mortgage on it.
Best Case Scenario
Sankey comes in and has a very productive year- something like 300 carries for 1,300 yards and McCluster puts up numbers similar to what Woodhead had last year with the Chargers (106 carries for 429 yards and 76 receptions for 605 yards).
Worst Case Scenario
Sankey is slow to pick up the offensive and ineffective. Greene is still bothered by the injured knee and doesn't play any more than he did last season. McCluster isn't able to create the match-up issues that Whiz and company think he will.
There is a lot of potential here. The ceiling is very high, which is good, but the floor is also relatively low, which is scary. I am excited for what this group brings to the table.