After one of the most exciting and significant off-seasons in Tennessee Titans’ history, training camp is finally around the corner. Between positional competitions, coaching changes, and several new pieces, there are a number of interesting storylines that all Titans fans should keep an eye on this summer. The plan is took examine a new one each day until camp arrives.
In the post about Brian Orakpo last week, I argued that Brian Orakpo very well could be the most important player on the defense. If it’s not Orakpo, then it is definitely Brown. It is hard to get a read on Zach Brown because he has been so up and down in his career. He looked like the next Navorro Bowman as rookie, displaying his playmaking ability, coverage skills, and speed. However, 2013 was a disaster. Mike Munchak and company certainly did their part in mismanaging him, but he apparently displayed a poor attitude, and was eventually benched. After a rocky start with the new regime, it appeared as if he was starting to buy in, but he was injured on the first series of the season opener. This has left him as a complete wild card going into this season. If he returns to his rookie form, than he and Avery Williamson will be a great duo inside, and the problems with coverage in the middle of the field and run defense would definitely be aided. If not, there will not be much of a difference between this year and last on the inside, considering the lack of depth behind the starters.
Like Avery Williamson, Brown put on some weight during his off-season training in hopes of not being pushed around as much. If he can keep his speed, I would not be surprised if he returned to his rookie form, or at least somewhere close. While Dick Lebeau is essentially the new defensive coordinator, Ray Horton still has a voice in that room. Before Brown went down, he seemed like the perfect fit for Ray Horton’s defense. As a rookie especially, Zach Brown showed some of the same traits as Daryl Washington from Arizona, and I was expecting Horton to utilize his speed in the same fashion.
Inside linebacker is one of several positions on this roster that is a big question mark. It seems like every day, the overall theme when looking at the state of a position on the Titans roster is, "we’ll just have to hope, wait, and see," and today is no different. It has been so long since we have seen Zach Brown play, and his two full seasons were complete opposites. Brown has a chance to be a much needed playmaker on the defense, but we are not going to find out if he has returned to form until August.