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.
Today, we will look at the three cornerbacks on the roster behind Jason McCourty—Perrish Cox, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, and Coty Sensabaugh. Cox, the only newcomer of the group, is slated to start opposite Jason McCourty, barring a giant upset. This should not be a surprise to anyone after the debacle at cornerback last season. He got a good amount of hype during OTA’s, but over the next couple of weeks, we will truly find out how much of an upgrade he is. In San Francisco last season, Cox had 5 interceptions. He is Alterraun Verner-like in a way, always being around the ball. Most people that follow the 49ers closely say that he played like a Pro Bowler for the first half of the season, but his play declined during the second half. Coach Whisenhunt mentioned that this could have been due to injuries, the situation taking place inside the building for that organization, or something else. That being said, it makes things a little less clear going into camp—which Perrish Cox will we see? Honestly, even average cornerback play out of Cox would be a pretty big upgrade over last year.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson was simply atrocious last season. He was picked on by the opposing quarterback just about every week, until he got injured and missed the remainder of the season. The Titans placed a lot of pressure on him by letting Verner walk in free agency and not at the very least bringing in a veteran to compete. Yes, Coty Sensabaugh was there to compete, but regardless, both of them were going to see significant time, because the "loser" would still be kicked inside as the nickelback. It was clear in the pre-season that Wreh-Wilson was not ready to start on the perimeter. To make things worse, the pass rush was non-existent, causing Ray Horton to call a number of extravagant blitzes, putting him in very compromising situations. While Wreh-Wilson had just about as poor of a season as one could imagine last year, there is still some hope. He is a physical corner, who is more than willing to come up and stick his neck out in the run game—his style may be more suited for the slot, which is a job that he will have a chance to compete for. Also, Dick Lebeau may bring a slight change in philoshophy for the defensive backs—the team may play more zone coverage this year, which also fits his style more. The bottomline is that there are very few simply untalented players in the NFL, and a lot depends on the situation and coaching. Blidi-Wreh Wilson’s case is no different.
Coty Sensabaugh had a very quiet season. He did not look very good in the pre-season on the outside last year. He is typically pretty solid on the inside. That being said, he is going to be facing another competition this year with Blidi-Wreh Wilson. Again, the situation and overall philosophy may not have suited his skillset well last year. The battle for the inside job will be a true coin toss. No matter who wins, we can only hope that at least one of these two improved, and they actually take the job, unlike last summer, which was disastrous for both Sensabaugh and Wreh-Wilson.
The Titans definitely appear deeper at cornerback this year, and look better at the top with McCourty and Cox. That being said, the inside job makes me somewhat nervous. Part of me says that the corners were just in a bad situation last year—even Jason McCourty struggled. With a hopefully improved pass rush and Dick Lebeau now running the defense, I am expecting improvement, but we will get a clearer view over the course of these next few weeks.