After a whirlwind offseason under rookie GM Jon Robinson, the Titans are set to at least take a step or two forward this season. It's probably not time to start thinking playoffs, but I think you can expect small gains to be made in 2016. Here are five reasons why the Titans will improve this season.
1. You can't get much worse
Three wins shouldn't be tough to top. This roster was eaten alive by injuries last season and simply didn't have the depth to replace starters. Marcus Mariota, Derrick Morgan and Jason McCourty were just a few of the names that missed major time last season due to injuries. Jon Robinson has done a great job of adding depth at key areas this offseason, which should stabilize the roster. With an improved offensive line and new weapons in the backfield, the Titans should actually have a rushing attack, which will only make Marcus Mariota that much better.
2. Ben Jones and Jack Conklin
The two biggest needs on this roster coming into the offseason -- interior offensive line and right tackle -- were addressed by the front office. Instead of backing up the Brinks truck for Alex Mack, Robinson chose a more sensible route in Ben Jones. He then got his right tackle by moving up in the first round. While I may not be Jack Conklin's biggest fan, he's a clear upgrade from both Byron Bell and Jeremiah Poutasi.
3. DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry
A lot of the Titans issues in the run game were due to poor play up front, but let's not act like they had a talented backfield either. Antonio Andrews was the best of the bunch, but he's more of a change of pace grinder than a featured back. Now we get to see just how much DeMarco Murray has left in the tank. If he has anything at all, it will be an upgrade from what the Titans had last season. Derrick Henry will likely be eased into a RB2 role, taking some of the load off of DeMarco. The Murray-Henry duo is a massive step forward from the Andrews-Cobb-McCluster-Sankey group.
4. Stability in the secondary
No longer will we see Coty Sensabaugh and Blidi Wreh-Wilson featured as starters in the secondary. Michael Griffin is no more. In steps Rashad Johnson, Kevin Byard, Brice McCain, Antwan Blake, LeShaun Sims and Kalan Reed. That's a massive change. I'm not sure all of the above names make the final cut, but the talent level has been boosted in the secondary for sure.
5. Rishard Matthews
When I think of Marcus Mariota, I think about how good he is in the intermediate portion of the field. When I think about Rishard Matthews, I think about how tough and effective he is over the middle of the field. I think these two are going to jive really well together as Matthews steps into the role that Harry Douglas filled last season. He's got about 30 pounds on Douglas and should offer a much tougher option for Mariota. His ability to win in traffic and make the difficult grabs over the middle matches up perfectly with Marcus Mariota's style.