“I hear the train a comin’, it’s rolling round the bend...”
Did anyone not get on the Titans hype train this off season?
The Titans have garnered an insane amount of build up this off season, both locally and nationally. Part of this is the natural ebb and flow of fan optimism as the the deficiencies fade from memory while the team acquires shiny new pieces. There’s also the amazing turn around of the team last year under Jon Robinson and Mike Mularkey. The first winning season since 2011. Add in that the Titans have what looks to be their first true franchise quarterback since Steve McNair and the Titans fan base has been lathered up greater than ever before.
Excitement and optimism is part of being a fan. A very large part. But what’s your threshold for a “succesful” season this year? Are you going to be calling for Mularkey’s head if the Titans repeat a 9-7 season?
Reasons For Hope:
- Easier schedule this year. The Titans currently hold the second easiest schedule according to last years win percentages.
- Division is easy. The Jags are the Jags, the Texans will probably transition to a rookie QB at some point in the season and Andrew Luck hasn’t thrown a football since....
- Jon Robinson addressed needs in the off season. The Titans got their shiny new pieces on both sides of the ball, after solidifying the trenches last year. On paper the receiving corp and secondary have been upgraded dramatically.
- The new regime at the top seems to have a system, and more importantly it’s working. The Titans are obviously progressing out of the dumps and what’s going to stop that momentum?
- Marcus Mariota. No explanation needed.
Not So Fast:
- The Titans were unreasonably healthy last year. With almost no major injuries of note, the Titans had a full starting squad in nearly every game last year. That’s almost unheard of. A couple of injuries this year could expose the rosters lack of depth as Jon Robinson has only had two off seasons to rebuild the roster.
- The division may look easy on paper, but the Titans have done poorly within it for years on end. Even last year they only went 2-4 and they haven’t beaten the Colts with or without Luck since 2011. They have the Titans number until proven otherwise. You can rag in the Jags all you want as well, but they always steal an important game from the Titans year after year.
- Most of the new pieces the Titans have brought in to bolster their ailing skill positions are, well....new. Corey Davis, Taywan Taylor, and Adoree Jackson may pan out to be All-Pros, but the reality is they are all three rookies. While you would hope they will be long term starters for the team, the learning curve period may prove detrimental to the Titans overall season record.
- The preseason doesn’t count, but the Titans struggled heavily on both sides of the ball during their 3rd matchup which is considered a dress rehearsal. Understandably they may not have schemed, but you still want to see your players win one on ones.
Overall fans should be excited and yes, there’s plenty of hope. Everything should be considered in context however. This regime is rebuilding and it may take another season to get where they want to be from a roster standpoint. Not making the playoffs would be a let down, regardless of record, especially given the current state of the division. But back to back 9-7 years shouldn’t be considered a step back either.