Jevon Kearse made his first appearence to Titan’s camp since 2003 on Sunday, and apparently he likes what he sees. The last season Kearse wore a Titan’s uniform, Tennessee was a playoff winning team a year removed from an AFC title appearance, and Jevon was averaging over 10 sacks a year when healthy. Early in Kearse’s second tour of duty he thinks the Titan’s defense has a chance to mirror the successes of his first stint. A few of his key teammates agree:
Kearse, sees a group that could rival the defenses Tennessee had in 1999 and 2000 when the Titans went 26-6.
“It’s one thing talking about it,” Kearse said. “Until you get on the field and be about it, that’s another thing.”
The Titans fed off embarrassment a year ago, upset at giving up more yards than any other defense in 2006. The emotion they’re dealing with now is complacency, which they are fighting by trying to set their sights higher. Being among the best is not good enough now.
Haynesworth, coming off his first All-Pro season, said linebacker Keith Bulluck wants the Titans to be No. 1. It’s a goal he embraces as well.
“We’ve got four more spots we got to move up. We went up (27) spots the year before that. Now it’s time to go up four more and be the No. 1 defense,” Haynesworth said. (AP)
When Kearse moved to Philadelphia, joining a team that had made three strait NFC championships, the Titans saw a period of regression. In a slight turn of fortune, Kearse’s productivity and health have slipped over the last two years as the Titans have made progress with a squad that has steadily improved, now coming off of the their first postseason apperance since Kearse’s initial departure.
No one is expecting Kearse to reach double-digit sacks this year, but some steady production could truly help offset the voids left by Travis LaBoy and Antwan Odom when they left in free agency. If the Titan’s front seven come close to repeating their extraordinary 2007 campaign, and the secondary continues to improve and develop like they did last year, the goal of having the highest ranked defense in the league isn’t a far-fetched idea.