In order for the Titans to improve on their 9-7 record, they must make the play of both lines their #1 concern heading into next season.
Let’s start with the offensive line. While the offensive line was more than adequate at protecting the passer it seemed to be out matched when blocking in the running game. From the start of the season there was no consistency in opening up holes for CJ or Javon Ringer. If one had to try and pin point where the weak links are it would probably be safe to say that the main weakness in our O-line lies right up front with C Eugene Amano and LG Leroy Harris and some may even say RG Jake Scott. Well, Scott is a FA this year and although I don’t believe his play has been pro bowl worthy, he has done a good job while suiting up for the Titans. Eugene Amano on the other hand has just been outclassed. I don’t like saying this because by all accounts he’s a solid locker room guy but I think the Titans made a mistake when they gave him a 5 year 26.25 mil deal in 2010. Harris has had high expectations placed on him since he came out of college and he just hasn’t quite made it to the mountain top. Our tackles are solid with Michael Roos and Dave Stewart and will be for the next 5 years easily if they stay healthy.
As an offense the Titans averaged 89.1 yards rushing which ranked 31st in the league. Absolutely unacceptable when you have arguably the best RB in the league in CJ. The solution, either through free agency or the draft we must replace Amano and probably Harris which means keeping Jake Scott is important and should happen but even that will be difficult because Scott may be too expensive for the Titans to sign. One thing is for sure, 31st in the league in rushing simply won’t cut it. I do believe that with an offseason in Palmer’s offense and added film work that will help identify and pin point certain plays that were effective last year and plays that may be effective this up coming season that the line will play better. Make no mistake though, upgrades in talent and production are needed for next year.
A few free agents that the Titans could identify that could help along the O-line could be Jeff Saturday(IND), Nick Hardwick(SD), Scott Wells(GB) and Chris Myers(HOU) at center and Carl Nicks(NO) and Ben Grubb(BAL) at guard. At center Myers has the biggest upside and will be the most expensive, Hardwick although not what he used to be is still very smart and can handle his own. Scott Wells is perfect for the packers and would probably stay if they make a competitive offer. Saturday is 36 and will be 37 before the season starts and any team looking to get better on the O-line rarely signs a 37 year old. At guard Nicks is premier and will surely be expensive. Grubbs is very good and the Ravens just got their O-line settled down so they will look to keep him.
Leading up to the draft we will get a better idea of how the O-line talent will shake out but right now the consensus on the top two guards seems to Dave DeCastro out of Stanford and Cordy Glenn out of Georgia. Are they good enough to warrant a top 20 pick? We’ll see.
While the Titans do have one of the better offensive lines in the NFL the running lanes just were not there for the running backs last year. Pair that with Kenny Britt getting hurt and it was tough sledding on offense for most of the season.
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