Optimistic… But Cautiously So for the Titans in 2011
The Vince Young headache is gone as well as the split locker room with the resignation of Fisher, the youth movement is in full effect, and for the first time in years, we’ll have a defensive system that will actually make teams question what we’re throwing at them.
Even though the reasons to be optimistic are in abundance, there are still the stinging facts you have to face, which make one cautious as to how hopeful they may be for the Titan’s 2011 season.
One of the biggest problems the Titans are faced with this season are the new systems. Gray is attempting to put in a pretty intensive defensive system which, once it’s fully implemented and understood, may resurrect one of the leagues most intimidating defenses. Unfortunately, this is it’s first season and because of the Lockout, coaches and the players are just now getting together and working out the kinks. The system we see this year will be a toned down version of the system we’ll be seeing in the future but I’m still excited for it. I also expect to see a very simple offense, due to lack of experience at the quarterback position and Hasselbeck being introduced to a new system as well the lack of time due to….. ta da! The Lockout.
Another problem the Titans face: The AFC South. The Colts suffered no large changes so we can expect the same tough competition from them as we do every year. The Texans can be one of the most potent offenses in the NFL, they just have one of the most pathetic defenses. They’ve addressed that this off-season with the addition of CB Johnathan Joseph and SS Danieal Manning as well as in the draft with the additions of DE J.J. Watts, OLB Brooks Reed, CB Brandon Harris, and CB Rashad Carmichael. I expect their defense to be a step above what it was next year.
The last problem I’ll address: Our schedule. Have you looked at it? Week 2 Baltimore, Week 4 Pittsburgh, Week 7 Houston, Week 8 Indianapolis, Week 11 Atlanta, Week 12 Tampa Bay, Week 15 Indianapolis, and Week 17 Houston. Those will be eight hard fought games by themselves and would be hard for any team, let alone a team just being put together with new systems, coaches, and players. Our schedule’s no cake walk this year.
But there’s hope yet! I’m very excited for the Titans. We have a new revamped linebacker corps featuring promising rookies Akeem Ayers and Colin McCarthy. We have both our starting corners Cortland Finnegan and Alterraun Verner returning with Michael Griffin staying out there in the backfield. Our defensive line looks to feature two possibly great defensive ends in Derrick Morgan and Jason Jones with some young defensive tackles getting ready to step up. On the other side of the ball we have a herd of young receivers dying to prove themselves, a franchise quarterback to be groomed under a former great, and the leagues most dangerous running back.
We may not be built to win now, but we are most certainly built to win in the future. Playoffs this year? Not likely. But you know what they say, any given Sunday….