It seems that every time the Tennessee Titans have had a good season, they have been known for one aspect of their game. Nearly most of the time, that aspect was their running game paired with physical defense. Their most recent successful team came in 2008, when the presence of “Smash and Dash” took hold of the team, and of most of the league.
As of right now, the Titans don’t know who they are. “Smash and Dash” is done, and “Dash” (Chris Johnson) might be done as well. The offensive line isn’t of the mauling variety as they were back in 2008. The defense isn’t as physical, but is getting there. So if the defense is well on its way, then where is the offense heading? Are we a smash mouth running team, or have we become a pass first team?
This past season might have given the fans a glimpse of the future. With a more than capable Matt Hasselbeck being chased down by a bright rookie in Jake Locker, Titans fans felt comfortable about the future, should the Titans become a passing team. Locker provided enough to ensure a solid passing attack for the future, regardless of the offense that the Titans become.
Perhaps our identity is dependent on the play of our heavily scrutinized running back, and the schizophrenic offensive line. CJ was not himself in 2011 and that’s been justified. But the play of the offensive line is a major cause for concern. Too many times CJ was hit in the backfield, and too often were the center and guards forced back on the initial push. Or perhaps the direction of the team might be correlative to the shifting of the NFL to a pass happy league.
More than at any point in the NFL’s history, the league is pass happy. At one point or another, I’m afraid, the Titans (and every other team) will have to conform to the league in order to keep up and keep winning. The weapons are there for the Titans to make the switch now, or in the next few years. Locker has what it takes to right the ship, and if Kenny Britt can stay healthy (a huge “if”) the receivers and tight ends are more than capable of making a smooth transition.
But is Mike Munchak, a hard-nosed mauler, ready to shy away from identifying ourselves as a physical running team? I’m not so sure. What I am sure of is that he’s going to do what it takes to win games. That’s something that we should count on and be thankful for.