Dec 17, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans safety Michael Griffin (33) celebrates after intercepting a pass in the end zone against the New York Jets during the second half at LP Field. The Titans beat the Jets 14-10. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
The Tennessee Titans struggled with an up and down season in 2012. There was a lot going on between starting rookie quarterback Jake Locker, Locker then getting hurt, losing the entire offensive line (except Roos), firing Chris Palmer, and getting obliterated by opposing tight ends regardless of their ability. It was a roller coaster ride of highs and lows, but for the main part the lows were the norm as well as overwhelming.
Many are of the mind that we have the personnel and talent on the team, and that the play on the field was mainly the result of having a poor coaching staff in place. Questionable play calling, lack of adjustments, and overall schemes were definitly an issue. The coaching staff changes have been made for better or worse, so now the only way to strengthen the team going forward is through the players.
There were a good number of players on the team that either under performed, or are just not that good to begin with. Over the next few weeks the talented staff here at Titan Sized will be delivering analysis on the key players that the Titans should be targeting in both free agency as well as the draft. There are three main positions that the Titans have glaring holes at:
The Titans tried Babineaux, Al Alfalava, and Robert Johnson at safety as well as moved Griffin back and forth from free to strong safety in an effort to find a working combination. Nothing worked. Perhaps the biggest weakness or area of need for the team is strong safety.
2) Offensive Line (Interior)
It took the offensive line 6 weeks to be able to create Chris Johnson’s first hole to run through, and right when they began to figure it out, the injuries began. The Titans finished the season with guys off the street in front of Jake Locker and Chris Johnson, giving neither any time. A new center/guard is BADLY needed this time around and can’t be ignored.
3) Defensive End
Apparently the sack numbers were actually up this year from the year before, but this can be misleading. Most of the Titans pressure came off of blitzes and rushing outside line backers. The better quarterbacks in the league will make a team pay for trying this too often. The Titans need to get better consistent pressure form their down lineman on the edges. A new edge rusher that can play with his hand in the dirt would be a boon to a defense that gave up record points for the franchise.
Beyond these needs the Titans could help themselves by adding depth at key positions.
The injuries to Colin McCarthy left the Titans in a bad spot at linebacker. Akeem Ayers has progressed incredibly well and rookie Zach Brown may very well be the Titans rookie of the year. IF McCarthy can stay healthy, then this linebacker group could be stellar in 2013. The problem is the immediate drop-off to the backups.
The staff was counting on Tommie Campbell being able to play outside and having Verner move back in to nickel much like when Finnegan was here. Campbell couldn’t get right, and if he’s not going to step up beyond a special teams roll, then another corner could be a huge help, although Coty Sensabaugh did began to catch on towards the end of the year.
Honestly I think the Titans are okay here, but if they decide to let Sen’ Derrick Marks walk, then they will need to fill his absence. Fresh, big talent in the middle is always a welcome addition on the defensive line. Jurrell Casey could prove to be a powerhouse next year with a healthy elbow and rookie Mike Martin came on strong towards the end of the year.
Javon Ringer hasn’t panned out and Jamie Harper isn’t the power back we hoped he would be. Look for the Titans to bring in a veteran or draft a late round guy to help relieve CJ and pick up the short yards.
Personally I don’t think this wide receiver group needs much help , but Kenny Britt showing up in the news last week didn’t help anyone’s perception of his dependability. If the Titans are worried about Kenny having both his head and his knees right, a free agent pick up at receiver may add nice depth at a traditionally thin spot for the Titans.
Whether the Titans address these positions in free agency or through the draft, they do need to be addressed. You can never fill all the holes on your team, but the Titans lack of filling their “needs” last year, has added double pressure on that front this year. Mike Munchack and Ruston Webster will have to be active early in free agency and then supplement through the draft afterwards.
Be sure to stay tuned here at Titans Sized for up to date analysis of all these positions, as well as the players to fill them.
What do you think the Titans biggest need is?