Ken Whisenhunt’s second offseason as head coach of the Tennessee Titans is underway, and after the disaster that was 2-14, is singing a different tune as free agency looms this year. In fact, coach Whiz isn’t singing at all. I guess a ten game losing streak is enough to make anyone speechless.
But I digress.
In his inaugural campaign, coach Whisenhunt set a public goal of hosting a playoff game. Now…before we all pile on…let’s be honest. Even if you thought the Titans were not that good, no one saw 2-14 coming. The losses were bad, but not the most alarming development from last season. Most alarming is the fact that Tennessee has the exact same questions this year, as they had entering free agency last year.
Coach Whisenhunt must be having a serious case of Deja vu right now.
Nov 9, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterbacks Jake Locker (10) shakes hands with Zach Mettenberger (7) prior to their game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens won 21-7. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Last season coach Whiz had concerns at the qb position. Jake Locker was returning from a season ending injury, and had been up and down his entire career. Questions about Locker’s ability to stay healthy and lead a franchise lingered. Charlie Whitehurst (free agency) and Zach Mettenberger (draft, 6th round) were brought in as insurance.
Heading into this offseason, questions still linger around the starting qb. This time it’s Mettenberger’s health and ability to lead a franchise coming into question. Like Locker last year, Mettenberger enters the season as the starter by default, after finishing the previous year on injured reserve. He showed flashes last year, but only a sample size. Will Whisenhunt and Company pass up on another qb in this year’s first round?
Last season coach Whiz had concerns at the running back position. Chris Johnson was in New York, and Shonn Greene was coming off an injury plagued – underwhelming season. Bishop Sankey was the first running back selected in the 2014 draft, and was thought to be the every down back. Kansas City Swiss Army Knife Dexter McCluster was also brought in (via free agency) to give the predictable Titans offense of the past some much-needed versatility.
Greene, McCluster, and Sankey were all given opportunities, and no one seemed interested in being the lead dog. The three combined for a season stat line of 1,092 yards, 5 tds, and three fumbles lost. Needless to say this position will have to be re-addressed this offseason as well.
Nov 23, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Justin Hunter (15) gets past Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Bradley Fletcher (24) for a touchdown at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
The only real concern from the receiving corps was the evolution of Justin Hunter, who showed flashes of being a big play receiver his rookie year. The problem was his consistency. Two years into the Hunter experiment and coach Whiz still has no clue what he has with him.
No one does.
So, finding a complimentary receiver to Kendall Wright still needs to be addressed this season.
Coach Whisenhunt knew there would be growing pains defensively when he changed the Titans from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4. The real concern was finding a replacement corner for the departed…and talented Alterraun Verner.
Potential Verner replacements Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Coty Sensabaugh combined for zero interceptions and one sack. And I did say they were cornerbacks right?
Addressing the cornerback position is also strongly encouraged.
It’s as if coach Whiz made no moves at all last season.
While fixing the roster is a daunting task, having to start all over again from scratch may actually be a blessing in disguise for the Titans. Whisenhunt’s job is safe, at least for this year. Tennessee has the number 2 pick in the draft, and approximately 45 million dollars in cap room. So there’s hope.
But after a 2-14 season, coach Whiz’s Deja vu had better end Tuesday at 3:00pm.