The Tennessee Titans continued their aggressive approach on defense this free agency, bringing back cb Brandon Harris on a one year deal. Harris, a 25 year old Miami Florida native, played in 11 games for the Titans after being claimed off waivers last August. He spent his first three seasons in Houston.
At first glance, the signing doesn’t move the needle. After all, Harris only recorded 9 tackles and 3 passes deflected last season. After taking a closer look, bringing back Harris was less about stats, and more about sending a message.
For all their woes, the Titans were actually respectable against the pass last season, finishing 15th in the league. But you don’t bring in a hall of fame coach like Dick Lebeau to be respectable.
In other words…struggling incumbent cb’s Coty Sensabaugh and Blidi Wreh-Wilson have officially been put on notice. Lebeau is essentially saying…
“You two have one foot out the door…and the other on a banana peel.”
Last season neither would step up and claim the starting job to play opposite of Jason McCourty. Through their play, or lack thereof, they continued to leave the door open for the other.
And continued to be picked on by savvy qb’s.
Bringing back Harris sends a message that he’s a “LeBeau” type of player. Hard to imagine any personnel decisions being made on that side of the ball without the legend signing off. LeBeau must have liked something he saw, and has earned the right to be trusted.
The Titans also signed cb Parrish Cox (San Francisco) earlier this month, and he will immediately challenge for the starting job. Harris, Sensabaugh, and Wreh-Wilson will also get plenty of looks when camp begins this summer.
Tennessee’s ideal scenario would be for someone to challenge Cox for the second starting cb job. The loser would likely be moved to the slot…strengthening the nickel package as a result. Shoring up that position could take the Titans from a top 15 pass defense to a top 10 pass defense.
And the more options you can give LeBeau…the better.
Plus, competition is a good thing…in any profession.
If you go to work tomorrow to find a new hire in your department…hired to do your exact same job…then I highly doubt you will be calling out sick any time soon.
Tennessee is sending a message that they’re committed to being better on defense this year. With the moves at linebacker, corner, and safety already in the fold, a monster like USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams is looking more and more like the ultimate cherry on top.