The drafting of quarterback Marcus Mariota has brought hope to an almost forgotten franchise in Music City, and I believe with a couple of lucky bounces of the pigskin, the Tennessee Titans could have a winning season in 2015.
Along with their franchise quarterback, the Titans also made some other nice moves in the draft, and free agency that along with the easier schedule afforded a 2-14 team, where an improved team could flourish.
The defense under new Assistant Head Coach/Defense Dick LeBeau has the potential to be one of the better ones in the AFC, and if the offense can move the football, the Titans can win some games this fall.
The following are 5 reasons I think the Tennessee Titans can have a winning season in 2015:
1. Marcus Mariota:
If the Titans can get Marcus Mariota signed, and in camp on time, I think he is the real deal. He studies hard, and is willing to work on things he and head coach Whisenhunt knows will be a problem in his transition to the NFL.
The staff, and coach Whisenhunt can make the transition easier by designing a game plan where they can use his 4.52 speed to overcome his lack of knowledge. Former Washington Redskins coach, Mike Shanahan was able to get Robert Griffin III through his first season with some success.
Ken Whisenhunt should be able to do the same for Mariota, especially if he commits to, and has some success with the running game.
While I don’t see a trip to Super Bowl L on the Titans schedule, and wins against the Colts and Patriots are a reach, I think the remainder of the schedule is game on.
2. Dorial Green-Beckham:
I’m in no way down-playing the potential from the rest of the receiving corp, but if the second-round pick out of Oklahoma/Missouri can stay out of trouble, and learn the NFL game, he could be something special for this team.
Beckham is already being compared to Marvin Harrison, and Megatron(Calvin Johnson), and if he can turn in a 70% body of work in 2015, he could be the go-to guy for Mariota, and/or Zach Mettenberger on third down and in the Red Zone. He can almost put punter, Brett Kern out of business.
The big problem in 2014 was the offense couldn’t convert a third down, and the defense couldn’t get off the field on third down. Dorial Green-Beckham can solve the offense side of this equation, the defense will need to do their job.
3. David Cobb
Success with the new quarterback will rely heavily on the ability to run the football, and once again, I don’t want to take away from the vets, but if David Cobb can pound the ball between the tackles, the rest of the running game will work.
Bishop Sankey finally has a full off-season under his belt, and should show vast improvement over an anemic 2014 season. David Cobb should push the 2014 draftee to success in 2015.
If Cobb can move the ball between the tackles as advertised, moving the chains on third down should become the norm.
4. Brian Orakpo
Even if the Redskins free agent has trouble staying 100% healthy, he brings a vast knowlege of Dick LeBeau’s 3-4 defense to this team. I can almost guarantee the pass-rush will be better this year. Even Tom Brady is mortal if always on the run.
If the University of Texas grad can stay healthy and bring his A-Game every week, this defense could get very good, very quickly.
5. 2015 Schedule
Although the preseason schedule will give us a chance to see out team in action, the first three games prior to the “Bye Week” are crucil to the 2015 success of the Tennessee Titans.
I have said in other blogs, that if the Titans can get to the break at 2-1, they have a shot at an 8-8 season. I know that that doesn’t constitute a winning season, but if we can get a lucky bounce of the pigskin(see above), there is a chance to get that ninth game.
Weeks six and eight are key to the season. The Miami Dolphins and game one with the division rivals, Houston Texans. These dates are key because Mariota will have to face two of the leagues best pass rushers in Ndamakong Suh and J.J. Watt. If he can stay healthy, he can win the Miami game, and I look for a split with the Texans this year.
If the Titans can steam-roll the Jaguars and split with the Texans, that would be give them .500 in the division if they loose twice to the Colts.
They play the AFC East and NFC South in non-divisional games this year. That means Falcons, Saints, Panthers and Buccaneers in the NFC and Patriots, Jets Dolphins and Bills. The Jets and Bills, like the Texans, have quarterback issues, both on defense.
The Oakland Raiders in week 12 is the only goofy part of the schedule. The Raiders have to travel East, and this helps the Titans, playing them at home.
The lucky bounce of the pigskin and a possible winning season would come if the Titans can split with the Colts. Not likely, but who know how that pigskin can bounce?