Tennessee Titans: AFC South Gets Tougher
By Les Bailey
As the 2016 NFL Free Agency gets underway, the one thing the Tennessee Titans are finding out is the AFC South is going to be much-improved when the new season gets underway in September.
It all started with new Titans general manager, Jon Robinson getting the ball rolling with the impending signing of Philadelphia Eagles running back DeMarco Murray, and Houston Texans all-purpose offensive lineman Ben Jones.
DeMarco Murray is the dominant running back this team badly needs and Ben Jones is that veteran leader this young offensive line needed up the middle.
Jones can play both guard positions and center, and has experience calling protections at the line of scrimmage.
Most fans know that Murray was a bust in Philly because he was being asked to skirt the line to find a running lane, and that just isn’t his bag. DeMarco Murray is a down-hill runner who likes to run the ball up the middle.
As the Titans are improving, the Houston Texans have stepped up today and have added two big pieces to the puzzle with the signing of Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler and Miami Dolphins running back, Lamar Miller.
We all knew the Texans were just a franchise quarterback away from being a legitimate contender. They have now replaced the loss of Arian Foster, and with DeAndre Hopkins and the leagues third best defense, Houston can challenge for the division and could well become a factor in the playoffs.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have made some moves that will also make this division a tough out in the near future.
It appeared Blake Bortles and the Jags got much better down the stretch in 2015, but had some gaping holes on defense.
Not only have they bolstered the running game by adding Chris Ivory from the New York Jets to help T.J. Yeldon out, they added some nice pieces on the defensive side of the ball as well.
With more Salary Cap space than anyone in the league, the Jags have raided the Super Bowl Champs and their cap problems to bring in Malik Jackson. They will undoubtedly return their number one draft pick, Dante Fowler Jr in 2016.
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Fowler will have an opportunity to work with some veterans now and should have time to hone his pass-rushing skills and will be ready to terrorize Andrew Luck, Brock Osweiler and Marcus Mariota twice a year.
Only the Indianapolis Colts have been somewhat quiet in this run-up to Free Agency.
If the Tennessee Titans want to make headway in this division in the near future, they will need a few more pieces as free agency unfolds, and they will need to add some horsepower when the draft rolls around at the end of next month.
Next: What The Tennessee Titans really gave for DeMarco Murray
We saw DeMarco Murray set records in Dallas back in 2014, but he was able to run behind the best O-Line in football, and was taking hand-offs from Tony Romo playing under center.
For him to find success in Music City, head coach Mike Mularkey will need to solidify the offensive line, and Marcus Mariota will need to play under center more.
If Mariota can turn his back to the defense to hand Murray the ball, the running game will open up, and the play-action will deliver.