Tennessee Titans (7-9)
The Tennessee Titans season ended 1 win from possibly making a playoff appearance, but we’ll get to that in a second. The Titans started off the year 3-1 with their only loss coming in OT to the Houston Texans, but then a murderer’s row of games against the Chiefs, Seahawks, and 49ers, combined with another injury to Jake Locker, had them crashing back down to earth quickly.
Most people expected them to lose those 3 games, so that wasn’t the biggest issue. The death blow in my mind was week 10 against the 0-8 Jacksonville Jaguars. They were 4-4, at home, and coming off a win against a pesky Rams team. However, an injury to Jake Locker, combined with probably their worst game played this year, handed the Jaguars their 1st win of the year.
Even though they beat the Raiders in week 12 to technically be the last playoff team, before losing 3 in a row again, the game at home against a winless team will be the game that may have broken the camel’s back.
Unlike last year, the Titans were arguably the worst defense in the league. They made some good strides, especially against the pass, but their offense was still at time dreadful to watch. They scored 22.6 points per game, 19th in the league, and gave up 23.8 points per game, 16th in the league. They were 22nd in the league in total yards per game with 336.9 yards per game and 14th in the league with yards allowed with 337.9 yards per game. Players like linebacker, Akeem Ayers, seemed to regress a bit after looking like he was set for a big breakout year.
The addition of Safety Bernard Pollard was a huge boost to the attitude and the physical style that the Titans played with more of this year. He is a free agent and a Munchak guy, so it would really hurt the defense’s identity to lose him. The other 2 big time players on defense this year was All-Pro Cornerback Alterraun Verner and Defensive Tackle Jurrell Casey. While Casey will be back next year, in another position, moving from a 4-3 DT to 3-4 DE, Verner is a free agent and may be facing the franchise tag being slapped on him.
Both sides of the ball will look very different next year as the Titans fired Coach Mike Munchak and hire Ken Whisenhunt, who, in recent memory, took the Arizona Cardinals to a Superbowl before losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He will call all the plays on offense and hopes to install a QB friendly game plan for either the incumbent starter Jake Locker, or a new guy being brought in.
On the defensive side of the ball, Ray Horton, who was the defensive coordinator for the Browns last year will bring an aggressive 3-4 defense to Tennessee, a huge change from the 4-3 defense they have ran since what feel like forever. Another issue that Coach Whisenhunt must deal with quickly is what TE Delanie Walker brought up. He said there was some negativity from certain players in the locker room, people who didn’t care that they were losing. “Cancers” was the word used by Delanie. He said it started out with 1 or 2, and grew as the year went on. Two of the people who were being “speculated” as the cancers were WR Kenny Britt and star, RB Chris Johnson. It has been already rumored, and likely true, that neither player will be back on the roster next year.
The Titans are 1 of those teams that has talent, but no identity. They started to develop that on defense before wearing down late in the year. They need to get some more weapons to go on offense with WRs Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter. With new coaches on both sides of the ball, it may be the kick in the butt that they need. One thing is for sure, next year will not be your same ole Tennessee Titans.
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