Following up a 9-7 season with a 6-10 campaign doesn’t really instill confidence that the team is headed in the right direction. The best way to ease your fan base’s fears would be to look at your team’s weaknesses and improve them. Simple enough? Apparently not for the Titans. Bringing in Shonn Greene to spell Chris Johnson seems like a silly move. Yes Johnson went through periods where he wasn’t elite in 2012 but he’s also a horse and adding another one will only cause negativity between the two star backs. Then the team let Jared Cook leave and signed Delanie Walker in his place. Downgrading a position that the QB likes to use isn’t a great idea either. Lastly, bringing in Ryan Fitzpatrick instead of retaining Hasselbeck reeks of a lack of confidence in Jake Locker. Keeping Hasselbeck around could have been explained as a vet sticking around to help out the kid, and the fact that they’ve spent 2 years together already makes sense. However, Ryan Fitzpatrick is a possible replacement and that’s not going to help Locker after two underwhelming seasons.
RB – Shonn Greene
TE – Delanie Walker
S – Bernard Pollard
TE – Jared Cook
QB – Jeff Hasselbeck
DT – Sen’Derrick Marks
Chris Johnson is obviously the most talented player on the team but he’ll have some “help” from Shonn Greene this year. If anything it will provide insurance in the case that one gets hurt but surely that money could have been spent elsewhere.
Kenny Britt keeps looking like he could become a star. He’s got a ton of talent, and hasn’t even been arrested in at least 2 weeks. He just doesn’t seem like a leader who can carry a unit. Kendall Wright is expected to step up large in is second season, but just sprained his knee and may not make opening week. Delanie Walker won’t be as effective as Jared Cook was.
Jake Locker knows that with the release of Hasselbeck, this is his team…. sort of… unless they decide to go with Fitzpatrick. He hasn’t impressed anyone yet but they need to give him a real shot to be “the guy” and this isn’t it.
The Titans defense in 2012 was an absolute disaster, reminding no one of the Fisher-era defenses at all. They were equally bad against the run as they were against the pass. The front 7 is a young group that should be a little better in 2013. Colin McCarthy could be a game changer if he stays healthy.
The secondary is better than it looked last year boasting talent like Jason McCourty and Michael Griffin. They’ve added Bernard Pollard and George Wilson who will only make this a more physical and dangerous unit. They won’t be top 10 in the league in passing defense but could be closer to the middle of the league now.
Rob Bironas sticks around as yet another old-but-still-effective kicker. He’s not going to be near the league lead in points or accuracy but he’ll do a fine job. Punter Brett Kern was solid in 2012 and should be expected to keep it up. Marc Mariani and Darius Reynaud will compete for the return duties.
Mike Munchak certainly isn’t Jeff Fisher. That’s not fair to him but it’s the truth. When you look further and realize that the Titans have a fair amount of natural talent on their roster it’s even more disappointing. He likes to take chances but if he can’t get his star players to deliver at crunch time he needs to stop.
The Studs: Chris Johnson has been a top 10 back during his career and is hoping the arrival of Greene won’t hurt that.
The Workers: Kenny Britt used to be a stud but with too little consistency he’s slipping fast. Greene might be a RB3 or flex option.
Sleeper: Kendall Wright for the second year in a row is the most likely breakout candidate. If he gets back from his injury quickly he could become a quality target.
Overrated: Delanie Walker isn’t Jared Cook.
Should Win: NY Jets, Jacksonville
Favourite: Kansas City, @Oakland, Arizona, @Jacksonville
Toss-Up: San Diego
In Tough: @Pittsburgh, @Houston, @Seattle, San Francisco, @St Louis, Indianapolis, @Indianapolis, @Denver, Houston.
Thoughts: Starting the year in Pittsburgh and Houston is not promising but then again neither is their schedule. Luckily they can play Jacksonville twice and get to play the Jets and Chiefs at home but other than that there’s not a lot to get excited about. It’s going to be another long year for the Titans.