Zach Brown Making Strong Case to Be Starter for Tennessee Titans

Chad MintonCorrespondent IApril 12, 2017

Last night there was a young Tennessee Titans player who gave Mike Munchak a reason to make him a starter, and this time it wasn't Jake Locker.

With each play that rookie linebacker Zach Brown is a part of during this preseason, he makes his case stronger and stronger to become a starter along with Colin McCarthy and Akeem Ayers.

Brown finished with six tackles to lead the team in its win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including a few impressive tackles on the hefty LeGarrette Blount.

If Brown ends up being a Week 1 starter, then the Titans will be starting three linebackers with a combined two years of experience.

Brown is currently battling primarily with veteran Will Witherspoon for a starting role at weak-side linebacker, and it's safe to say that he's won the battle so far.

Much like what Locker is facing with Matt Hasselbeck, Brown has to prove to the coaching staff that he brings more to the table than a steady veteran.

Many critics have accused Brown of being soft, and others have also questioned his heart.

Those are two criticisms that a football player never wants to hear, and Brown is playing with a chip on his shoulder. Players who play with chips on their shoulders are usually the players you want patrolling for you on defense.

That drive to prove the critics wrong is producing what has to be very pleasing results for Munchak and Tennessee defensive coordinator Jerry Gray.

From the second Brown showed up for minicamp, he's made sure no one questions his heart. He absorbed the playbook quickly and had a very solid minicamp.

Speed is the primary thing that Brown brings to the table, and at times the aging Witherspoon looks a step or two behind last season.

Having an athletic guy like Brown in will do wonders for the Titans when it comes to covering opposing tight ends with whom Witherspoon frankly can't match up.

The Titans are going to need a ton of speed in coverage when they take on a couple teams with athletic tight ends to start the season.

Virtually all of the Titans' 2011 losses had a common theme: They couldn't stop the tight end.

Brown has the ability to drastically improve the Titans defense in that area. He will get plenty more opportunities to further solidify the starting role that should already be his, and his next opportunity will come against the Arizona Cardinals at LP Field.