Tennessee Titans Progress Report: Where Things Stand Heading into Week 14

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistDecember 5, 2012

Britt needs to make more big plays.
Britt needs to make more big plays.Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The Tennessee Titans are 4-8 on the 2012 season and stand in third place in the AFC South.

In Week 14, they travel to Lucas Oil Stadium to take on the Indianapolis Colts.

They rank 27th on offense, 27th on defense and 29th overall in DVOA.


Primary Focus for the Rest of 2012

The Titans will almost certainly get a new defense in 2013, so there's not much point in worrying about that side of the ball now.

What does matter is every snap Jake Locker takes.

The sole focus of the Titans needs to be getting Locker reps and time with his receivers. His injury set back his development, and it's past time for him to get in a groove.

Granted, no one knows if players like Jared Cook or Chris Johnson will be back in 2013, but Kendall Wright and Nate Washington will be.

The Titans also need to evaluate Kenny Britt. His antics and injuries have slowed what was a career on the verge of blowing up in a good way.

These last four weeks are critical to the Titans' chances in 2013.

Wins and losses don't matter nearly as much now as development and growth do.


Injury Outlook

David Stewart was lost for the year with a broken leg. Steve Hutchinson and Michael Roos are also battling injuries along the offensive line, but their status is up in the air.

Colin McCarthy is questionable with a head injury.

Kamerion Wimbley has a toe issue and is also questionable.

Robert Johnson was also put on IR.


Player on the Spot

Britt is the offensive regular whose production most affects his future.

Right now, he's basically the least effective wideout in football.

He's coming into the last year of his deal, and while his base salary is manageable ($1.35 million, according to RotoWorld), that also means he can be cut without incurring a huge cap penalty.

Britt has to show he can stay healthy down the stretch, or his future with the team might be jeopardy.

If he wants a big pay day after 2013, he should consider this the start of an extended tryout.

He simply has to give the Titans more than he has in 2012.


Stat to Build On

The Titans offensive line hasn't done a lot right this year, but it's been great in power situations.

The Titans are third-best when running the ball on third and fourth and 1 or 2.

They haven't always been able to open holes, and Locker was sacked repeatedly by the Texans, but on the whole, when the Titans have needed a yard, they've been able to get it.


Stat that Must Improve in 2013

Let's make this easy.

If the 2013 Tennessee Titans are going to be competitive, they can't finish 31st in points allowed.

Now, that's a fairly obvious statement that might as well say, "They can't suck on defense next year if they want to be good."

Specifically, the Titans have to improve their pass rush. After a disastrous 2011 season, they did precious little to upgrade the pass rush other than sign Wimbley. He chipped in a mediocre five sacks, but the Titans are still in the bottom 10 in adjusted sack rate and unlikely to top 30 sacks in 2012.


Coaching Watch

Mike Munchak is in trouble.

He has already fired a coordinator, and while one week is hardly a fair test, the results were just as embarrassing as the rest of the season has been.

There's still a good chance Munchak stays employed, but it's going to take a more inspired finishing kick than the Titans showed off against the Texans.

Two years seems like too short of a leash for a head coach. Let's put his odds of being back at 65 percent.


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