Tennessee Titans' 6 Biggest Offseason Decisions
There was a ton of optimism heading into the 2012 season for the Tennessee Titans after going 9-7 last season, but that optimism quickly faded with each lopsided loss.
Now it looks that the Titans will get another decent draft pick to try and rebuild this organization which has struggled since 2008.
Here are the biggest decisions the Titans will need to make to get back into contention for next season.
How to Maximize Jake Locker's Potential
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There's no doubt that Jake Locker has had a rough year, but you have to remember that this was basically his rookie season.
The Titans have to decide on how to make this offense fit Locker's style of plays, which is largely outside of the pocket.
Locker's accuracy multiplies when he can make plays with his legs as well.
Until the offensive line improves and stays healthy, we're not going to know exactly how good Locker will be as a pocket passer.
What we do know is that Locker is a great athlete that has a strong arm. The next Titans offensive coordinator has to tailor this offense to benefit Locker's game.
What to Do with Jared Cook?
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Outside of Chris Johnson, Jared Cook is the best offensive weapon the Titans have in their arsenal. They have to figure out a way to hold onto that weapon to keep this offense from turning into what the Jets have right now.
Cook is a rising star in this league, and stars usually call for a hefty contract. The Titans could very well place the franchise tag on him during the offseason.
Since Cook will not get the opportunity to finish out the season strong thanks to a rotator cuff injury, he may not get as much attention on the open market.
If the Titans offense is going to continue to evolve around Locker, then they have to figure out a way to keep Cook around for years to come.
What to Do with 1st-Round Draft Pick?
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You can make an argument for the Titans to address the offensive line or the defensive line in the first round. Both have emerged as weaknesses this season.
However, Tennessee really needs a strong pass-rusher to make an immediate impact on their defense for 2013. Since the Titans continue to lose, they should have a great opportunity at getting a strong defensive end prospect like Bjoern Werner from Florida State.
Damontre Moore might still be a slight possibility as well if the Titans lose to the Jaguars to close out the season.
Hopefully the Titans won't throw everyone another curveball in the first round and address a position that isn't a glaring weakness like last season.
This will be a critical decision for the Titans to make in April for the NFL Draft.
What to Do about the Running Game?
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Chris Johnson is certainly going to be in a Titans uniform for at least a few more seasons, but what about all of his backups?
Both Darius Reynaud and Javon Ringer are due to become free agents at season's end.
Reynaud has done a decent job in the return game, but he hasn't done too much in the running game.
As for Ringer, the obvious issue here is his durability.
Ringer could very well be the answer the Titans are looking for in complementing Johnson, but can the Titans really fork out the money for a guy that has only appeared in 37 games over four seasons?
The Titans should probably cut their losses with Ringer and look to retain Reynaud due to his special teams value.
Should Mike Munchak Get Another Season?
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This decision will be the biggest one to be made by Titans owner Bud Adams once the season comes to an end.
The Titans have definitely gone backwards after surprisingly going 9-7 last season, and several blowout losses don't help Munchak's chances at getting another year.
What does help Munchak's case is that he's so highly regarded in Tennessee. Everything he's done for the organization as a player and an assistant coach could buy him one more season.
What factors into this decision heavily is who is out there if the Titans do choose to let Munchak go. Is there really anyone out there that is a better choice?
Either way, this team has to start showing quick progress if Munchak does make it to 2013 as the head coach. It could be playoffs or bust.
Who to Target in Free Agency?
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The Titans really need to make a big splash in free agency this offseason to get things turned around for 2013.
Osi Umenyiora is a guy that the Titans really need to target and be willing to shell out some cash for. He would instantly turn this defense into a strong unit.
There are plenty of intriguing free agents that could fill some of the voids that the Titans have on their roster other than Umenyiora.
Making a move for a stud defensive back like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie or LaRon Landry would also be strong moves to beef up this defense.
These decisions that the Titans make in free agency will have a big impact on how much longer this "rebuilding" phase lasts for this organization.