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When the Titans shift to their nickel defense package, strong-side linebacker Akeem Ayers moves down closer to the line of scrimmage to rush the passer and Colin McCarthy typically comes off the field in favor of another defensive back. Ayers isn't particularly adept in coverage at this point in his career.
McCarthy showed himself to be strong in coverage during his rookie year but wasn't very keen on stuffing the run consistently. In 2012, McCarthy struggled with injury, regressed mightily and finished the year ranked 49th of 52 inside linebackers on PFF.
On the weak side, Zach Brown showed a lot of promise after taking over as the starter early in the year. He graded out as a solid coverage linebacker but struggled in run defense. So while not ideal on an every-down basis, the run game isn't necessarily supposed to be his strong suit.
What the Titans need is someone who is capable of providing the versatility that soon-to-be free agent Will Witherspoon once did. Someone who can come in to take over for McCarthy on run defense situations and still play as the other linebacker in nickel situations.
Through the draft the best option for that fix is Alec Ogletree, but he seems to have a lot of issues off the field, and with the current situation with Kenny Britt the Titans may have already taken him off the board.
Through free agency, Kaluka Maiava grades out positively in both rush and pass defense for 2012 on a limited snap count, and Leroy Hill is another option capable of filling the roll.
Either way the position needs to be addressed or the team's defense could still be susceptible to back-breaking third-down conversion plays.