Tennessee Adds More Free Agents, but Did They Get Better?
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Ruston Webster has been surprisingly busy in the first few days of the 2013 spending frenzy that is NFL free agency.
After landing some of the biggest players in the first hour of open signing, he kept it up on Day 2 by securing running back Shonn Greene, defensive tackle Sammie Hill and linebacker Moses Fokou according to direct team press releases.
All the moves should be consider depth moves meant to shore up thin spots in the roster. Fokou and Hill are situational players with solid value for the right roles. Both players can help to add sting to a defense that lacked punch in 2012.
The move to secure Greene was more curious. Webster called him "a nice complement to Chris (Johnson)."
Greene has picked up over 1,000 yards rushing each of the last two seasons with the New York Jets and offers more power and short-yardage prowess than Johnson, but three years and $10 million (according to USA Today) seems like a big price to pay for a situational runner.
For all the hype about Greene's short-yardage prowess, he still graded out below league average, according to the Football Outsiders, though his success rate was ninth-best in the NFL.
While they've owned the headlines, the larger question is how much have the Titans improved because of their moves.
While Andy Levitre was the highest-profile signing, guard is not an impact position. He represents a significant upgrade to the aging Steve Hutchinson, but will that, plus the addition of Greene, be enough to move the chains?
The move to replace Jared Cook with Delanie Walker is at best lateral, and combined with the other two offensive signings, could signal a shift to a more run-based offense for the Titans.
While that could take the pressure off Jake Locker and help mellow the boom-bust effect of Johnson, it's a retro move in the world of high-flying passing offenses.
The defensive moves are more subtle and should help stabilize the defense that allowed the most points in football. Of course, stabilization is hardly transformation.
It's difficult to look at what the Titans have done so far and see a vastly superior team to the one that took the field last year.
It's going to take more strong moves, a great draft and some coaching magic to get the Titans back to the post season.
Even so, the bulk of the heavy lifting falls on Locker. All the guards and running backs in the world don't change the fact that the 2013 season and the fate of the coaching staff and front office rides on his right arm.
Quote courtesy of the Tennessee Titans PR department via direct press release.
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