Tennessee Titans: 6 Things We Learned from OTAs
The ball is officially rolling for the Tennessee Titans as OTAs are in full swing, which means it's an exciting time to see how all these new additions will work for the Titans.
With the Titans installing new systems on both sides of the ball, the production of OTAs will be critical to how prepared this Titans team will be when they open the regular season against the Steelers.
There's still a lot to be learned during these OTAs, but here are six things we've learned so far.
The Defense Will Be Very Different from 2012
If the Titans are going to improve on last season's 6-10 mark, then the defense has to drastically improve.
With that said, it's uplifting to know that the Titans are employing a whole new defensive system with senior defensive assistant Gregg Williams calling some shots.
You're going to see a lot of different personnel on defense aside from the ones that were acquired in free agency.
One example of this is the possibility of seeing Scott Solomon getting some work as a strongside linebacker, even though he was originally drafted as a defensive end.
Also expect to see Akeem Ayers use his pass-rushing abilities a lot more than he did in his second season in the NFL.
This is going to be a defense that is constantly mixing things up with different combinations of packages and personnel on the field. It should keep the opposition guessing and make for more low-scoring affairs that will give the Titans a chance at the win every week.
Jake Locker Is 100 Percent Healthy
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All reports say that Jake Locker finally feels like he did before the shoulder injury, and that's obviously great news as OTAs get going.
Locker needs to have a very productive offseason to ensure that he gets off to a solid start to keep the critics off his back.
With Ryan Fitzpatrick lurking as his backup, Locker will need to prove that there is no question that he gives this Titans team the best chance to win.
Locker is basically learning a whole new system, and getting to do so without competing for the starting role like this time last year. He should feel a lot more confident knowing that the offense is going to be tailored around his strengths.
It may seem not all that important as we sit here at the end of May, but Locker has to have a strong OTA session. Any kind of confidence booster that Locker can get for himself is extremely important.
The fact that Locker feels healthy, and not coming in as just partially healthy, will do wonders for what he gets out of OTAs.
Kenny Britt Has Adopted a New Attitude
You can't blame anyone for not buying into whatever Kenny Britt may be saying in regards to being focused on football. After all, he hasn't really given anyone a reason to believe in him with all of the chances he's been given.
Britt directly hurt his football team over the past couple of seasons by not remaining focused on football. He's an unbelievable talent that just hasn't given 100 percent to his team since being drafted in 2009.
It seems that Britt finally realizes that he owes this team his full effort and that they're counting on him to take the next step this season.
Britt is in jeopardy of being released at the end of this season if he doesn't really become the receiver that it looked like he would be in the beginning.
This renewed focus in OTAs is a start, but he has to show up on the field for this focus to mean anything.
Mike Munchak Has the Team He Wants
There is no denying how great of a player Mike Munchak was, but many are questioning his abilities as a head coach following last season's disaster.
Munchak seems very excited about the team he has to work with right now. He's obviously as expert on the offensive line, and he has the best personnel he's ever had as the Titans head coach by far.
Both Andy Levitre and Chance Warmack are guys that will really give Munchak something to work with to mold this offense into a reliable one.
Munchak is working much more extensively with the offensive line than he was last offseason, according to the Titans official website.
The draft was widely viewed as a strong one for Munchak. He added a ton of depth to key positions that will give him the freedom to install new systems on both sides of the ball.
If things go wrong this season, then I don't see how Munchak keeps his job. He has the team he wants, and now it's time to put together a season that gets fans excited once again.
Players Are Excited About New Offense
You always want to keep your players generally happy, and key players on the offensive side of the ball are very excited about this new offense that's being installed by offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains.
Confidence is flowing freely during OTAs as the players pick up this new offense, and other players are taking notice of that.
Healthy competition during these OTAs is so important to keep the players motivated. That seems to be happening at least at the early stage of OTAs.
The comparison of the 2013 offense to last season's 26th-ranked offense will be night and day for fans.
For instance, expect Jake Locker to be put into bootleg scenarios a lot more to allow him to really make plays outside of the pocket. That is one of his strengths as a quarterback, like it or not.
Kendall Wright can really do a lot damage as a slot receiver, and hopefully he'll get a lot more opportunities in that scenario in this new offense.
All of the players appear to be amped up about this offense that will work around their strengths, and how quickly they seem to be picking it up is a bonus.
Nate Washington Is Still Big Part of Passing Game
There may be a log-jam of young receivers on the Titans right now, but that doesn't mean that Nate Washington doesn't still have a major role in the passing game.
Washington is a guy that Jake Locker will really be able to rely on this season. The numbers won't jump off the page, but they never really have with Washington.
The early part of OTAs have reinforced that fact that Washington will be an important veteran presence for this passing offense that has a ton of youth.
Washington can still make those spectacular plays that can help this offense become a vertical one. Anyone remember how well he played in the crazy win against the Lions?
All of this talk of Washington being phased out of this offense for younger talent should not be taken too seriously. The Titans need a veteran receiver, and Washington is perfect for that role.