Tennessee Titans Must Start Looking Ahead to 2014 Following Thursday Night Loss

Daniel BarnesCorrespondent IIINovember 15, 2013

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 14:  Quarterback Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts speaks to injured quarterback Jake Locker of the Tennessee Titans after a 30-27 Colts victory at LP Field on November 14, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Thursday night's loss to the Colts drops the Titans to 4-6 and puts playoffs almost out of reach.

Now, theoretically, the Titans can still make it to the postseason. However, with their starting quarterback out for the season and with away games against three teams that have already beaten them once, not to mention an away game against the Broncos, finishing the season 5-1 seems unlikely.

Unfortunately for the Titans and their fans, missing the playoffs likely means a new regime. Mike Munchak will probably be fired, Ruston Webster may be fired, and if there's anything new regimes like, it's bringing in new quarterbacks.

So essentially, this means a complete rebuild for the Titans.

Now luckily, the Titans have quite a few young players. Of the regular offensive and defensive starters (not counting Locker), six were drafted in the last three years. Then there are recently acquired players who may not start but get regular playing time.

Then there are big names like Andy Levitre, who signed a long-term contract with the Titans this season, so the Titans have a lot of pieces to build on.

On the other hand, whoever takes Munchak's place could have an entirely different offensive and defensive scheme in mind for the Titans that doesn't work with the current players. Anything could happen.

Of course, the biggest question mark is the quarterback position. The Titans may be unlikely to make the playoffs, but with games against the Raiders, Jaguars and a Texans team that isn't nearly as good as it was last season, they're likely to win some more games.

The problem with that is that if the Titans win too many more games, they won't be in a position to take one of the top quarterbacks.

Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley will all likely be gone by the time the Titans are picking, and that's assuming they even declare. Bridgewater is a junior, and Hundley and Mariota are both redshirt sophomores.

That leaves Tajh Boyd, Johnny Manziel and Derek Carr as potential grabs. Both Boyd and Manziel are shorter than most teams would prefer, and Carr plays in the WAC against weak competition. He also happens to be the brother of famous bust David Carr.

The Titans could always seek a quarterback in free agency, but the only franchise-caliber quarterback on the market is Jay Cutler. It's a rare thing to see a true franchise quarterback hit the free-agent market, and there's not much reason to think that Cutler's situation would be any different.

Hopefully the Titans won't reach for a quarterback and saddle themselves with a player who'll be out of the league in three years. They can always stick with the Jake Locker-Ryan Fitzpatrick duo for another season and hope for the best.

If you remember 2011, four teams drafted quarterbacks in the first round. Of those four, three are at least considering a new signal-caller.

If the Titans can manage to land a decent quarterback, he ought to have an easy time going forward. The Titans have the makings of an outstanding offensive line if they can get the pieces together, and they have a deep group of receivers.

On the other side of the ball, young guys like Jurrell Casey, Zach Brown and Akeem Ayers will continue to be the backbone of the defense for a few more years.

The Titans have a lot of good pieces in place. If whoever comes along next is wise about who they bring in, the rebuilding process may not end up being that painful after all.

2013 may not be going well, but 2014 is a new season.