The departure of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to the Detroit Lions will create a major change in the Titans play calling. But, the area it will effect the most will be on the offensive side of the ball.
Chuck Cecil, former Titans secondary coach and Schwartz' replacement, will head the defense and not much will lack besides the presence of the all-pro defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. The defense should pick up where it left off last season, one of the top five best squads in the league.
Just in case the defense does not pick up where it left off, the offense, run by Mike Heimerdinger, will be focused on stretching the field and attacking the opposing defense in a way that is unusual for the Titans.
Heimerdinger, now in his second year with the team, will focus on implementing the wide receivers into the offense more than last year, taking pressure off of the defense and the running game on which the Titans so heavily rely.
The Titans will always stress a solid running game, and with Chris Johnson and Lendale White in the backfield, they should still have success, but Heimerdinger expects improvement and perfection, and a big-play receiving corps will be expected in his second year.
Heimerdinger will want more big plays, more time of possession, and ultimately more points. He will achieve these goals by stretching the field and using the wide receivers in the offense more than last year.
Also, near the red zone, the Titans looked to the tight ends and Lendale White too often last year, and the opposing defenses stacked the box and took those options away. Heimerdinger and the offense will use the whole field this year rather than just part of it.
The change in the playbook will hinge on the play of the quarterback. Led by veteran Kerry Collins, the receivers should improve with his accuracy and skill. What they lack in route running, Collins will more than make up for it with accuracy and leadership. The deep ball poses no problem for Collins, as he still has one of the strongest arms in the league.
Since the Titans will lean more to the passing game, they will need to implement more screen or swing passes to running back Chris Johnson. He is one of the fastest players in the league, and they will look to get him the ball even if they do not use running plays to do so. The passing game will give the Titans a whole new look in 2009.