Grading Every Tennessee Titans Starter in 2013 Regular Season
The Tennessee Titans may have ended the season on a winning note, but it was hardly enough to make up for the roller coaster season without a playoff berth.
Don't let the two-game winning streak fool you. 2013 was still very much a lost season for the Titans. They had the talent to grind out a wild-card spot, and this was obviously the season to do that with so many average teams.
There were several bright spots for the Titans this season, though, to go along with some major disappointments on the starting roster. Here are full season game grades for each starter as the Titans finish 2013 at 7-9, with a record of 3-5 at home.
Jake Locker: C+
You can't go very far in the NFL without stability at the quarterback position, and that was painfully illustrated for the Titans this season.
Once again, Jake Locker couldn't stay healthy, despite getting off to a promising start that had the Titans at 3-1. You have to wonder what could have been if Locker started every game.
Locker, however, did show enough improvement for the Titans to be 100 percent behind him going forward. With an upcoming draft loaded with quarterbacks, the Titans may need to test the waters in case Locker shows the same durability issues in 2014. Locker will become a free agent after that.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: C-
Fitzpatrick did what he could to keep the Titans above water for as long as he could, but he showed that he's nothing more than an emergency backup at this point in his career. He clearly has physical limitations that force him to make far more bad throws than good throws.
You still can't fault the guy's effort and toughness, though. Fitzpatrick brought them to every game to keep the Titans somewhat relevant.
Chris Johnson: C+
Johnson finished 2013 on a strong note and clawed his way to another 1,000-yard season, which he's now done every single season in his career. That's a pretty impressive accomplishment.
There were still too many games when Johnson came up small when the Titans needed him to rise up and be the franchise player, though. Those struggles weren't all his fault, but that's what happens when you're considered one of the star players on offense. You get a lot of the blame.
The fact that Johnson posted just two 100-yard games in a full season is concerning, and the Titans owe him $8 million in 2014. I'm not sure he's worth that anymore.
Shonn Greene: B
One of things that has to be questioned is how coach Mike Munchak used Greene throughout the season. Greene barely eclipsed 70 carries for the season, and that is far too little for a free agent brought in to help amp up the running game.
His injury early in the season was unfortunate, as it seemed to keep Greene from ever becoming a big part of the offense.
There were numerous instances when Greene ran the ball well, only to be yanked and never seen again in the game. Greene needs to be a bigger part of the offense in 2014, and that may be possible if Johnson doesn't return.
Kendall Wright: A
What a season it was for Kendall Wright as he backed up his strong 2012 rookie year. Wright became the first Titans receiver to have at least 90 catches since Derrick Mason in 2004.
Expect more of that in the future from Wright, who was consistent throughout the season despite the struggles at quarterback.
The only thing you want to see improve for Wright as his career progresses is his number of touchdowns. He managed just two this season, and that number needs to climb to the range of five or six.
Nate Washington: B+
Even though Washington's role was cut back from previous years, he still made his mark on the offense. He came up just short of 1,000 yards, believe it or not.
The Titans need to make sure Washington retires in a Titans uniform. His veteran presence is too important for this predominantly young unit.
Justin Hunter: B-
It was an up-and-down rookie season for Hunter. He definitely showed up in the touchdown department, as he finished with four. There just wasn't enough consistency, though, and that's to be expected from a rookie receiver.
Expect Hunter to show some serious improvement in 2014.
Kenny Britt: F
If there was such a thing as a worse grade than failing, then Britt would get it. He was that bad, and he clearly didn't seem to care as the season dragged on.
Damian Williams: C
Williams took a step back in 2013. He really didn't have much of an impact in any of the games he played outside of the Week 4 win over the Jets.
The Titans don't necessarily need Williams to be the star of the position, but he needs to show more production as a guy who can chip in with some decent production on a regular basis.
The boiling point was reached against the 49ers when Britt erupted with emotion after dropping the ball in the end zone on a legal hit. He needs a change of scenery, and the Titans will almost certainly give him that.
It's really unfortunate because he still has a ton of talent to be a Pro Bowl receiver.
Delanie Walker: A
Another bright spot for the Titans offense in 2013 was Delanie Walker. He did exactly what he was brought in to do as a free agent from 49ers, and he did it under tough circumstances. He was the model of consistency.
It's always a good thing when you join the company of Frank Wycheck, and Walker did just that by reaching 60 catches, which hadn't been done by a Titans tight end since Wycheck.
Walker also did a lot of great things in terms of blocking throughout the season. He'll be a great piece to the puzzle for the Titans in terms of making a playoff push in 2014.
Craig Stevens: F
Stevens was virtually invisible the entire season, managing just two catches. The eye-opening part of that total is that he still appeared in almost every game. It's very puzzling that Stevens had basically no production in 2013 after putting up moderate numbers in 2012 as a No. 2 tight end.
The Titans have to get more production outside of Walker in 2013 from the tight end position.
Andy Levitre: C-
It was a down season for Levitre at the guard position, and some of that probably had to do with his offseason injury.
The offensive line was supposed to be the strength of this team going into 2013. It wasn't even close to being that, and Levitre deserves some of that blame.
Chance Warmack: B
There were definitely some rookie growing pains for Warmack this year, but he also showed plenty of promise as a first-round draft pick.
Warmack has all the tools to be great in this league. He just needs to get the experience under his belt and he'll be a huge asset to the Titans for years to come.
David Stewart: C-
It was not a particularly good year for Stewart at offensive tackle, and he's due more than $6 million in 2014 if he sticks around. Considering his age and his knack for letting his emotions get the best of him, it's time for the Titans to move on.
Injuries also really hurt Stewart's chances of ever having a strong 2013 season.
Michael Roos: C+
Michael Roos has been an anchor on the Titans' offensive line for several years now, but even he had somewhat of an off year. There just never seemed to be any big running lanes created on either side of the offensive line for Titans running backs.
Brian Schwenke: B
Schwenke was the lone bright spot on the Titans' offensive line in 2013. I just wish that the rookie center could've started from Week 1. The action Schwenke did see illustrated that he's the Titans' answer at center in the future.
Derrick Morgan: B
Morgan really finished the season on a strong note, getting his sixth sack of the season against the Texans. It was just enough to have a little faith that Morgan can become the consistent pass-rusher that the Titans have lacked for way too long.
Don't forget that Morgan was once a first-round draft pick for the Titans as well, and there's a still a small chance that draft pick could work out.
Ropati Pitoitua: C+
The fast start that Pitoitua enjoyed faded into virtually no production at all over the last half of the season. Pitoitua had all four of his sacks in three consecutive games, and he was shut out after that.
This free-agent acquisition wasn't a successful one, as Pitoitua came up small in big games, like the early season loss to the Texans when he managed just one tackle.
Pitoitua did provide a big body presence in run defense, so the Titans showed some improvement in that area.
Kamerion Wimbley: D
Wimbley didn't do a very good job of following up his solid first season with the Titans that ended with six sacks. He managed just half of that production in 2013, and he's most likely on his way out, according to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com.
This marks another swing and miss for the Titans in free agency, even though this addition did came back in 2012.
Jurrell Casey: A+
It would be a crime to start this section off without mentioning the great season Jurrell Casey had at defensive tackle. He should've be on his way to his first Pro Bowl selection, but instead, he's considered an alternate.
The Titans may not have showed much improvement in the win column, but the overall team did improve based on players like Casey.
Casey finished the season with 10.5 sacks, which is extremely difficult to achieve as defensive tackle. With him, the Titans have something to build around for the future.
Sammie Lee Hill: C+
Injuries got Hill off to a slow start, and he never really recovered; however, the Titans should keep Hill as their hopeful starter in 2014. He clogs up the middle and gives the Titans a formidable duo at defensive tackle to stop the run.
Karl Klug: C-
Klug had a down year compared to previous seasons. He'll have to fight for his spot on the roster once again when training camp rolls around. There's just too much competition at the position.
Mike Martin: C-
Martin was kept in check for much of the season, as he managed just 11 total tackles in 13 games. He has a lot of potential as long as he continues to develop.
Antonio Johnson: C
It was not a great season for Johnson, but he did enough as a role player for the Titans to consider retaining him in the future.
Akeem Ayers: B-
Ayers capped off the 2013 season with an impressive outing against the Texans that included his only interception and forced fumble of the season.
The tackles, however, were way down, and he managed just one sack on the season. Rushing the passer is supposed to be Ayers' strength, so that number has to improve in 2014.
Zach Brown: C+
It was an up-and-down season for Brown, as he eclipsed 80 tackles for the second straight season. With that said, I can't really say he showed improvement from his rookie season. This was expected to be a possible breakout year for Brown.
Brown hit a rocky patch when he was benched in the loss to the Cardinals early in the season. I have to wonder if that could have a lingering effect going forward. This guy still has a lot of potential, so hopefully he continues to get better in the Titans uniform.
Moise Fokou: B
Fokou ended up replacing Colin McCarthy at middle linebacker, and he did a nice job in that role. He would've probably led the team in tackles if not for missing a handful of games due to injury.
It will be interesting to see in the offseason if McCarthy can earn his starting role back from Fokou, who played well enough to be kept as the starter in 2014.
Bernard Pollard: B+
Pollard brought the intimidation and leadership that the Titans hoped he would bring to Music City. This year, the Titans' defensive players definitely had a swagger to them that had been missing for a while.
The Titans will have to offer a pretty big contract if they hope to hold onto Pollard, and that would force them to fill a hole on defense in the secondary during the offseason.
Michael Griffin: B
Griffin had a much better season than 2012, thanks to the presence of Pollard and Wilson at safety. He got to play at free safety and go for the big plays he's known to make, including the interception in the season finale against the Texans.
Throw in the three forced fumbles by Griffin, and 2013 turned out to be a solid bounce-back year for the former Pro Bowl selection.
George Wilson: B
Even though Wilson wasn't as flashy as Pollard or Griffin, he still had a positive impact on the Titans improving to a top-10 passing defense.
Alterraun Verner: A+
Verner is on his way to the Pro Bowl, becoming the first Titan to earn that honor since 2010. It's a well-deserved honor, as Verner finishes with five interceptions and 23 pass deflections. The 23 pass deflections are good for tops in the NFL.
With Verner becoming a free agent, the Titans have to make sure they don't let another great player slip out of their hands. They have to figure out a way to pay this guy the money he's earned to keep this secondary in the top tier of the NFL.
Jason McCourty: B-
The absence of even a single interception is a little concerning, but McCourty still held his own on his side of the field on most occasions. He was also a reliable tackler, as he finished with more than 60 tackles this season.
Along with Verner, McCourty is the Titans' future at cornerback until something dramatically changes. As of now, he should be the hands-down starter heading into the offseason.
Coty Sensabaugh: B
Sensabaugh had a respectable season lining up at the nickel position, and that should be his spot to lose on the roster.
The Titans are an improved unit defending the pass, and the young Sensabaugh is part of that. He'll continue to get better with just two years of NFL experience, as he's already playing at a promising level.
Rob Bironas: A-
Bironas had a couple of uncharacteristic misses this season that hurt the Titans, but his final stat line is still very respectable. He finishes 25-of-29 on field goals, including two from 50-plus yards. He will remain a valuable weapon for the Titans next season.
Brett Kern: B+
Kern had another respectable year, finishing in the top half of the NFL in punts inside the 20. He's undervalued on this Titans' roster because no one likes to punt. The Titans need to stop relying on his services so much, but at least he's a reliable punter who gives you a chance in field position.
Leon Washington: A
What could have been if Leon Washington would've started the season as the Titans' kick returner? That debacle in the Steelers game that ended in a safety probably wouldn't have happened. It just snowballed from there.
Washington came in and stabilized that part of specials, but it was way too late to matter at that point.