When a team fails to make the playoffs, its fans get a head start on digging into optimism season. It's a new era of Tennessee Titans football, with Tommy Smith taking over for the late Bud Adams and Ken Whisenhunt being brought on as the team's 17th head coach.
There was a general consensus that one of the team's primary needs was keeping Mike Munchak for another season. Defensive end, middle linebacker and offensive tackle stood out as the top three areas of concern.
Coach Whisenhunt's history shows a preference for a 3-4 defense, and that has been exemplified by the hiring of Ray Horton as the defensive coordinator on Monday, per the team's website. While the initial plan appears to be playing a hybrid defense, the necessity for more versatile defensive talent has increased.
A hybrid defense incorporates aspects of both a 3-4 and 4-3 defensive scheme. Finding guys who are capable of playing sound defense in both defensive sets is no easy task, but there is talent hitting the free-agent market who could prove to be quality signings.
The offense isn't a perfect unit, either, and there are clear points of need on that side of the ball as well. Free agency begins on March 11, and the current free-agent market is sure to change between now and then, but here are a few players the Titans could take a look at when the market opens up.
*All stats gathered from NFL.com. PFF denotes the overall grade of a player according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Salary cap information taken from spotrac.com. All other sourcing is otherwise labeled.