Next year, the Titans hope to avoid a bad start as they did this season going 0-6.
Sure, Chris Johnson became only the sixth running back in NFL history to rush for over 2000 yards and there was the reemergence of Vince Young as the starting quarter back, but they still missed the playoffs.
There are a few things that need to happen before the Titans can become serious contenders for Super Bowl glory.
One of the big problems is the Titans' fearsome defense being not so feared. Yes, it was Chuck Cecil's first year as a defensive coordinator so maybe next season he will better understand the defense.
As for players go there is some talent but 1 or 2 guys won't win games. There was a huge decline from the leagues top pass defense to the worst and the inability to prevent big plays. Here are some key problems on defense:
- The decline of Nick Harper as a corner back. Due to the fact that Finnegan plays one side and doesn't stick the offenses lead receiver, Harper was exploited. In games against teams like the Colts and Houston who have an elite receiver the Titans defense was demolished in part to everyone having to compensate for Harper's poor coverage. Even the addition of an average cornerback would help, perhaps Rod Hood who was effective in his three games.
- The loss of Albert Haynesworth on the D-line. One of the big problems was that without someone to draw a double team, players like Vanden Bosch and Kearse failed to produce. Injuries at the defensive tackle position created other issues. If the D-line can't create pressure, then opposing quarterbacks have all day to wait for an open wide receiver. Maybe the signing of some free agents in the off season like Julius Peppers or Richard Seymour. There are also some draft selections we could make; Ndamukong Suh (even though he will be picked up early) or Marvin Austin. If the D-line can create pressure then we will see the top class defense of the 2008 season.
- Also the Titans are taking a hit at linebacker, both Stephen Tulluch and Keith Bulluck are on the last year of their contracts. Due to Bulluck's torn ACL and his age it is likely that he wont be returning. Over the years Bulluck has been a huge team leader and play maker. Tulluch on the other hand will most likely return but some new talent would be nice. There are many talented linebackers that could end up as free agents and any of them would help the Titans.
If the defensive problems get fixed then the Titans will present big problems for opposing teams as they can run the ball, waste the clock and then just prevent big plays for the opposition.
I wouldn't mind seeing a receiver step up to create a more threatening passing offense so teams can't just stack the box against CJ. Kenny Britt could be just the guy, showing glimpses of greatness in his rookie year.
The duo of Young and Johnson is difficult enough for defenses. Add an air attack and you have an imposing force.
I would also like to see some work in the area of special teams which was well below average this year. The Titans average starting postion at the begining of the year was around the 20 yard line. The season before it was around the 33-yard line.
It's hard to start a drive deep in your own territory. Also had it not been for special teams mishaps maybe we would have won a few extra games (Jets game where we had 2 turn overs on a muffed punt and a fumbled kick return).
Finally, Kenny Britt stepped up as a some what solid returner but you can't have the teams potentially best wide receiver returning kicks only to get himself injured.
Maybe we pick up Josh Cribbs after being disgusted by the deal the Browns offered him or someone who can at least protect the ball. We could even draft Javier Arenas who could possibly fill in for a Nick Harper at corner back as well.
In my opinion, if the Titans can fix even a few of these issues then they will be a true contender next year.
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