Tennessee Titans Need a New Defensive Coordinator, Not New Players

Stephen KasperCorrespondent IMarch 31, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 08:  Jason Babin #94 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrate after he sacked quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys in the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on November 8, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

So far this offseason, the Tennessee Titans have spent the majority of their time and money on amping up their defense.


Will Witherspoon, Jason Babin, and Tye Hill are arguably the biggest additions to the team thus far this offseason.


But is that really what Tennessee needs?


Don’t get me wrong; I am all for the Titans planning for the future, realizing certain players are getting older or becoming too expensive.


But am I the only one who realizes that the only real defensive difference between the 13-3 Titans of 2008 and the 8-8 Titans of 2009 was Albert Haynesworth? While his presence in the middle was missed, his absence was not the reason the Titans’ defense became an embarrassment to NFL in 2009.


Three of the Titans' four defensive backs made the Pro Bowl in 2008. In 2009, even teams with a less-than-average passing game made those Pro Bowlers look like they had never played football before.


In 2008, Tennessee had the No. 7-ranked defense, allowing just 293 yards per game. In 2009, Tennessee dropped down to 28th, allowing 365 yards per game.


So what is all this leading up to?


Jim Schwartz and his replacement, Chuck Cecil.


I can’t blame Jimmy for leaving Tennessee to make a name for himself. He is a great coach and is doing good things in Detroit.


But Chuck Cecil?


Cecil did good things as a defensive backs' coach for the Titans, but he made Schwartz’s Top 10 defense into one of the worst in just one season as defensive coordinator.


Tennessee has one of the best defensive line coaches in the NFL in Jim Washburn, talent in the secondary with Cortland Finnegan and Michael Griffin, and a linebacker core anchored by Keith Bulluck, who still has a few good years left.


So, if Washburn can make a good defensive lineman out of anyone, if Finnegan and Griffin can get back to the way they played in 2008, and if Tennessee just re-signed Bulluck, why is it so necessary to fix what’s not broken?


Tye Hill I honestly understand. Finnegan can’t be the only cornerback.


Babin and Witherspoon are good players, but do the Titans really need them?


Jacob Ford, Tony Brown, William Hayes, and Javon Haye are all extremely talented players. With Washburn there, they have become better each game and will continue to get better. So why does no one believe they can handle the workload?


Oh ye of little faith.


Stephen Tulloch isn’t Ray Lewis, but he isn’t bad either. With him and Bulluck, one could argue that Witherspoon would be a great acquisition to fill the other outside linebacker position.


While I don’t necessarily disagree with that because Witherspoon is a very talented linebacker—and I’m sure he will do great things for the Titans—I think the $11 million spent to get him and the money spent for Babin would have been better off spent getting a defensive coordinator that knows what he’s doing.


It doesn’t matter how good your players are; if the right plays aren’t called, if the right reads aren't made upstairs, no player in the NFL can succeed.


I do like the players Tennessee has signed. I do think Tennessee will have a winning season in 2010, and I do think Tennessee can make the playoffs.


But no matter who Tennessee signs, if something isn’t done about the defensive coordinator position, making the playoffs will be harder than...well, harder than finishing 8-8 after starting 0-6.



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