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2009 Tennessee Titans Preview

Blaize PenningtonCorrespondent IMay 11, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 28:  Running back Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans celebrates as he scores a touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings at LP Field on September 28, 2008 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Coming off a 13-3 season and losing a playoff game that they should have won, the Titans look forward to the 2009 season.

The Titans still have 20 of their 22 starters and hope their season will be similar to last year...with a different ending of course.

Key Losses

  • Albert Haynesworth, DT
  • Brandon Jones, WR
  • Justin McCareins, WR
  • Chris Carr, KR/CB
  • Eric King, CB
  • Jim Schwartz, Defensive Coordinator

Key Additions (for next season)

  • DeMarcus Faggins, CB
  • Jovan Haye, DT
  • Mark Jones, KR/WR
  • Nate Washington, WR
  • Kenny Britt, WR
  • Sen'Derrick Marks, DT
  • Jared Cook, TE

Projected Starters

QB: Kerry Collins

HB: Chris Johnson; LenDale White

FB: Ahmard Hall

WR: Justin Gage; Nate Washington*

TE: Bo Scaife

LT: Michael Roos

LG: Eugene Amano

C: Kevin Mawae

RG: Jake Scott

RT: David Stewart

RE: Kyle Vanden Bosch

DT: Tony Brown; Jovan Haye*

LE: Jevan Kearse

LOLB: David Thornton

MLB: Stephen Tulloch

ROLB: Keith Bulluck

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LCB: Nick Harper

RCB: Cortland Finnegan

FS: Michael Griffin

SS: Chris Hope

*Didn't Start Last Year

Key Backups

Jared Cook, TE

Listed as one of the best looking rookies by The Sporting News, Cook could come in some key situations and make some big plays for the Titans this year. Look for him especially in third and long situations.

Cook can cause some unfavorable matchups for defenses.

Kenny Britt, WR

Depending on Lavelle Hawkins' offseason, Britt will most likely start as the third receiver on the depth chart.

However, Hawkins knows the offense and Britt does not, so expect that decision to be made after the preseason. When Britt does figure out this offense, he should be able to make a huge impact.

His size and strength are unmatched by the majority of the cornerbacks in the league.

Dave Ball, DE; Jacob Ford, DE; William Hayes, DE;

In Jeff Fisher's system he likes to rotate his defensive line in order to get fresh legs against tired offensive linemen.

Last season, Ford was second on the team with seven sacks and Ball had 4.5 of his own. Hayes only had one sack last year but was not used much due to it being his rookie season.

Jason Jones, DT; Sen'Derrick Marks, DT; Kevin Vickerson, DT

Jones will compete with Jovan Haye for the second defensive tackle spot. Either way, both of them will have significant playing time in Fisher's system.

Jones had five sacks last year and 3.5 of them came in the one game he started. Jim Washburn is very good with turning rookies into great defensive linemen, and he will have a lot to work with in 6'2" 306lb Sen'Derrick Marks.

Demarcus Faggins, CB

Nick Harper was plagued with injuries last year, which kept him out of three games and pulled him out for many other plays.

Faggins is going to have to play better than he did last year with the Texans.

Biggest Changes

Missing Albert Haynesworth

Haynesworth led the team last year in sacks. That is very uncommon for a defensive tackle to do, especially one who was double teamed on every play.

Jovan Haye and Jason Jones will attempt to fill this position, but it's likely they will not have the same production. This could also take down the production of Kyle Vanden Bosch as the double teams will most likely move to the outside.

This will likely lead to more blitzes by the Titans.

Chuck Cecil taking over the defense

"(Cecil) broke it down. He told us what he was about, he gave us some quotes that he has lived by, played by, and they definitely said 'This is our guy, this is our leader and we're going to go fight for him.'"

Nickelback Vincent Fuller said of Cecil's introduction to the team. His motto is "Go hard or go home."

Cecil wants his players to give 110 percent, and you can expect that he will give them same.

A new set of wide receivers

Three receivers were added this year that could potentially add to the air attack of the Titans.

Nate Washington was signed early in the offseason and will add a deep ball threat that could potentially open up the running game for the Titans.

Kenny Britt also adds to this by giving Kerry Collins a big target to hit.

Jared Cook is the third piece of this new core. Though he's a tight end, you can expect him to be a target this season.

2008 Offensive Rankings

Offensive Scoring: 14th
Offensive Passing Yards: 27th
Offensive Rushing Yards: 7th
Offensive Total Yards: 21st

The lack of offensive production is largely due to the weak receiving core the Titans have. Though it may take a couple of years for Kenny Britt and Jared Cook to become big threats, they should at least add to the production on offense.

If the passing threat goes up expect the rushing threat to go up as well.

2008 Defensive Rankings

Defensive Scoring: 2nd
Defensive Passing Yards: 9th
Defensive Rushing Yards: 6th
Defensive Total Yards: 7th
Sacks: 5th
Interceptions: 6th
Forced Fumbles: 2nd

The Titans' defense was fantastic last year being a top 10 in all of the major stats. With 10 of the 11 starters coming back, you can expect the same kind of season this year.

2009 Outlook

The Titans play four playoff teams in their first six weeks and three of those games are on the road.

Expect a slow start for the Titans, however, after the bye week, it is almost smooth sailing for them as they only play four more playoff teams for the duration of the season.

Of these four games, three of them are played in Tennessee.

I predict the Titans will go 11-5 and win the AFC South.

They will go deep in the playoffs and probably lose in the AFC Championship.

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