X's and O's Will Not Change Much for the TennesseeTitans In 2009

Gregory AriasContributor IMay 27, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - 2006:  Chuck Cecil of the Tennessee Titans poses for his 2006 NFL headshot at photo day in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Getty Images)

Change is an inevitable part of life in the NFL, every season new players are drafted, players retire and others change teams via trade or free agency.

The 2009 Tennessee Titans are no different, and perhaps suffered the single biggest losses of any team with the departure of free agent defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to the Washington Redskins and the hiring of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz by the Detroit Lions to be their new head coach. 

Offensively Mike Heimerdinger remains as the offensive coordinator along with head coach Jeff Fisher which means that not much should change on that side of the ball.

Run the the football, throw when necessary and let Kerry Collins "manage" the game, while not flashy and certainly not the most exciting thing to watch it worked well in 2008.

The offense lost only two noticeable name players in wide receivers Justin McCairens and Brandon Jones, neither was a major contributor and will be replaced by rookie first round pick Kenny Britt.

Justin Gage returns and third year receiver Chris Davis has shown marked improvement in the teams most recent OTA's and is now being thought of as a viable option along with the tight ends Bo Scaife, Alge Crumpler and the addition of athletic rookie tight end Jared Cook should round out a hopefully improved group of pass catchers in '09.

While there looks to be a marked improvement in the area that most people felt was the teams biggest liability last season we shouldn't expect an all our aerial assault.

Heimerdinger will look to add new "wrinkles" as he put it in a recent interview with local Nashville media, but don't expect any noticeable or significant deviations from last season, that is unless receivers emerge to return this team to the 90's version of "Air" McNair and the pass happy Titans offense that set franchise records for passing under Heimerdinger in his first stint as the teams offensive coordinator.

It could happen, but it's far more likely that the offense will resemble its 08 predecessor with lots of smash and dash from Chris Johnson and Lendale White and a few more shots down field for Britt and free agent wide receiver addition Nate Washington.

The real intrigue lies in the changes expected within the defense where Chuck Cecil (pictured above) takes over for Schwartz.

Cecil, recently inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame for his play at the University of Arizona and known throughout the NFL as a devastating hitter during his playing days as a safety for the Arizona Cardinals will look to keep that same kind of physicality in his version of Titans defense. 

In a recent interview Cecil was asked if more blitzing would be a part of this team, Cecil's response was "why change something that's working".

Most people believe that Cecil will indeed add more blitzing of linebackers and defensive backs to the mix to help out a defensive line that last year was able to get constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks with out an abundance of blitzes.

Will that be the only change Cecil might bring to the Titan "D" in '09, of course he's not telling but based on his personality and the fact that Jim Washburn remains the defensive line coach an with Fisher that while we might see more blitzing that in previous years, we won't be confusing this Titans defense with Jim Johnson's Philadelphia Eagles or the "Blitzburg" defense.

Haynesworth, the mammoth presence is gone and will be replaced by Jovan Haye, a local product from Vanderbilt who signed as a free agent with the Titans from Tampa in the off season, rookie second round pick Sen'derrick Marks from Auburn who along with second year player Jason Jones will be counted on to fill the spot vacated by Haynesworth's departure.  

Kyle Vanden Bosch returns from an injury and a mid season surgery that slowed him part of past season and Jevon Kearse who had off season surgery of his own return at defensive ends, and with the depth of players along the defensive line this unit should remain the major strength of the Titans defense.  

Linebacker is set and solid with Keith Bullock, in the last year of his contract and Stephen Tulloch and David Thornton starting and good depth behind then give Cecil a solid point to start should he decide to ramp up the blitzing pressure.

The secondary loaded with Pro Bowlers in Courtland Finnegan, Michael Griffin and Chris Hope along with Nick Harper will be counted on to stay healthy and on the field because the depth behind them will for the most part be young and inexperienced.

The starting four bring flexibility and loads of experience from which Cecil can draw in any new schemes or wrinkles he might look to add.     

While the coordinator changed don't expect many noticeable differences in the defense in '09 because you know the old saying, if it isn't broke, don't fix it!


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