Tennessee Titans 2013 Season Preview
August 29, 2013 in Tennessee Titans
By Guest Writer Parks Smith:
2013 Finish: 6-10, 3rd in AFC South
Key Additions: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, RB Shonn Greene, RB Jalen Parmele, WR Kevin Walter, TE Delanie Walker, OT Barry Richardson, G Andy Levitre, G Chris Spencer, C Rob Turner, DT Sammie Lee Hill, DT Ropati Pitoitua, ILB Moise Fokou, S Bernard Pollard, S George Wilson
2013 Draft: G Chance Warmack, WR Justin Hunter, CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, OLB Zaviar Gooden, C/G Brian Schwenke, DE Lavar Edwards
Key Losses: QB Matt Hasselbeck, RB Javon Ringer, RB Jamie Harper, TE Jared Cook, G Steve Hutchinson, G Deuce Lutui, G Leroy Harris, C Eugene Amano, DE/DT Jarius Wynn, DT Sen'Derrick Marks, DT Leger Douzable, OLB Gerald McRath, OLB Will Witherspoon, ILB Zac Diles, CB Ryan Mouton, S Jordan
2012 Season Recap: Last year the keys were turned over to second year quarterback Jake Locker. Opposing defensive shutdown running back Chris Johnson, Locker threw more interceptions than touchdowns, and the Titans offense was woefully inept. While the offense was inept, the Titans defense gave up more points per game than anyone else a year ago. The Titans are looking for their first playoff appearance since 2008 and coach Mike Munchak’s seat might be getting a little hotter in the Music City.
Quarterback: Jake Locker was touted as a raw, mobile quarterback with a rocket arm. Thus far Locker has been a project and he’ll need to succeed in his third year for the Titans to be successful. A lack of weapons cannot be an excuse in Nashville and the Titans are starting to realize that. The pressure presented by veteran Matt Hasslebeck is gone, but former Bills starter Ryan Fitzpatrick will now be pushing Locker.
Running back/Fullback: Chris Johnson has not been able to recreate his 2,000 yard pace from 2009 but 1,243 yards a year ago is not bad. Johnson is still a premier home run threat in this league and now he’ll get some help from two running backs who have both started in the NFL in former Chief Jackie Battle and former Jet Shonn Greene. Having a deeper rotation will help to keep the soon to be 28 year old Johnson fresh throughout the season. Quinn Johnson is the lone fullback on the roster, but the Titans have other power backs who could pave the way for CJ2K.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: The Titans may have the league’s most underrated receiving corps. Kenny Britt has not lived up to his potential in the NFL and Kendall Wright is a developing talent who could eventually grow into one of the league’s best targets. Nate Washington is still solid and hanging around, while second round pick Justin Hunter will make the Titans even more dangerous this season. Jared Cook is gone, but bruiser Delani Walker will step in and become a valuable target for Locker.
Offensive Line: The Titans offensive line is certainly their strength. The Titans pried away Andy Levitre from Buffalo and then further solidified their interior with Chance Warmack a guard from Alabama, who some considered to be the top interior offensive line prospect in the NFL Draft. Rob Turner fills out the inside at center in a move that many thought would be filled by Fernando Velasco. Michael Roos and David Steward round out the offensive line and the tackles could become bookends in Tennessee if everything goes well.
Offensive Player to Watch: QB, Jake Locker
Defensive Line: Tennessee added serious beef up front with Sammie Lee Hill to play along former USC Trojan Jurrell Casey. On the outside Kamerion Wimbley and Derrick Morgan will look to pressure the quarterback. All in the entire unit is fairly decent, but depth may be an issue as the Titans look to improve their putrid defense.
Linebackers: The linebacking corps is a young one for Tennessee. Akeem Ayers and Zach Brown will look to bring pressure from the outside, while Colin McCarthy will man the middle. The group is growing together and will need to continue to improve but depth is also an issue here with an hodge podge of veterans backing up the youngsters.
Secondary: The Titans added some solid upgrades in the secondary with safety George Wilson and the controversial Bernard Pollard to play along Michael Griffin. While the Titan has depth at safety and a strong starting presence, the cornerback position isn’t as deep and hasn’t improved that much. Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner are slated to start the year at corner.
Defensive Player to Watch: OLB Zach Brown
Special Teams: Rob Bironas has become a standard for kicking in this league and is expected to continue to be steady in 2013. Brett Kern is an average punter at best for the Titans. The Titans do have a pair of interesting and exciting kick returners in Marc Mariani and Darius Reynaud. Both have found success on various levels before and could carry that over into their performances in Nashville.
Overall: 5-11, Finish third in the AFC South
Titans fans should expect another long year in the Music City. The biggest lingering question is will be Munchak’s last and does that mean it will be Jake Locker’s last? The Titans can find success in their offensive line and one of the league’s best running backs. But despite that, the Titans defensive will have to improve at a faster pace than the offense will need to.