2015 NFL Season Preview- Tennessee Titans
The best thing that can be said about the Titans 2014 season is that its over. The team finished the year losing their final 10 games to finish 2-14 in one of the worst seasons since the team moved from Houston.
Offensively, the team couldn't do anything right. The quarterback position was a mess after Jake Locker went down with injuries again. Rookie Zach Mettenberger has the tools and size to be a starter but was winless in the games he started. The running backs were completely misused as none of the runners racked up stats. Wide receiver Kendall Wright and tight end Delanie Walker were the team's most productive offensive weapons accounting for a total of 120 receptions.
On defense, the team was nowhere near defensive coordinator Ray Horton would like it to be. The defense went through growing pains transitioning to a 3-4 defense. This caused defensive end Jurrell Casey's sack numbers to drop. The linebacker corps is solid but needs to mature. Other than cornerback Jason McCourty, there isn't a valuable starter in the secondary.
The rookie class struggled throughout the year. Tackle Taylor Lewan was a backup until Michael Roos went down, but missed the final five games of the season. Running back Bishop Sankey lacked explosiveness and the team didn't use him in the way that he was expected.
Titans 2014 Rankings
Oppenent Passing Yards
Opponent Rushing Yards
NFL Rank- 22nd
NFL Rank- 26th
NFL Rank- 15th
NFL Rank- 31st
NFL Rank- 29th
NFL Rank- 27th
Going into 2015, the Titans have to answer a lot of questions. Like what is this team's identity? What does this team do well? Which players fit the system we want to go in. None of these questions have good answers. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt's style of offense relies on a quarterback who can stand tall in the pocket and deliver the ball down field to big receivers. His teams also require versatile on both sides of the ball.
Notable Additions- WR Harry Douglas, WR Jacoby Ford, WR Hakeem Nicks, TE Anthony Fasano, OLB Brian Orakpo, CB Perrish Cox
Notable Departures- QB Jake Locker, RB Shon Greene, WR Nate Washington, T Michael Oher, OLB Kamerion Wimbley, SS Bernard Pollard.
Jurrell Casey Highlights
2015 NFL Draft
Going into the draft, Tennessee held the second overall pick and the team had many priorities in building a team to fit their schemes offensively and defensively. Some of those priorities being quarterback, outside linebacker, and defensive back.
Jake Locker is now retired, Charlie Whitehurst has been nothing more than a backup, and Zach Mettenberger hasn't proven he can win at the pro level. The Titans need a quarterback who can take control of an offense.
The Titans haven't had a consistent pass rusher since Kyle Vanden Bosch left for Detroit in 2010. Now that team has switched to a 3-4 defense, the team needs a pass rusher to play opposite of the recently acquired Brian Orakpo.
Neither Blidi Wreh-Wilson or Coty Sensabaugh have proven they can start opposite Jason McCourty. The team needs to add more capable starters in the secondary.
The team ended up selecting Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota with the second overall pick. Mariota was seen as the best mobile quarterback as well as having the best overall skill set. The big concern on him is the fact he played in a simplified offense since high school and struggles with much of the basics of the position in a pro style game as shown in the blowout loss to Ohio State in the National Championship game.
The team also selected notables like Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham in the second round, Minnesota running back David Cobb in the fifth, and Boston College center Andy Gallik in the sixth. DGB was praised for his rare combination of size and speed but also has many off the field character issues and was dismissed from the Missouri football team. Cobb is built to take the punishment of the NFL game, but doesn't possess the explosiveness of an ideal runner as shown by his slow 40 yard dash time. Gallik was seen as the best pass blocking center in the draft but doesn't have great technique when run blocking.
Marcus Mariota Highlights
What to Expect
This team has to find an identity.
As I see it, Zach Mettenberger is the team's starting quarterback. He has the tools that Ken Whisenhunt looks for in his quarterback. But if he fails to get the job done, Whisenhunt can't hesitate to give Mariota reps. The offense also needs more help in the run game and that means giving more carries to Bishop Sankey and Dexter McCluster. By adding Dorial Green-Beckham, the team now has a full bounty of targets with DGB and Justin Hunter on the outside, Kendall Wright in the slot, and Delanie Walker and Anthony Fasano at tight end.
Defensively the Titans don't have the right guys on the defensive line that fit the 3-4 defense. Jurrell Casey is the team's most proponent defender in the front seven. With the addition of Perrish Cox, the team secondary should be improved against pass but their play against the run is still in question.
In the end, it will take more time to establish the playmakers needed to make them contenders in the AFC South. With a few more additions added to the defensive, Tennessee could be a playoff caliber team in a couple years.
Best record they can hope for: 5-11