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Monday, September 6, 2010

Tennessee Titans 2010 Preview and Prediction

Last Years Record            8-8
Wins:  Jaguars, 49ers, Bills, Texans, Cardinals, Rams, Dolphins, Seahawks
Losses: Steelers, Texans, Jets, Jaguars, Colts (x2), Patriots, Chargers
Biggest Playmaker            Chris Johnson
RB, East Carolina, Drafted #24, 3rd Year
Chris Johnson is coming off a record breaking year in which he recorded the most yards from scrimmage ever in a season.  Johnson has said that he is aiming to rush for 2,500 yards, but it remains to be seen if his body can handle another enormous workload.  Regardless, having CJ in your backfield can keep your team in any game.
Impact Player            Vince Young
QB, Texas, Drafted #3, 5th Year
After starting the season 0-6 the Titans made a switch at quarterback, starting Vince Young.  Young has had some character issues during his NFL career but is a phenomenal athlete and can change a game with his feet or his arm. 
Biggest Offseason Addition            Will Witherspoon
LB, Georgia, Drafted #73, 9th Year
Will Witherspoon comes to the Titans after playing for the Eagles a year ago.  Witherspoon brings experience to the Titans’ linebacking core and will start and play a big role.  Witherspoon recorded 91 tackles for the Eagles a year ago and was released after the year, as the Eagles did not want to pay his salary this season.
Biggest Offseason Loss            Kevin Mawae
Center, Louisiana State, Drafted #36, 17th Year
Kevin Mawae is old, especially for a center, but he has started every game but three in the past four years for the Titans.  He is coming off two straight pro bowls (eight in his career) and his presence will surely be missed in the middle of the Titans’ offensive line (that paved the way for a 2,000 yard rusher last year).
Biggest Draft Steal            Damian Williams
WR, USC, Drafted #77, Rookie
Damian Williams runs great routes, is dangerous after the catch has shown the ability to make very difficult catches.  At 6’1” and around 200 pounds Williams is also a dangerous returnman and is very shifty.
Biggest Draft Reach            Rusty Smith
QB, Florida Atlantic, Drafted #176, Rookie
Rusty Smith made the Titans’ roster, but he likely could have been picked up in the 7th round or as a free agent.  They currently have an experienced backup in Kerry Collins, so Smith will be able to develop for a few years at least.
Offseason Grade            B-
The Titans seemingly wanted to get younger as they let veterans Keith Bulluck, Kevin Mawae, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Alge Crumpler go.  Derrick Morgan could be an elite pass rusher and I think Damian Williams will play a big role in their offense down the road.  However, they resolved Chris Johnson’s contract issue, which was (rightfully so) priority number one.
X-Factor            Chris Johnson
RB, East Carolina, Drafted #24, 3rd Year
Chris Johnson is one of the most exciting players in the NFL, so why is he the X-Factor for the Titans?  Check out this link showing how most players who lead the league in carries tend to fall off the next season.  CJ had 358 carries last year so if he stays healthy the Titans’ could challenge for a spot in the playoffs.
Name You Should Know            Stephen Tulloch
LB, NC State, Drafted #116, 5th Year
Stephen Tulloch is hardly a household name, but he racked up 121 tackles and two sacks a year ago.  Tulloch has not missed a game in his four years and is the anchor as the middle linebacker of their 4-3 defense.
Rising Star            Kenny Britt
WR, Rutgers, Drafted #30, 2nd Year
This, I admit, is an interesting pick here.  Kenny Britt showed that he can be a very talented receiver in 2009, catching 42 balls for 701 yards and three touchdowns.  However, after a very shaky preseason and some mental issues, Britt needs to step up and has the ability to do so. 
Offensive Outlook            B
Chris Johnson is coming off a ridiculous year and is looking to improve, and behind a very good offensive line he has a chance to reach his 2,500 yard goal.  The receiving core could use some help, but I think Vince Young is a gamer who, plain and simple, up wins football games.
Defensive Outlook            B-
The Titans’ secondary is healthy again with Michael Griffin and Cortland Finnegan at full strength, but the linebacker group is a bit of a question mark and the defensive line is nothing to write home about.  Nick Harper struggled last year at corner and is gone.  The Titans could struggle against the run, as their two tackles are hardly stellar against the run.
Special Teams Outlook            B+
Last year Rob Bironas nailed five out of six field goals from 50 yards or further and 27 of 32 kicks overall.  Punter Brett Kern averaged a very respectable 45 yards per punt while Alvin Pearman averaged 10.2 yards per punt return.  The Titans will need more from their kick return game.
Projected 2010 Record            7-9
The Titans are tied with the Texans for the hardest schedule in the NFL, and the Titans lost some core veterans.  Vince Young is a gamer and Chris Johnson will continue to dominate as long as he can endure another big workload.  I don’t see the Titans being able to finish ahead of the Colts or the Texans, but will probably finish in third, ahead of the Jaguars.

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