Thanks to a huge run in free agency, the Tennessee Titans are hoping to be competitive again in 2013.
Now, they hope to use the upcoming draft to further bolster the roster as they ready for off-season work, training camp and eventually the regular season.
“I think it was just the need to improve the team and be aggressive,” General manager Ruston Webster said of Tennessee's approach to free agency. “Coming off the season we had last year, it would be tough just to remain the same. So we were able to be aggressive and get some guys that we liked.”
Owner Bud Adams gave Webster and Coach Mike Munchak the green light to do as they saw fit this off-season to retool the roster and get the Titans back into contention quickly.
“Mr. Adams wants to win, just like we all do. He's always been for me pretty good from a player standpoint,” Webster said. “That was no different this year. Munch and I were in complete agreement on what we needed to do and where we needed to go.”
In all, the Titans brought in a dozen new faces, ranging from players expected to start right away like Andy Levitre and Delanie Walker to depth and rotational players like Sammie Lee Hill, Shonn Greene to players expected to provide needed leadership like Bernard Pollard and Kevin Walter.
“Anytime you're looking at both of them and using them in combination. Free agency can bring different things. It can bring starters; it can bring depth; it can bring competition. It's really free agency and the draft working together to fill your needs and improve your team,” Webster said.
After finishing 6-10 with six of the losses by 21 points or more, the Titans knew the roster had to be upgraded and able to withstand key injuries, something that did not happen in 2012.
'We're certainly trying to get to the place where we don't get in that spot again and become more competitive and really create competition on the team,” Webster said. “Hopefully, creating competition will add up to better play on Sundays. That's what we've been trying to do and that's what we're gonna continue to try to do. You never stop scouting and trying to get better, and we'll just continue to try to do that.”
No area received more scrutiny than the offensive line, which was weak on the interior last year. The Titans added Levitre at left guard, tendered center Fernando Velasco and brought in veterans Chris Spencer and Rob Turner to battle at right guard and for depth. A draft pick to compete is not out of the question either. It was all by design, Webster said.
“We feel good about it. We've made an attempt to improve ourselves there, and I think really everything starts up front on the offensive line. That's what we tried to do,” he said. :That's what I've said all along that we were gonna put an emphasis on that position, and that's what we've made an effort to do.”
Now, the focus turns to the draft. Titans scouts are in for a week of meetings and evaluations to get the draft board ready for two weeks from now.
“Our scouts will come in this week, and we'll spend time with them this week, meeting with our coaches on a daily basis on each position and on each player, just kind of solidifying our draft board and making sure we're all on the same page going into draft day,” he said.