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Is this a surprise? No. The first 6-7 games of the 2012 season draws some of the better teams in the league. The Titans would likely be underdogs in 6 of the first 7 games of the season........that's a 1/3rd of the season. The rest of the season is where we will hopefully will start to pad the record.
Are we a playoff team? Probably not. It's possible, but not probable. But why? To answer this question we have to take a look at where we come from, where we are currently, and where we are going.
Let's take a look at the last 3 yrs:
2009 - 8-8 record
2010 - 6-10
2011 - 9-7
The last 3 yrs we've been a middle of the road NFL team. Why not higher? Well, let's take a look at the higher ranked teams.
-Top 10 - Patriots, Giants, Ravens, Steelers, Packers, Saints, 49ers, etc. These teams have top level QB's, defenses, and/or coaching. Their rosters are sprinkled with impressive potential, perenniel pro-bowlers, hall-of-famers, and proven playmakers.
-Middle 10 - Most have "decent" QB's and/or good defenses. You don't see the amount of talent seen in the top.
-Bottom 10-12 - Most struggle to field the components above.
"So what components do the Titans have?"
1. QB? - While the cupboard is not bare, it is far from elite. The Titans can field 2 average QB's at this time. Hass is an aging veteran who's better days are behind him. Locker is a young, inexperienced QB with decent potential. Locker has some ability to succeed right now, but very much needs help from the rest of the team. Grade C.
2. Coaching? - Munchak is basically a sophomore. He is far, far, far from proven as a head coach, but showed potential in his first yr and has excelled at the assistant levels. He has impressive potential. Grade C.
3. Proven elite level talent and/or playmakers? - CJ, Roos, Stewart, and possibly the aging Hutch is where the list stops. They have some guys with potential, but clearly there are many rosters that are thought to be better. Grade C.
"So what areas do they need to improve?"
All of last season the Titans lacked a pass rush and Munchak publicly called out the interior 3 o-linemen for the lack of production. So easily the team's biggest needs were DE and C/G going into the 2012 offseason.
"So what was done to correct these issues?"
-DE: They brought in Wimbley to play DE which almost assuredly boosted the DE's, but then let Jason Jones go. This is a head scratcher since Jones was one of the better DE's the Titans had on their roster and he wasn't going to be too expensive to keep. They also courted some lower level DE's, but didn't sign any. Overall offseason grade to fix the problem.......D+. Wimbley is a great addition, but they let Jones go and didn't even sniff at a draft pick except for their last pick.
-G/C: What is the definition of confusion? Imagine signing your stud RB to a massive contract. Following the contract signing he runs for the lowest amount in his career. Your hall of fame ex-olineman, turned fantantic o-line coach....now your head coach says publicly that the team needs to revamp their interior o-line. During the off-season you bring in a plethora of guys that could work. You only sign 1 guy.....who will turn 36 during the season. You have a shot at your choice of the best C or G in the draft........and you don't take either......as a matter of fact you don't take any interior o-lineman. Grade F+. Technically an F+ is not a grade since it is failing, but Hutch is a very good lineman that has some gas left in his tank, so he's the plus. But they failed this offseason.
"So what offseason moves did we make?"
-We let our top 10 CB in Finn go to free agency.
-We drafted a really impressive looking WR in Kendall Wright.
-We signed Hutch as a very temporary bandaid over a gunshot wound
-Overall we had a good draft class except that they didn't address any of the team needs
"So what are we seeing now and what is there to build off of?"
-We still need to revamp the interior o-line......all of them.
-We still need a pass rushing DE
-Locker has looked ok, but has a lot of work to do to become a franchise QB....and he needs help. He would look much better with a running game leading the attack.
-McCarthy is easily emerging as a LB to build a defense around
"So what can we expect this season?"
-With Indy and the Jags being down I think we can get back to 8-8.......plus or minus a game.
"So what can we expect in the future?"
-We would be a playoff contender this yr if we'd taken care of our team needs. So we would certainly be a contender next yr if we take care of the o-line and pass rush.
-The Titans roster is filled with a bunch of younger talent. If we take care of what the team needs and Locker develops as we all hope he will, then we may be looking at a top 10 team in the next 2-3 yrs.
You make some solid points. Love the analysis, BlueRaider22.
247Sports: Your team all the time.
I agree with you that the Titans did not address our immediate needs in the offseason or the draft. I think the secondary has to be added to the list of problem spots, especially our two safeties. Blaine Bishop made some good points post game that he believes Robert Johnson is playing too far back and is often lost. He suggested putting Babineaux back into the lineup and moving Griffin back to his original position. Sounds like an idea worth trying to me.
I'm not surprised to see us 0-2 either but I expected us to be more competitive and be improved in areas we were weak last year. I feel that they have taken a few steps back.
I'm really disappointed this team has no fire or spark. They don't look like they want to win. Who are the leaders on this team? You may be right that in 2-3 years this team could be a threat but only if they address the deficiencies. It's impossible to overcome a poor O-line. And frankly, two games into the season, the last thing I want to think about is draft picks. Coaches get paid big bucks to find a way to win in this league. Munch needs put on his big boy pants and find a way to put a competitive product on the field, lack of elite talent and all.
Great analysis i couldnt agree more
Aside from developing an effective running game,Going forward Chris Palmer needs to open the playbook up and force defenses to defend all our weapons at rb,wr,te and show that Jake will throw the deep ball anytime,from any point on the field to "take the top off" the defense.8 in the box and 1 on 1 coverage on the outside,lets audible and go DEEP.The defense has to stop the run or nothing will improve.Moving Griffin around shows that Jerry is trying to find spot where Griffin is effective.Aside from flat out benching Griffin, I personally would try to move him back to CORNER or nickle corner and bring BABS back to SS.We are a very young team but We need some leaders to emerge as the season progresses on both sides of the ball
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