Tennessee Titans 2013 Offseason Preview

Chris Johnson and the Titans finished 2012 with a 6-10 record (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Sometimes, it is better to be stuck in the cellar than on the first floor of an NFL division. At least in the cellar, you can formulate a plan to clean house, but when a team is on the first floor, it is very difficult to make drastic changes because there still is that chance that the team can improve just enough over an offseason. The sad part is that it is very rare that a team can go from the first floor to the top floor in a season without making a quarterback or coaching change. Unfortunately for the Tennessee Titans, they are on the first floor of the AFC South and do not look like they are climbing the stairs any time soon.

Tennessee finished 6-10 last season and have made it clear that Jake Locker and head coach Mike Munchak will get another chance to prove their worth. With what they have, it will be very difficult to improve from last season. That just means they need to make some major changes at positions that don’t include quarterback and head coach.

It is obvious that Chris Johnson lacks the same running ability that he once possessed not too long ago. He can’t replicate the same speed or the type of explosion he used to have. With that said, CJ2K is still a good, if not great running back in this league and is held back (literally) by some putrid blocking from his offensive line. The position that needs the most improvement is guard. Steve Hutchinson is 35 and not the same player he once was. He was a bit of a let down last season and should be replaced. Leroy Harris is not much better and will be a free agent. They should let him walk. The Titans should use a second round pick on a guard and pick another one up in free agency.

Since we are on the topic of the running game, Tennesse might want to think about adding a running back with a power style of running to compliment Johnson. That may take some pressure off of CJ2K and open up some holes for a tired defense that has been beaten up by another back for half the game. Guys like Peyton Hillis, Cedric Benson, or even Brandon Jacobs could be available in free agency and would make sense for Johnson’s compliment.

Now, for the thing Jake Locker wants to hear the least: it’s time to start planning replacement. If I were in the Titans’ front office, I would draft a quarterback in the middle rounds to 1) give Locker some competition and 2) remind him that his days could be numbered if he does not have a great season. Another route they could take is picking up a dependable backup in free agency who can give Locker some great competition for the starting job. Matt Moore, who I have always been a big fan of, and Jason Campbell could be available and would be good options.

On to the defense. Tennessee’s biggest trouble on defense was defending the pass. They have already done something about this by signing former Buffalo Bills safety George Wilson. Wilson is a strong signing and exactly what the Titans need. Unfortunately, there is still more to do in the secondary. They have limited depth at the cornerback position and might want to think about using their first round pick on a cornerback to bolster their secondary. Other than that, they should add some depth to the linebacker and defensive end positions.

The Titans really do not have much to do to make themselves contenders, but they have to hope for a great deal to go their way. They need Locker to become a franchise quarterback, Chris Johnson to carry this offense, and their secondary to be much improved. If all of this is the case, we could be talking about Tennessee in January.

Possible Free Agents:

RB Javon Ringer
FB Qunn Johnson
TE Jared Cook
OL Fernando Velasco
OL Deuce Lutui
OL Leroy Harris
OL Kevin Matthews (RFA)
OL Kyle DeVan
DL SenDerrick Marks
DL Leger Douzable
DL Jarius Wynn
DL Keyunta Dawson
DL Dave Ball
LB Gerald McRath
LB Will Witherspoon
LB Zac Diles
CB Ryan Mouton
K Rob Bironas
KR Darius Reynaud

Draft Picks:

1st Round — #10 — Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama — The Titans need to improve the 24th ranked pass defense badly and Milliner is the guy who can do that along with the signing of George Wilson. It will be tough for Milliner to drop to #10, but if he does, this pick is a no brainer. Milliner played for Alabama, so that’s just proof that he is going to be a stud in the NFL.
2nd Round
3rd Round
4th Round
5th Round
7th Round

By: Matt Levine
E-mail: mlevine@thefootballjuice.com
Twitter: @Matt_TFJ

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