NFL Preview '11: Tennessee Titans
Both the Jeff Fisher and Vince Young eras are over in Tennessee. There appeared to be hope for both after an 8-2 finish to the 2009 season but 2010 offered a complete reversal with the Titans ending the year 2-8.
Not surprisingly the Titans released Young and did not re-sign Kerry Collins. So quarterback became the focus of the offseason with the signing of Matt Hasselbeck and the selection of Jake Locker with Tennessee's first round pick. A stable quarterback situation should only help Kenny Britt, Tennessee's number one receiver who notched nine TDs in 12 games last year. But now the Titans face another serious issue: the Chris Johnson holdout. Tennessee's superstar running back wants superstar money and thus has missed the entire preseason. After a 2,000 yard season in '09 Johnson slipped to "only" 1,364 yards last year. Getting Johnson in the fold is imperative to Tennessee's 2011 season.
Things are just as unsettled on the defensive side of the ball where the Titans must replace two key members of the 2010 roster. Defensive end Jason Babin led the team with 12 1/2 sacks but departed for Philadelphia in free agency. 2010 leading tackler Stephen Tulloch is also gone, having left for Detroit. This puts the emphasis on players like Dave Ball who had seven sacks and rookie linebacker Akeem Ayers. Secondary will again be a point of emphasis after the Titans finished 29th versus the pass in 2010.
Mike Munchak takes over for Fisher, whose tenure stretched all the way back to the Houston Oilers days. Just three years ago the Titans had the best record in the AFC but most of the key players from that year are gone. Getting Johnson up to regular season speed will be the first priority once he is signed but even another monster year likely won't save the Titans. Improving from 6-10 is very possible but the glory of 2008 is long gone.