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Team needs: Tennessee Titans

Jerry Gray, Mike Munchak AP

The Titans enter the 2011 draft in makeover mode. They’ve publicly parted with onetime franchise quarterback Vince Young, also bidding farewell to coach Jeff Fisher and both of his coordinators. Replacing Fisher is Mike Munchak, a Hall of Fame guard from the organization’s Houston days. As a former lineman and line coach, Munchak figures to stay the course with a run-first philosophy on offense. But his biggest need is obviously in the pass game.

QB: Young will be released or traded after the draft, the former scenario appearing far more likely since “V.Y.” is due $12.75 million in 2011, a sum no other team will be willing to pay. Kerry Collins, who has 28 starts over the past three seasons, is a free agent entering his age-39 campaign. 2010 sixth-round pick Rusty Smith clearly isn’t ready. The Titans have shown a ton of pre-draft interest in Jake Locker, Andy Dalton, and Colin Kaepernick. Locker is a dark-horse possibility for the No. 8 pick. Tennessee may have to trade back into the late first round for Kaepernick or Dalton.

OG: For a guy talked up as having potential to become one of the “top offensive linemen in franchise history” last summer, left guard Leroy Harris has been a major disappointment and is now a free agent. ┬áControversy regarding Tennessee’s decision to not re-sign Kevin Mawae was exacerbated by replacement center Eugene Amano’s struggles. Overall, the 2010 edition of interior run blocking was the worst we’ve witnessed in Nashville in quite some time. Tailback Chris Johnson felt the effects, his yards-per-carry average tumbling to a career-low 4.32. Johnson averaged a full yard better in his first two NFL seasons combined.

S: It’s going to be hard for the Titans to justify keeping strong safety Chris Hope. Turning 31 in September, Hope is due a $6.5 million salary, picked off one pass in 16 starts last season, and is mediocre at best in coverage. Underrated 2010 sixth-round pick Robert Johnson and special teamer Nick Schommer are in-house options to replace Hope, but neither is proven. At free safety, inconsistent former first-rounder Michael Griffin enters a contract year.

DL: Tennessee does not lack talent on the defensive line, but there are underlying question marks. Formerly the team’s top interior tackle, Tony Brown’s knee problems have become chronic, and 2010 first-round pick Derrick Morgan is coming off a torn left ACL. While starting left end William Hayes is a sound run defender, nickel rusher Jacob Ford’s contract is up. 2010 sacks leader Jason Babin, another free agent, may not return as the Titans look to get bigger at end. Tennessee is commonly linked to Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley in mock drafts.

Overview: The Titans may also lose middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch to free agency, and wide receiver is suddenly a concern following Kenny Britt’s latest brush with the law.

Tennessee has average talent at worst. At best, this is an above-average roster. As is always the case, it can get a lot better in a hurry if the Titans find a viable replacement for Young. There is at least passable talent in place at most every other position.

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6 Responses to “Team needs: Tennessee Titans”
  1. italyprodigy says: Apr 16, 2011 12:53 PM

    Everything but a running back? Even he dipped a little this past year, they are going to need to get someone to take some carries for johnson or he will larry johnson within the next four seasons or so. He’s not built Stephen Jackson or Adrian Peterson style. I’d say Michael Turner as well but he just looks like he has the body of an offensive lineman on some very top notch steroids. No offense Michael Turner. (if your reading this).

  2. nabz034 says: Apr 16, 2011 1:01 PM

    What they need is a metal detector for whoever they draft.

  3. Deb says: Apr 16, 2011 1:14 PM

    After all the either/or drama, the Titans wind up dumping both Fisher and Young. And after all the drama about Favre’s age, seems like Collins crept up on 40 when no one was looking.

    Munchak needs to think long and hard before committing to Nick Fairley. He was an aggressive college player–beast on the field. But he’s demonstrated a lazy post-season attitude that should send up red flags to potential employers. More important for the Titans, he’s already got a reputation as a player who committed a lot of personal fouls in college that will be flagged in the NFL. Munchak might want to avoid bringing in a guy that will continue Fisher’s legacy of questionable tactics. Fairley should go in the first round, and this team has bigger needs.

  4. ezmoover says: Apr 16, 2011 1:27 PM

    TEN sure sounds like a franchise in disarray that could use a good stabilizing force.

    Maybe a proven, solid HC like Jeff Fisher.

    Oooops. Nevermind.

    Titans are a mess.

  5. thefiesty1 says: Apr 16, 2011 2:06 PM

    They need to take Kaepernick in the second round if they don’t sign VY. Collins is done and can barely back up anyone. Bud Adams screwed the Titans with his handling of the Fisher/Young fiasco. Whoever they take there better be a premier receiver that VY never had.

  6. drbandkgb says: Apr 16, 2011 9:55 PM

    Rusty has some potential… He has a big arm.. But how can you expect going from the #3 to the #1 in 2 weeks and your ready… Id like to see him get a chance… Id bring Collins back for one final lap..
    Your not going to win this year.. or at best I see us with a 8-8 season.. If we have one.. Collins could lead us one last time… No way do I give this team to a Rookie.. Draft O linemen and some Corners ASAP!

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