In his first year as the Titans’ coordinator, Chris Palmer presided over a mediocre offense. But he says we haven’t really seen his offense in Tennessee yet.
According to Palmer, the difference between a full offseason this year and an offseason cut short by the lockout last year is night and day: Last year Palmer just made do with what little time he had; this year Palmer is installing his full offense.
“You couldn’t do more last year because you only had so many teaching opportunities,” Palmer said, via Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. “Now you have more teaching opportunities and more time with the players and that gives you a chance. We’ve added a couple of plays that we didn’t think we could teach last year. We’re making some tweaks here and there based on trends in the league and things that are new and trying to adapt it to our players. So far, so good.”
The biggest disappointment in the Titans’ offseason last year was running back Chris Johnson, who got even less offseason work than everyone else because he held out into training camp, and who had by far his worst season after he finally got the contract he wanted. This year, however, Palmer believes that Johnson will thrive after participating in the team’s offseason program, and will be bolstered by the addition of guard Steve Hutchinson.
“To score you have to be able to throw the ball, to win you have to be able to run,” Palmer said. “You are going to hit some bad weather and we are going to have to be able to run the ball.”
If the Titans had been able to run the ball last year, they would have been in the playoffs: Tennessee missed the postseason on a tiebreaker despite having a two-point loss in a game when Johnson carried nine times for 24 yards, a six-point loss in a game when Johnson carried 12 times for 13 yards, and a a five-point loss in a game when Johnson carried 11 times for 23 yards. If the running game had been good enough to get the Titans into the end zone one time in any one of those games, the Titans would have made the playoffs.
So if Palmer is right that the offense is sure to be better this year, that’s very good news for the Titans.