Earlier this offseason, Titans offensive coordinator Chris Palmer talked about the benefits of a full offseason when it came to installing his offense.
One of those benefits appears to be the use of more Run ‘N Shoot concepts into the playbook. Palmer was an assistant with the Oilers from 1990-1992 when Houston ran the offense under coordinator Kevin Gilbride and the team’s website confirms that aspects of the offense will be in evidence in Tennessee this season.
Palmer’s not the only Gilbride disciple bringing the offense back into the league. Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman has talked about Tampa using the concepts, which isn’t much of a surprise since offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan had previously been working under Gilbride as the Giants’ quarterbacks coach. With passing taking on a more expansive role in the league’s offenses, it was inevitable that teams would look for things from an offense that put up huge aerial numbers 20 years ago.
We don’t know exactly how the Titans will implement those aspects this season, but anything that moves the offense more toward spread looks would seem to benefit Jake Locker’s bid for the starting quarterback job. Locker’s ability to make plays on the move lends itself to that kind of offensive look — Freeman’s athleticism would also fit with the scheme — and that could signal the direction the Titans plan to take offensively.
It would be a very different offense from the one that helped propel Chris Johnson to his 2,006-yard season in 2009, but it doesn’t mean talk of a revitalized Johnson has been overblown. Barry Sanders had plenty of success in the scheme and getting the ball to Johnson in space with the defense spread out has the potential to be very effective.