NFL

Tennessee Titans

Division: AFC SouthGM: Ruston WebsterHead Coach: Mike Munchak
2012: 6-10 (3rd AFC South)vs. division 1-5
Points20.6 (23rd)
Yards313.1 (26th)
Pass Yards207.7 (22nd)
Rush Yards105.4 (21st)

Carrying The Load

Key Additions

LG A.Levitre, RB S.Greene,
TE D.Walker, S B.Pollard, DT S.Hill
S G.Wilson, QB R.Fitzpatrick

Key Subtractions

TE J.Cook, QB M.Hasselbeck,
LB W.Witherspoon

Since Chris Johnson’s ‘CJ2K’ season of 2009, when the speedy running back joined the exclusive 2,000 yards rushing club, he’s struggled to regain that historic form.

His numbers the past three seasons are still more than adequate (averaging more than 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns), but knowing what he’s capable of doing, fans in Tennessee are always going to want, or rather expect, more from the 27-year-old.

If he is ever to regain his 2,000-yard form, this could be the year. Johnson has used a number of excuses the past three years to explain his drop in production, most memorably his leaky offensive line, but the Titans have made efforts to eliminate them.

As much as the team needs Jake Locker to grow into a legitimate NFL starter, Johnson is still the Titans’ meal ticket to success. The East Carolina product remains the most important player in Tennessee.

Johnson’s path to the end zone should be clearer this year with the additions of two road graders on the offensive line, guards Andy Levitre and Chance Warmack. Levitre, a proven vet, comes to Tennessee via Buffalo after signing a six-year contract in the off-season while Warmack, made famous in the NCAA National Championship with Alabama, was selected 10th overall in this May’s draft.

Levitre and Warmack join former Pro Bowl left tackle Michael Roos in what should be an improved offensive line for Johnson in 2013.

All that said, Locker taking the next step in his development would of course be of great benefit to the Titans’ offence as well. Locker started 11 games in his sophomore season with less than inspiring numbers. The 25-year-old finished 2012 with 2,176 yards, 10 touchdowns to 11 interceptions, and a 56.4 percent completion rate.

Unlike his first two seasons, Locker will enter Year Three as the unquestioned starter and should be given every opportunity to grow with the offence.

And it’s an offence worth growing with. We’ve touched on Johnson and the running game; there are a number of intriguing receivers on the roster as well.

Last year’s first round pick Kendall Wright had a strong opening campaign. Playing in 15 games and starting five, Wright caught 64 passes for 626 yards and four scores. The 23-year-old will be joined by another promising youngster in second-rounder Justin Hunter.

Nate Washington is a solid and underrated veteran, one that’s become a trusted target in his four years with the Titans, and the hope remains the enigmatic Kenny Britt’s production level finally meets his skill level.

Britt has yet to complete a full season in the NFL in his career, losing games to suspension and injury, but has shown glimpses of game changing talent. Coming off 589 yards and four touchdowns in 11 starts in 2012, the 24-year-old will hope to string together a full 16 games for Tennessee (being in a contract year never hurts in that regard.)

Locker’s safety net goes from Matt Hasselbeck last year to Ryan Fitzpatrick this year, but with the bevy of breakout-potential receivers at his disposal and Johnson having a clearer path to regaining his once electric form, the team’s goal on offence is for that to not matter. (-Ben Fisher, TSN.ca)

Analysis: Warmack was the second guard taken in the draft behind Jonathan Cooper, but it easily could have been the other way around. The Alabama blocker is an elite prospect and likely future Pro Bowler. Warmack joins a revamped Titans' offensive line that will try to help Chris Johnson get back to producing at an elite level... Hunter joins a crowded Titans' receiving corps, but he has the skillset to compete for playing time. Hunter has the height and leaping ability to win jump balls downfield, but his first step will be adding weight, so he can battle with press corners. (-TSN.ca)

Round 1 10th overall Chance Warmack OG Alabama
Round 2 34th overall Justin Hunter WR Tennessee
Round 3 70th overall Blidi Wreh-Wilson CB Connecticut
Round 3 97th overall Zaviar Gooden OLB Missouri
Round 4 107th overall Brian Schwenke C California
Round 5 142nd overall Lavar Edwards DE LSU
Round 6 202nd overall Khalid Wooten CB Nevada
Round 7 248th overall Daimion Stafford SS Nebraska

Defensive Liabilities

The team’s defence finished in the bottom third in all major statistical categories and it’s hard to see the unit making much of an improvement this season. Little was done to strengthen defensive personnel this off-season in both free agency and the draft, with the Titans inking only a few noteworthy free agents and not addressing the unit in the draft until the third round.

AFC SOUTH PROJECTIONS

Texans (12-4)

Division Winner once again


Colts (9-7)

Lose tiebreaker, miss playoffs


Jaguars (3-13)

Need to find a quarterback


Titans (3-13)

Time to upgrade on defence

Veterans Bernard Pollard, fresh from a Super Bowl win with the Baltimore Ravens, and George Wilson join mainstay Michael Griffin, a former Pro Bowler, to fortify the secondary while Sammie Lee Hill was signed from Detroit to help out on the defensive line.

The linebacking corps will have to move on without Will Witherspoon, who returned to St. Louis in a mentorship role. The Titans are expected to roll with promising young players Zach Brown and Akeem Ayers on the outside, and the injury prone Colin McCarthy in the middle.

Pollard, Wilson, and Hill are all nice players but they’re more supplemental pieces for a defence in need of game changers. What the team has done on defence this off-season likely isn’t enough to turn the most porous unit in the league in terms of points against, into a respectable one.

There is some potential on offence but overall the roster doesn’t have enough talent to get excited about in 2013. Maybe Locker makes the leap in his third year in the league, but Tennessee’s fortunes are still tied more closely to Johnson at running back, who will need to return to CJ2K for the Titans to have any chance at the playoffs this season. (-Ben Fisher, TSN.ca)

OFFENCE

DEFENCE

LT

M. Roos
M. Otto
B. Richardson

LG

A. Levitre
C. Spencer
K. Studdard

C

F. Velasco
B. Scwenke
E. Atkinson

RG

C. Warmack
R. Turner
O. Johnson

RT

D. Stewart
B. Stingly
D. Balridge

WR1

N. Washington
K. Wright
K. Walter
M. Mariani

TE

D. Walker
T. Thompson
B. Barden
M. Webb

WR2

K. Britt
D. Williams
J. Hunter
M. Preston

QB

J. Locker
R. Fitzpatrick
R. Smith

FB

C. Stevens
Q. Johnson
C. Mooney

RB

C. Johnson
S. Greene
D. Reynaud
J. Parmele


Special Teams: K R. Bironas, P B. Kern, KR M. Mariani, PR M. Mariani

Fantasy - By The Numbers

Despite rushing for 1,243 yards last season, RB Chris Johnson was murder for fantasy owners because he rushed for fewer than 25 yards in four of his first five games. While he's a far cry from the 2,006-yard rusher of 2009, he's still run for 3,654 yards in the three years since, fourth-most in the league.

Get ready for the fantasy season with the latest from TSN.ca.
Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | DEF
Fantasy Schedules: AFC | NFC
2013 Auction Values: Cheat Sheet
Fantasy Depth Charts: AFC | NFC

Naturally, the Titans' offensive production lies with QB Jake Locker and he hasn't proven enough to be confident that those involved in the Tennessee passing game will put up big fantasy numbers. Any of their wide receivers will have some appeal, but some questions too. Second-year WR Kendall Wright was targeted a lot as a rookie, but averaged only 9.8 yards per catch. Kenny Britt is a big-play threat who can't stay in the lineup, either due to injuries or discipline issues. Veteran WR Nate Washington has 1,769 yards and 11 touchdowns in two seasons with the Titans, but seems to be the fallback position once others (like Britt) fail.

The secondary provides the most value for the Tennessee D, with CB Jason McCourty and veteran SS Bernard Pollard productive enough to start for most fantasy teams. The Titans are defending enough that CB Alterraun Verner and FS Michael Griffin also make enough tackles to be considered. OLB Zach Brown did a bit of everything as a rookie, in on 92 total tackles, 5.5 sacks and three interceptions. (-Scott Cullen)

WK AGAINST DATE WK AGAINST DATE
1 @ Sun, Sep. 8, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 10 vs Sun, Nov. 10, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
2 @ Sun, Sep. 15, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 11 vs Thu, Nov 14, 8:25pm et/5:25pm pt
3 vs Sun, Sep. 22, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 12 @ Sun, Nov. 24, 4:05pm et/1:05pm pt
4 vs Sun, Sep. 29, 4:05pm et/1:05pm pt 13 @ Sun, Dec. 1, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
5 vs Sun, Oct. 6, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 14 @ Sun, Dec. 8, 4:05pm et/1:05pm pt
6 @ Sun, Oct. 13, 4:05pm et/1:05pm pt 15 vs Sun, Dec 15, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
7 vs Sun, Oct. 20, 4:05pm et/1:05am pt 16 @ Sun, Dec 22, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
8   BYE WEEK 17 vs Sun, Dec 29, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
9 @ Sun, Nov. 3, 1:00pm et/ 10:00am et      



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