Takeaways From The Titans Preseason
By Mike Edler
Another preseason ends and the Titans came out on top of only one contest. The Titans finished the preseason 1-3, but that win did come against the Atlanta Falcons in the most important game of the preseason. The Titans gave us some things to look forward to and some things that are still glaring problems. What did we actually learn from this team through four scrimmages?
Offensive Line Will Be Great:
Through the four games the Titans offensive line- easily- looked like the most complete unit on the team. With the new interior of Chance Warmack, Rob Turner and Andy Levitre, it looks like the Titans have put their blocking woes behind them. With David Stewart and Michael Roos as bookend tackles, they provide experience and consistency to team that lacked both last year. The highlight of the preseason for this unit was keeping a very good Bengals defense away from Jake Locker and making lanes for Chris Johnson. This is no easy feat with players like Geno Atkins and Michael Johnson lined up against you. Half the battle on offense is keeping the defensive front seven away from the quarterback and if the Titans can consistently achieve that, it will make Locker’s life much easier.
We Don’t Know Who Is Calling Plays On Defense:
I truly believe Gregg Williams and Jerry Gray were actually competing for play calling duties through the four games this preseason. Against the Redskins and Bengals we saw a much more conservative Jerry Gray look to most of the sets and against the Falcons there were many Gregg Williams combo blitz packages and full house sets. Clearly we saw what worked better of the two. I think Williams and Gray will continue to have an unofficial co-coordinator role, but it looked like Williams' plays were more effective. The team looked to respond better in the Falcons game and aggressive play calling is the type of scheme players like Bernard Pollard and Jurrell Casey have responded to. I don’t believe this defense is a top 10 unit just yet, but they will cause turnovers, they will be very aggressive and they will be very improved upon last years embarrassing unit.
This Team Is Most Likely Still A Year Away (And That's Not Good):
The Titans have shown flashes that they can be a special and different team in the league. A run first team with great offensive and defensive line play to improve the talent of the players around them. We saw a team like this have success only a few years ago with Mark Sanchez and the Jets. I believe Locker is better than Sanchez, the Titans line is better than those Jets and with Williams, the Titans defense can be equal to the Jets. Unfortunately Mike Munchak and Jake Locker don’t have another year to burn with Bud Adams as owner. This team isn’t built to truly contend right now and would benefit greatly from a year of soaking in the new system and making a run next season, but the clock is almost at midnight. If this team comes out slow against the Steelers, Texans, Chargers and Jets, it could be the end of Munchak and Locker. A possible 1-3 or 0-4 record could spark a desperate move with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback and possibly Gregg Williams as interim head coach. I think this team could be a AFC contender with another solid draft in 2014, but with Adams impatience, the Titans might need to win 9 to 10 games to save Munchak and Locker and, although I believe it's possible, I do not believe it is the most likely scenario.