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2013 TENNESSEE TITANS PREVIEW

July 1, 2013
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



Tennessee Titans (1999 - Pres)

 

2013 TENNESSEE TITANS FOOTBALL PREVIEW 

LAST YEAR: 6-10, 3RD IN AFC SOUTH 

HEAD COACH: MIKE MUNCHAK, 3RD YEAR

 

The Titans weren’t a very good football team in 2012.  You can tell by their sub .500 record and their lack of production in just about every area possible.  The Titans were 26th in total offense, 27th in total defense, 21st in running the football, 22nd in passing, 24th in stopping the run and 26th in pass defense.  If Tennessee is to make a move on Houston and Indianapolis this season, they will have to improve across the board.  But don’t fret Titans fans, Tennessee did make several moves to make sure they will be a better football team when the season kicks-off September 8th at Pittsburgh. 

Tennessee had to upgrade their offensive line to give QB Jake Locker better protection and RB Chris Johnson a better line to run behind.  The Titans signed the best guard on the market in Andy Levitre from Buffalo and drafted the best guard in the draft in Chance Warmack out of Alabama.  Warmack is a dominant run blocker who has a solid track record of blocking for very good running backs at Alabama.  Chris Spencer and Rob Turner were also signed to add depth on the offensive line.  

The Titans also addressed the receiving corp by adding Justin Hunter in the second round out of Tennessee.  Hunter was considered the most athletic receiver in the draft but may not be 100% ater tearing his ACL two seasons ago.  Hunter will team with Nate Washington, Kenny Britt and Kendall Wright to provide more options for Locker.  

RB Chris Johnson will be the main back for the Titans again in 2013 but Tennessee added Shonn Greene to take some of the pressure off of Johnson.   Johnson hasn’t come close to the back he was a couple of years ago. 

Tennessee’s defense may not be much better than it was in 2012.  They did very little to improve its pass rush defense.  The Titans did get at least six sacks from Akeem Ayers, Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley, but they lack a marquee pass rusher.  The linebackers are young and solid led by Colin McCarthy, Ayers, Zach Brown and 3rd round selection Zaviar Gooden out of Missouri.  The defensive backfield got a boost with the signing of S Bernard Pollard from the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens.   Pollard will be a welcome addition after losing Cortland Finnegan to St. Louis.   George Wilson was also signed to provide depth. In the third round, the Titans drafted Blidi Wreh-Wilson out of UConn.  Wreh-Wilson is a physical, athletic corner who could see playing time right away.  

All of this said, the Titans will only go as far as Locker will take them.  He is running out of excuses and now with a better offensive line and better receivers, there’s really no excuse why the Titans shouldn’t be a better team in 2013.

 Tennessee Titans (1999 - Pres)

 

2012 SEASON IN REVIEW: 

TOTAL OFFENSE:  313.1 (26TH

RUN OFFENSE: 105.4 (21ST

PASS OFFENSE: 207.7 (22ND

TOTAL DEFENSE: 374.9 (27TH

RUN DEFENSE: 127.2 (24TH

PASS DEFENSE: 247.8 (26TH)

 Tennessee Titans (1999 - Pres)

 

2013 TITANS DRAFT:

 

Draft Picks

  • Chance Warmack, guard, Alabama — Round 1 (10)
  • Justin Hunter, wide receiver, Tennessee — Round 2 (34)
  • Blidi Wreh-Wilson, cornerback, Connecticut — Round 3 (70)
  • Zavier Gooden, linebacker, Missouri — Round 3 (97)
  • Brian Schwenke, guard, Cal — Round 4 (107)
  • Lavar Edwards, defensive end, LSU — Round 5 (142)
  • Khalid Wooten, cornerback, Nevada — Round 6 (202)
  • Daimon Stafford, safety, Nebraska — Round 7 (248)
  •  
  •  
  • First Round, 10th Overall: Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
  • I could not tell you how angry and annoyed I was last year when the Titans passed on current Steelers guard David DeCastro in order to draft Kendall Wright. Wright ended up having a decent season last year, but guard has been a huge need for this team since 2009.
  • Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
  • Finally, the Titans addressed their need. Or, to quote Chris Johnson on Twitter, "THANK GOD."
  •  With both starters from last year gone, the Titans addressed one-half of that problem with the signing of Andy Levitre, so many people believed that it was unnecessary to draft a guard.
  • There's just one tiny, seemingly insignificant problem with that statement: Levitre can't play both guard positions at the same time.
  • That's where Warmack came in. Initially, I had wanted the Titans to draft the more versatile and athletic Jonathan Cooper out of North Carolina, who can play both guard and center. However, head coach Mike Munchak and general manager Ruston Webster stated that Warmack was going to be the pick even if Cooper was still on the board.
  • Warmack is an absolute mauler. He is a great run blocker, something the Titans have lacked in the interior offensive line over the past three seasons. He also is pretty solid in pass protection.
  • Some believe that the Titans could have traded back for more picks and selected Warmack, but with all of the other offensive linemen drafted in the first round, it's a very big possibility that Warmack would not have been available depending on who the Titans traded with.
  • Some consider this to be way too early to select a guard, but this was by far the Titans' biggest need, and Warmack is definitely capable of starting right away.
  • This pick gives the Titans quite possibly the best offensive line in football right now.
     
  • Grade: A+
  •  
  • Second Round, 34th Overall: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
  •  The Titans traded up with the San Francisco 49ers in order to select the athletic Hunter in exchange for a seventh-round pick later in this draft and a third-round pick in next year's draft.
  • Hunter tore his ACL in 2011 but bounced back and had a phenomenal year at the University of Tennessee. At 6'4", 196 pounds, he has a rare combination of size and speed and could end up being the vertical threat that Jake Locker needs.
  • Don't get me wrong. Overall, I thought this was a solid pick, but I have just three issues with it.
  • For one, even though some (including the Titans' front office) gave Hunter a first-round grade, I don't think the Titans really needed to trade up in order to pick up Hunter. I could be wrong about that, but I feel that Southern California wide receiver Robert Woods was more of a priority than Hunter. That's just my opinion though.
  • Secondly, the Titans were in a huge need for a defensive end who could also slide in at defensive tackle on passing downs. Florida State defensive end Cornelius "Tank" Carradine fit that bill perfectly and could have benefited the Titans' defense in the long-term.
  • Ironically, the 49ers selected him with the pick that the Titans traded.
  • Lastly, I overall just did not see wide receiver as an immediate need. Considering the amount of depth the Titans have at receiver, this pick shows me two things:
  • 1. The Titans do not trust Kenny Britt health-wise or off-the-field issue wise.
  • 2. Nate Washington is likely on his way out of Tennessee by way of trade or being released.
  • Still, even omitting those two, you still have Kendall Wright, Damian Williams and Lavelle Hawkins on the roster, all of whom have a lot of potential.
  • At the end of the day, this was still a solid pick, but I just feel that other needs could have been addressed with it.
  • Grade: B-
  •  
  • Third Round, 70th Overall: Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, Connecticut
  •  Cornerback was not a huge need for the Titans, but with the ineptitude in the slot and with the secondary as a whole just being horrible last year, this was a necessary pick. 
  • I originally had the Titans drafting Darius Slay out of Mississippi State with this pick, but he ended up going early in the second round. Wreh-Wilson isn't at all a bad consolation prize, especially when some considered him a first-round talent.
  • He's a solid zone cornerback, and while he isn't exactly a playmaker, he's very capable of taking a No. 2 receiver on.
  • The Titans like to bump Alterraun Verner into the slot in their nickel packages, so it's very likely that Wreh-Wilson will get to play as the No. 2 corner in certain situations.
  • Of course, first, he'll have to beat out Tommie Campbell and Coty Sensabaugh for the No. 3 job, but, with his size and athletic ability, Wreh-Wilson will likely wrestle away that job.
  • Grade: A-
  •  
  • Third Round, 97th Overall: Zaviar Gooden, OLB, Missouri
  •  I had Gooden mocked to the Titans in the fourth round, but they decided to reach out to get him with the last pick of Day 2 of the draft.
  • Some people questioned this pick due to the fact that the Titans already have their future at linebacker set with outside linebackers Akeem Ayers and Zach Brown and middle linebacker Colin McCarthy.
  • However, the Titans have very little depth, and with the selection of Gooden, they are able to be more flexible defensively while also having depth.
  • Gooden is very similar to Brown in that he is a speedy linebacker. He ran a 4.47 40-time at the combine and actually had a solid Senior Bowl after having a disappointing season.
  • The Titans could use Gooden in passing situations which could open up the possibility of Ayers lining up at defensive end in such situations.
  • This was a solid pick in the third round, although the Titans probably could have gotten him in the fourth.
  • Grade: B+
  •  
  • Fourth Round, 107th Overall: Brian Schwenke, G/C, California
  •  A lot of people initially complained about this selection because Alabama's Barrett Jones was still on the board. Those people honestly are just buying into the Alabama hype, or they believe Jones would flourish next to Warmack.
  • Schwenke was the better pick here and probably should have gone in the third round.
  • Last season, Schwenke was the only California offensive lineman to not allow a sack or a quarterback pressure.
  • That speaks volumes of Schwenke's skills at pass protection, something that the Titans' offensive line struggled with last season.
  • Schwenke likely will have to battle Fernando Velasco, Eugene Amano, Rob Turner and Chris Spencer for the center position, but signs point to him likely starting.
  • The Titans may have gotten a steal with this pick.
  • Grade: A-
  •  
  • Fifth Round, 142nd Overall: Lavar Edwards, DE, LSU
  •  This was a little late to address the need at defensive end but better late than never.
  • Edwards was the main backup at defensive end for LSU behind Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery. Because of that, Edwards had a hard time showing his abilities. He still was a contributor last season as well as the two previous seasons.
  • The Titans needed depth at defensive end, and they certainly got it. With Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley being mostly pass-rushers, you could make the argument that Edwards is currently the Titans most complete defensive end.
  • Whether that's true or not, this was still a great selection considering the value.
  • Grade: B+
  •  
  • Sixth Round, 202nd Overall: Khalid Wooten, CB/S, Nevada
  • I'm not too surprised that the Titans double-dipped at corner considering their struggles at the cornerback position.
  • Wooten has a good combination of size, strength, speed and is a solid tackler, something the Titans lacked last season, primarily in the secondary.
  • His biggest problem is reading the offense. Sometimes he struggles with anticipating routes which could lead to trouble.
  • He's also able to play safety and can return kicks as well. That versatility could benefit him down the road when it comes to making the final 53-man roster.
  • Wooten likely will start as a special teamer but could find his way onto the field and could end up battling for the nickel cornerback position.
  • Grade: B
  •  
  • Seventh Round, 248th Overall: Daimion Stafford, S, Nebraska
  • Some people saw safety as a big need for the Titans and felt that the position should have been addressed a lot earlier. I don't see it that way, but if you do, this was another case of "better late than never."
  • Stafford had two solid seasons at Nebraska and made his mark as a solid run-stopper as well as a heavy hitter in the secondary.
  • His biggest area of concern is over-pursuit. Sometimes he can be a bit overzealous in the run game and will completely overrun the play, missing the ball carrier.
  • With Bernard Pollard and George Wilson among the eight other safeties on the roster, it will be tough for Stafford to make the final roster, but he isn't exactly a long-shot considering how bad Michael Griffin was last season and how many unknowns they have at the position.
  • Based on value alone, this was a solid pick.
  • Grade: B
  •  
  • Overall
  •  This was the best draft the Titans have had in years. They finally addressed a huge need at guard that they have had since Kevin Mawae's retirement after the 2009 season which ultimately lead to Eugene Amano moving to center, and they might have the steal of the draft with Schwenke in the fourth round.
  • The only really questionable pick was Hunter, only because of the feeling that they needed to trade up to get him. I think Hunter himself was a good selection for the team.
  • Wreh-Wilson and Wooten definitely can compete for the slot cornerback position, and Edwards could end up being the Titans' best defensive end.
  • Out of this draft, with the additions of Warmack and Schwenke, this may end up being the best offensive line in football by seasons end, and with Hunter, this could be one of the best receiving corps in the league, so long as Jake Locker stays healthy.
  • All in all, a great draft for a team that has struggled with drafting over the past few years.
  • Overall Grade: A-

Tennessee Titans (1999 - Pres)

 

 

2013 TENNESSEE SCHEDULE

 

Sept. 8: at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m.

Sept. 15: at Houston Texans, 1 p.m.

Sept. 22: vs. San Diego Chargers, 1 p.m.

Sept. 29: vs. New York Jets, 4:05 p.m.

Oct. 6: vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m.

Oct. 13: at Seattle Seahawks, 4:05 p.m.

Oct. 20: vs. San Francisco 49ers, 4:05 p.m.

Oct. 27: Bye

Nov. 3: at St. Louis Rams, 1 p.m.

Nov. 10: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m.

Nov. 14: vs. Indianapolis Colts, 8:25 p.m.

Nov. 24: at Oakland Raiders, 4:05 p.m.

Dec. 1: at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m.

Dec. 8: at Denver Broncos, 4:05 p.m.

Dec. 15: vs. Arizona Cardinals, 1 p.m.

Dec. 22: at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m.

Dec. 29: vs. Houston Texans, 1 p.m.

 Tennessee Titans (1999 - Pres)

 

 

2013 TENNESSEE ROSTER

 

Active

                       

  

#

  
  

Name

  
  

Pos.

  
  

Ht.

  
  

Wt.

  
  

Age

  
  

Exp.

  
  

College

  

38

Afalava, Al

S

5-11

212

26

4

Oregon State

22

Alexander, Alvester

RB

5-11

204

22

1

Wyoming

72o

Atkinson, Eloy

C

6-3

315

23

R

Texas-El Paso

56

Ayers, Akeem

LB

6-3

254

23

3

UCLA

57

Bailey, Patrick

LB

6-4

235

27

6

Duke

40

Baker, George

CB

5-11

180

23

R

South Florida

79o

Baldridge, Daniel

T

6-8

308

27

2

Marshall

81

Barden, Brandon

TE

6-5

246

24

1

Vanderbilt

2

Bironas, Rob

K

6-0

210

35

9

GA Southern/Aub

3

Bonani, Maikon

K

5-10

176

24

R

South Florida

19

Borel, Diondre

WR

6-0

199

24

1

Utah State

48

Brinkley, Beau

LS/TE

6-5

225

23

2

Missouri

18

Britt, Kenny

WR

6-3

215

24

5

Rutgers

55

Brown, Zach

LB

6-2

230

23

2

North Carolina

37

Campbell, Tommie

DB

6-3

205

25

3

California (PA)

99

Casey, Jurrell

DT

6-1

300

23

3

USC

78

Charles, Stefan

DT

6-5

302

25

R

Regina

69

Clayton, Zach

DT

6-2

299

25

2

Auburn

75

Dawson, Keyunta

DE

6-3

265

27

6

Texas Tech

46

Doyle, Jack

TE

6-6

253

23

R

Western Kentucky

98

Edwards, Lavar

DE

6-4

277

23

R

Louisiana State

7

Enderle, Nathan

QB

6-4

240

25

2

Idaho

4

Fitzpatrick, Ryan

QB

6-2

225

30

9

Harvard

53

Fokou, Moise

LB

6-1

236

27

5

Maryland

77

Gibson, Thaddeus

DE

6-2

243

25

2

Ohio State

50

Gooden, Zaviar

LB

6-2

230

22

R

Missouri

23

Greene, Shonn

RB

5-11

226

27

5

Iowa

33

Griffin, Michael

S

6-0

203

28

7

Texas

96

Harris, DaJohn

DT

6-4

310

24

2

Southern California

12

Harvey, Travis

WR

6-2

185

23

R

Florida A&M

94

Hill, Sammie

DT

6-4

329

26

5

Stillman

15

Hunter, Justin

WR

6-4

196

22

R

Tennessee

79d

Johnson, Antonio

DT

6-3

310

28

7

Mississippi State

28

Johnson, Chris

RB

5-11

191

27

6

East Carolina

73

Johnson, Oscar

G

6-6

330

23

R

Louisiana Tech

45

Johnson, Quinn

FB

6-1

263

26

5

LSU

32

Johnson, Robert

DB

6-2

206

26

3

Utah

47

Jones, Greg

LB

6-0

248

24

3

Michigan State

6

Kern, Brett

P

6-2

217

27

6

Toledo

97

Klug, Karl

DE/DT

6-3

275

25

3

Iowa

67

Levitre, Andy

G

6-2

305

27

5

Oregon State

10

Locker, Jake

QB

6-3

234

25

3

Washington

83

Mariani, Marc

WR

6-1

190

26

4

Montana

26

Martin, Markelle

FS

6-1

198

23

2

Oklahoma State

93

Martin, Mike

DT

6-1

306

22

2

Michigan

52

McCarthy, Colin

LB

6-1

238

25

3

Miami (Fla.)

30

McCourty, Jason

CB

6-0

188

25

5

Rutgers

42

Mooney, Collin

RB

5-10

247

27

1

Army

91

Morgan, Derrick

DE

6-3

278

24

4

Georgia Tech

72d

Nicholas, Nigel

DT

6-3

269

23

R

Oklahoma State

66

Otto, Mike

T

6-5

310

29

6

Purdue

35o

Parmele, Jalen

RB

5-11

225

27

4

Toledo

44

Pierce, Matthew

CB

5-10

196

22

R

Valdosta State

92

Pitoitua, Ropati

DE

6-8

315

28

4

Washington State

31

Pollard, Bernard

S

6-1

225

28

8

Purdue

14

Preston, Michael

WR

6-5

206

24

1

Heidelberg

25

Reynaud, Darius

RB

5-9

201

28

5

West Virginia

78

Richardson, Barry

T

6-6

319

27

6

Clemson

71

Roos, Michael

T

6-7

320

30

9

Eastern Washington

89

Ross, Rashad

WR

6-0

167

23

R

Arizona State

62

Schwenke, Brian

C

6-3

314

22

R

California

24

Sensabaugh, Coty

CB

5-11

189

24

2

Clemson

59

Shaw, Tim

LB

6-1

236

29

6

Penn State

11

Smith, Rusty

QB

6-5

226

26

4

Florida Atlantic

90

Solomon, Scott

LB

6-3

270

24

2

Rice

60

Spencer, Chris

G

6-3

309

31

9

Mississippi

39

Stafford, Daimion

SS

6-0

205

22

R

Nebraska

88

Stevens, Craig

TE

6-3

268

28

6

California

76

Stewart, David

T

6-7

315

30

9

Mississippi State

68

Stingily, Byron

T

6-5

313

24

3

Louisville

64

Studdard, Kasey

G

6-3

304

29

6

Texas

84

Thompson, Taylor

TE

6-6

259

23

2

Southern Methodist

58

Turner, Rob

G/C

6-4

308

28

6

New Mexico

61

Velasco, Fernando

C/G

6-4

312

28

4

Georgia

20

Verner, Alterraun

DB

5-10

187

24

4

UCLA

82

Walker, Delanie

TE

6-0

242

28

8

Central Missouri State

16

Wallace, Roberto

WR

6-4

222

27

3

San Diego State

87

Walter, Kevin

WR

6-3

218

31

11

Eastern Michigan

70

Warmack, Chance

G

6-2

317

21

R

Alabama

85

Washington, Nate

WR

6-1

177

29

9

Tiffin University

5

Watkins, Dontel

WR

6-2

194

23

R

Murray State

80

Webb, Martell

TE

6-3

276

23

1

Michigan

49

Willard, Jonathan

LB

6-2

225

23

R

Clemson

17

Williams, Damian

WR

6-1

199

25

4

USC

21

Wilson, George

S

6-0

212

32

8

Arkansas

35d

Wilson, Tracy

DB

6-2

203

24

2

Northern Illinois

95

Wimbley, Kamerion

DE

6-4

255

29

8

Florida State

36

Wooten, Khalid

CB

5-11

210

23

R

Nevada

29

Wreh-Wilson, Blidi

CB

6-1

195

23

R

Connecticut

13

Wright, Kendall

WR

5-10

195

23

2

Baylor


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