NFL Team Profiles- Tennessee Titans by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles
Ken Whisenhunt is currently serving as the head coach for the Tennessee Titans. From 2007 to 2012, he was head coach of the Arizona Cardinals and led the Cardinals to their first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history during the 2008 season. For one year he served as the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers, under new HC Mike McCoy. The Chargers’ finished 5th in the league in total offense in 2013. In Whisenhunt’s first year leading the Titans, the team regressed heavily from their 2013 mark of 7-9. Tennessee finished the 2014 season with a 2-14 record. The Titans had the 2nd overall pick in April’s NFL Draft and selected rookie QB Marcus Mariota
2015 Team Outlook– The Titans haven’t been the titans of the AFC South. The Colts are the conquering giants in that division. Tennessee, Jacksonville and Houston are hoping to end Indianapolis’ winning streak in 2015. The Colts have won the division two years in a row, led by #1 draft pick in 2012 QB Andrew Luck. Tennessee has not fared at all with their 1st round draft pick from 2011, QB Jake Locker. (He has since retired from football.) HC Ken Whisenhunt had both his defense and offense rank near the bottom in most categories in 2014, so it will be an arduous task for the 2nd year coach to fix everything that is wrong in Tennessee, especially with a rookie QB starting
2015 Fantasy Outlook–
QB– QB Marcus Mariota went #2 overall to Tennessee, and will immediately project as the starter. Mariota has plenty of potential, but his mechanics are bad and he would be well served to hold a clipboard for a year, and learn. He throws nearly every pass off his back foot, and in the 2015 Rose Bowl, there were really only two passes that had any “wow factor”. 6th round pick from the 2014 draft Zach Mettenberger is the back up QB
RB- In 2014, the Titans moved on from RB Chris Johnson, who had been Tennessee’s starting running back since being drafted in 2008. (In 2009, RB Johnson rushed for 2,006 yards, becoming only one of seven players in NFL history to be in the 2000 rushing yards club.) Using their second round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Titans selected RB Bishop Sankey. He was the first running back drafted last May. Although it may be too early to call the new Titan running back a bust, Sankey was certainly underwhelming as a rookie. He finished the season as the 42nd ranked RB, with a 3.74 YPC average on 152 carries. UPDATE: The Titan’s used their 5th Round pick in this NFL Draft to select 5’11” RB David Cobb, who is getting reps with the starters. Cobb is also the favorite for short-yardage and goal-line work in Tennessee’s committee.
WRs– The Titans used their 1st overall pick on a wide receiver in 2012, drafting Kendall Wright. They also used their 2nd overall on a wide receiver in 2013, drafting Justin Hunter. Wright ended the 2014 season as the Titan’s top WR, but with with Jake Locker, Zach Mettenberger and Charlie Whitehurst at quarterback, he only amassed 716 yards and 6 TDs. (Down from his 1079 yard-2 TD season in 2013.) Nate Washington ended the season as the Titan’s #2 with only 647 yards and 2 TDs. Hunter was Tennessee’s #3 with only 498 yards and 3 TDs. UPDATE: The 3 top WRs on the Titan’s depth chart are #1 Kendall Wright- #2 Hakeem Nicks- #3 Harry Douglas ( former Falcon)
TEs– It’s not often that a tight end finishes a season with better stats than the team’s #1 wide receiver, unless you are playing for New England, San Diego or New Orleans. That’s how it played out however for Tennessee’s TE Delanie Walker, who was the NFL’s #9 tight end for 2014 with 890 receiving yards and 4 TDs. Walker is Tennessee’s only tight end threat in the passing game. The Titan’s #2 & #3 tight ends had 4 catches in 2014, combined.
K– Mr. Irrelevant from 2009, Ryan Succop, was re-signed this year to a three-year contract. Succop successfully hit 19-of-22 field goals last season, setting a career-high with his 86.4 percent success rate. The Titan struggling offense did not give Succop many field goal opportunities in 2014, and it’s unlikely that he’ll be a good fantasy option in 2015.
DEF– HC Ken Whisenhunt and the the Tennessee Titans have already started adding key players to fix their porous defense. OLB Brian Orakpo was signed to a four-year, $32 million contract on March 13th, 2015. They also signed former 49er CB Perrish Cox. Having the worst roster in the league at nearly every position is a big reason Tennessee are reluctant to take a flyer on a rookie QB in this year’s draft. The Titan’s need more pass-rushers and April’s Draft offers some intriguing prospects. DL Leonard Williams from USC may be the best player in the draft who can rush the passer from all over the field. The Titans may need two new starting safeties as well. The Titans will end up with four picks in the top 101, which could be great for filling many holes that this team has on defense. UPDATE: Titans sign OLB Brian Orakpo. Signed CB Perrish Cox to a 3 year deal. Re-signed DE/OLB Derrick Morgan to a 4 year deal.
2014 Tennessee Fantasy Surprises– Fantasy owners were hoping that rookie RB Bishop Sankey would be the newest Tennessee RB since CJ2k to help them win their championships. At the University of Washington, Sankey set school records for rushing yards in a season, passing RB Corey Dillon, as well as career rushing touchdowns. Sankey ended the 2014 season well short of expectations, as the #42 RB in the league. On March 10, 2015, citing his lack of desire to play any longer, QB Jake Locker announced his retirement from the NFL.
2015 Free Agents that Tennessee Needs to Address– QB Jake Locker (retired)- RB Leon Washington- WR Nate Washington (signed w/ Houston)- WR Derek Hagan- OT Michael Oher (signed w/ Carolina)- DT Karl Klug (re-signed)- OLB Colin McCarthy- OLB Derrick Morgan (re-signed)- S Bernard Pollard- K Ryan Succop (re-signed)
2015 NFL Draft– The immediate needs of Tennessee are on defense, on their O-Line, wide receiver and at quarterback. The Titans need to get after opposing quarterbacks with help along side Jurrell Casey and newly acquired OLB Brian Orakpo (OLB), RT Michael Oher signed with Carolina, leaving the Titans with few solid pieces to their O-Line (C & OL), and on offense, Tennessee needs depth at wide receiver and another back up for Mettenberger (WR & QB). UPDATE: Tennessee’s entire 2015 NFL Draft can be seen at this link- TENNESSEE’S DRAFT-
Did You Know– Former Titans (1997-2010) head coach Jeff Fisher was selected in the 7th round of the 1981 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears? He appeared in 49 games as a defensive back and return specialist in his five seasons with the Bears. In 1983, Fisher suffered a broken leg on a punt return when he was tackled by then-Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Bill Cowher, the former head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
All team reports can be seen at this link- TEAM REPORTS
Team Home Page: www.titansonline.com