The next stop in our tour after the Titans position by position as we approach the 2010 regular season is one where we know the Titans will have a new starter: the cornerbacks (including the nickel back).
Fortunately, the starter they have returning is a pretty good one to build around. Considering the shambolic state of the Titans' 2009 secondary, Cortland Finnegan had a pretty good year, tying his career high with five interceptions despite missing three games. By Football Outsiders numbers, he also ranked 14th among cornerbacks in Success Rate, a measure of how well defenders do in terms of preventing successful plays by the offense.
The contenders for the other starting cornerback spot have some pretty big shoes to fill. Nick Harper of course started opposite Finnegan last year and put up some pretty amazing numbers. It's hard to throw at the same corner all the time and have success, but Titans' opponents manged it. Harper was, by FO numbers, the league's 3rd most targeted cornerback and the 4th least successful. On the other hand, Harper was one of the league's best corners... at run defense. He didn't miss many tackles and consistently stopped opposing runners for little gain. Whoever his replacement will be will almost certainly be a worse run defender and a better pass defender.
With Vince Young sitting comfortably in the catbird seat as the Tennessee Titans' starting signal-caller, there's the perception that a battle is taking place to determine the team's #2 QB.
Due to the rather significant salary of Kerry Collins, there's been talk throughout the offseason that Chris Simms could emerge as the team's primary backup to VY. Fuel was added to the fire of a possible scenario of Phil's son stepping up as the #2 with him seeing the majority of the playing time behind Young last weekend against Seattle, with Collins not seeing any action at all.
I know it's only one preseason game, but if the results of last weekend are any indication, here's to hoping Kerry Collins will remain as the team's second-string signal-caller.
Football is finally back, folks!
The Tennessee Titans will start off their 2010 preseason the same way they ended the 2009 regular season as they travel to the Pacific Northwest to square off against the Seattle Seahawks.
Of course, the focus of last year's season-ender was to reach 8-8 and get Chris Johnson past the 2,000 yard mark; two things that were accomplished by the Titans that day. In tonight's preseason-opener, the emphasis will be placed upon getting the young guys some playing time and for the players fighting for roster spots to have their opportunity to show what they're made of.
Here are the five things that I'll be keeping my eyes on the most as the Titans battle the Seahawks Saturday night.
Next up on our series as we move around the Titans position by position as we approach the 2010 season is the outside linebackers.
After being a strength of the team for the last several seasons, with Keith Bulluck and David Thornton manning the positions, outside linebacker looked like a position of change for the Titans in 2010, as age and injury had robbed both players of some of their talents. That period of change began last year, when rookie Gerald McRath started when Thornton went out, and then accelerated when the Titans signed Will Witherspoon to occupy the weakside linebacker spot previously occupied by the man who were jersey #53 for a decade.
This sort of clean transition was upset a little when the news of Gerald McRath's 4-game suspension came down. Who starts for those first four weeks, and what happens if Witherspoon gets injured during that game? Right now, it looks like the Titans may be searching for answers to those questions.