It's that time of the year again, Tennessee Titan fans!
With training camp looming on the horizon, the staff at Total Titans will begin our annual pre-training camp look at how the Titans stack up at each position. Over the next few weeks, we'll attempt to whet your ravenous appetites for football by providing our opinions regarding the team's roster in the form of positional analyses.
First up... a look at the running back position.
On Friday, the National Football Post reported the Titans cut DE Jay Moore and TE Gerald Harris. Why would the Titans cut two players in early July? Because, under NFL rules, draft picks do not count against the 80-man roster limit until they are under contract. With training camp approaching at the end of the month, the Titans will have to create roster spots for all their unsigned picks.
Per Brian McIntyre's invaluable list of rookie signings, the Titans have agreed to terms with 5 of their 9 draft picks from this year. If the roster on the official site is to be believed, the Titans currently stand at 85 players on the roster, including Moore and Harris, and not including Rod Hood, who's been placed on injured reserve. That's an inconsistency, probably explained by one of the rookie's deals not being official until recently, but I'll just ignore it for lack of it mattering to the question I'm interested in: who won't make it to training camp?
Thursday saw the release of Football Outsiders Almanac 2010, the latest edition of the annual put out by Football Outsiders. As I've mentioned on here before, I now write for FO, which means I wrote the Titans chapter in this year's edition. Over the next couple weeks or so, I'll be writing a few posts on some of the things in that chapter, and some of the things that didn't make into the chapter. Just as a disclaimer, most of these posts will probably be heavily influenced by FO's numbers.
When the Titans made the playoffs in 2007 and 2008, it was largely on the back of one of the league's best defenses, and with every starter but Haynesworth back for 2009, it seemed reasonable to expect the same in 2009. That clearly didn't happen, as the Titans gave up 300 yards passing and 20+ points in in 5 of their first 6 games in falling to 0-6. The rest of the year, the Titans only gave up 300+ yards passing once and held 6 of their 10 opponents under 20 points. Obviously, that improved performance was the result of the defense playing better, right?
Well, not really.
As rookies, the 2009 Tennessee Titan draftees saw their share of playing time.
First-round WR Kenny Britt emerged as a valuable part of the team's passing attack. The M&M boys (CB's Jason McCourty and Ryan Mouton) were pressed into on-the-job training due to the Titans' myriad of injuries in their secondary. Unheralded 4th round LB Gerald McRath imposed his wrath against the opposition by stepping up on special teams' and playing well when given time at his natural LB position.
Let's take a look at what's in store for the '09 draft class as they embark upon year-two of their playing careers.