|Will Witherspoon wore #4 in training camp.|
We continue our offseason position by position analyses with the unpleasant task of looking at the outside linebackers.
As all Titans fans are aware, the OLBs were the worst position group on the team last year and had it not been for the serendipitous acquisition of Will Witherspoon, they would have been even worse. I shudder to think how bad it would have been with someone else at Will.
The OLBs did a terrible job covering tight ends and running backs last year. They were the primary reason the defense was last in the league in time of possession and third-down efficiency. Opposing tight ends, even injured ones, little-known ones, and backups, looked like All-Pros against the Titans.no comments
Unlike center and tackle, the Titans spent 2010 breaking in a player who'd never started regularly before, and have a decision to make this offseason about whether to retain a potential free agent or let him go and find another solution. That player is actually the same in both cases: Leroy Harris.
Harris stepped into the vacated left guard spent occupied in 2008 and 2009 by Eugene Amano, who shifted over to center with Kevin Mawae's retirement. I was cautiously optimistic in the preseason about Harris's potential as a full-time guard, but the Titans once again struggled to run the ball up the middle.
Whether it's via free agency/trade, drafting a talented youngster to groom or as GM Mike Reinfeldt suggested, a combination of both a veteran and a rookie, the Titans will certainly bring in some reinforcements at the QB position.
As for the draft, many believe that the Titans could select a QB with their 8th overall pick. However, if the NFL Draft gods allow the likes of DTs Nick Fairley or Marcell Dareus to fall into the team's lap, then it would make sense for a quarterback to be the focus in the second round.
If he's available, Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett would be an intriguing value selection for the Tennessee Titans with pick #39.
Several days ago, Drexel gave us the updated info on who the Titans selected in the first round of ten recent mock drafts. I thought I'd follow up on this with some interesting info from a couple of other draft sites.
The first of these sites, which some of you may already be familiar with, is DraftTek. What makes them interesting, and different, is a mock draft which is computer generated. They also have an Online Draft Simulator where you can tweak some things and generate your own mock draft. Here's what they say:
"At Drafttek, each NFL team has an analyst who assigns positional needs, then a proprietary computer model is employed to generate a 7-round Consensus Mock Draft." (italics mine)
Back when Andrew took a look at the centers in the 2010 preseason, he wrote that he expected the Titans to improve by subtraction, as Kevin Mawae hadn't really deserved his 2009 Pro Bowl trip and the Titans seemed to have a good replacement in the wings. Then came the 2010 season, and the Titans had just as much trouble running up the middle as they had in 2009 and, oh, also started three different players at center. What happened, why, and will things be any different in 2011?
Of course, while the offense was worse, part of the reason the offense was worse was because the defense (and special teams?) didn't put it in advantageous positions nearly as often. So, how much of the offensive decline was the offense, and how much was the offense being put in bad positions?