by Matt Soltysiak
At 13-3, no one had a better regular season in 2008 than the Tennessee Titans with the key to their success being their ground game. Of course they had that heartbreaking loss to the Ravens in the playoffs, however. There are quite a few changes for the Titans as the summer of 2009 approaches. Perhaps the biggest is the departure of defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth who went to Washington. The team also lost their defensive coordinator (Lions new head coach) and some depth in the defensive backfield due to Erik King and Chris Carr’s departures. On offense Chris Simms isn’t there anymore, but Kerry Collins saw a two-year contract thrown his way.
In the draft Tennessee used their first pick on receiver Kenny Britt out of Rutgers. Expect him to crack the starting line-up from day one. A go-to-guy is something this team lacked last year. In the second round the team grabbed Sen’Derrick Marks from Auburn. The defensive end will be counted on to help keep up a pass rush that could drop off with the departure of Haynesworth. In the third round, the Titans grabbed a tight end and a defensive back. Both of these picks could fight for playing time early on.
What to watch for in training camp
Let’s start under center. It’s Kerry Collins’ job to lose and it’s Vince Young’s job to win back. Collins was very serviceable last year with 2,676 yards, 12 TDs and 7 INTs, but I’m sure the franchise would like to see Young mature and take the reigns. In the backfield Chris Johnson and LenDale White combined for 2,001 yards and 24 TDs on the ground. Both should get their carries this year, but there are three things to keep in mind:
- Johnson averaged a full yard more per carry than White last year and
- Johnson caught he ball 38 more times
- White rushed for six more touchdowns meaning he’s more likely to get the goal line touches
As for catching the ball, that’s still up in the air. Justin Gage led the team in yards (651), but tight end Bo Scaife led the team in receptions (58), which is nothing to write home about. Alge Crumpler disappeared off the fantasy football map last year as well. Keep an eye on rookie Kenny Britt, he just might be their best option.
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