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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Titantic offseason for the Tennessee Titans franchise.

A Titantic offseason for the Tennessee Titans franchise.

Rewind: The 2012 offseason.

Coming off a 9-7 shocker of a season under Mike Munchak in which the Titan’s narrowly missed the playoffs, the franchise is upbeat and hopeful for the future. It may finally be Jake Locker’s time to shine.

And then… “Manning-gate”

Commonly known in Titan’s circles as “the obsession to sign the arch nemesis of the franchise that consumed several weeks of my life.” I remember Titan’s message boards being absolutely electric with news. Peyton Manning literally couldn’t take a dump without Titan’s fans catching a whiff and going into in depth analysis of what he had for lunch. Even Bud Adam’s private plane was being tracked to see when Manning would land in Nashville.

As obsessed as the fans became in the thrill of the chase, it seemed that the upper brass was just as obsessed with a guy who could/and would have changed the fate of our franchise. We were like a group of young bachelors in Las Vegas on a crap’s heater. We threw all our chips together and laid it on the field….And guess what?

We crapped out. Big time.

Manning going to Denver clearly changed their franchise for the better and set the Titan’s on the polar opposite course. We spent so much time in the futile chase that we let valuable free agents slip through our grasp, especially along the offensive line. We went for the Mack daddy of free and only came back with Kamerion Wimbley.

Now as this is a team game there were obviously lots of people to blame for the offseason and up and down nightmare that was the Titan’s 2012 campaign. A lot of fans heap the blame on Bud Adams for wasting our time with Manning, for being too frugal all these years, for Mike Munchak not having a firm grasp on the team and letting the offensive line wear down. For Chris Palmer and his offensive woes. For Jake Locker and his injured shoulder. For Jerry Gray for putting out a inferior defensive product…The list could go on and on…

The one certainty was that 2012 was a very bad offseason and very bad season in general for the Titans. The run game wasn’t even the same universe as past seasons in the early weeks and it looked like Chris Johnson was either lost, didn’t care, or was simply running through mud. The run game finally picked up but it still wasn’t putting forth time crunching drives that the Titans have been known for. Thus the defense couldn’t get a break. It was a vicious cycle of bad all around.

2013: The Present.

This has to be the biggest offseason in recent memory. So many players and coaches are counting on this season. If we went “all in” with Manning last season than we’re going “all in” with the current regime for 2013. Many fans were clamoring for the coach’s heads this offseason but Bud decided they would stick around for one more season at least. Former Titan’s defensive coordinator and embroiled coach Gregg Williams was brought in. Titan’s fans may want to look where he took our team last time he was involved with the defense…

We’ve fired out of the starting blocks unlike years past. We’ve signed big name free agents to large contracts that will hopefully right the ship. George Wilson created an instant upgrade at the strong safety position. Delanie Walker replaced Jared Cook and his inconsistent ways with a more well rounded tight end. Ryan Fitzpatrick has come aboard as a hopefully better (and cheaper) backup quarterback than Matt Hasselbeck. Shonne Greene could be the thunder that Cj’s lightning has been missing in recent years. Sammie Lee Hill could be the defensive big man we’ve been missing on the line since Haynesworth left. Finally, Andy Levitre is the marquee guard who along with a potential first or second draft pick could really shore of the offensive line for years to come.

With plenty of game changing free agents still available and the draft still to come, there is no doubt that this has been as exciting as the 2012 offseason but for different reasons. We didn’t hit the lottery with one player as many would have done but we’ve built a better TEAM.

The Titan’s have put themselves in a great position for the NFL draft but the honest truth of the matter is that no matter how much we’ve built the rest of the team up, the season and coaches fate could hinge on one person’s hopefully healthy shoulder…

Jake Locker.

As Jake goes so will the Titans. If he lives up to the potential than the Titan’s could unleash a product similar to what the 49ers have done successfully with Kapernick. If he has another season like last…It’d seem our gambles have failed and we’ll have to rebuild from the top down again.

One way or another. Sink or swim. 2013 is going to be a very exciting year for the Tennesee Titans franchise.

Collin Watts

1 comment:

  1. i'm optomistic, but i always have been since i watched the first game they played in Houston in 1960 at Jepperson stadium....cost me $5.00 and i sat down at the 50 yard line, plenty of empty seats...when they left Houston i had 2 tickets on the 48 yard line and now i'm in Tennnessee [not because i followed them, i think]