Tennessee Titans 2012 Team Preview

Sep 11, 2011; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Tennessee Titans helmet during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Fernando Medina-US PRESSWIRE

The Titans surprised many both inside and outside the league with their performance last year. Quietly, the team went 9-7 and gave Houston a legitimate contest for the AFC South division. The Titans were young and only look to get better with experience, but a difficult schedule should temper lofty expectations. Look for a lot of progress to be made on both sides of the ball, however, this team may have to settle for another .500 (or close to it) season before they explode in 2013.

2011 Record: 9-7

Key Additions: Kamerion Wimbley, Steve Hutchinson, Kendall Wright

Key Losses: Cortland Finnegan, Jason Jones, Jake Scott

Offense: The Titans have as many weapons on offense as one can have. Johnson, Locker, Britt, Cook, and Wright are among the more explosive athletes out there, not to mention Hasselbeck and his knowledge of the game. The Titans will be fast and creative on offense, harkening back to the Run N’ Shoot days of old (with the Oilers). If Britt is limited due to suspension and/or injury, though, the offense loses a lot of firepower in the passing game.

Defense: The defense resembles the offense to a degree, in that they, too, are young and athletic. The Titans got quicker and stronger through the draft and free agency, but the real test of this squad is going to be how well they execute second-year coordinator Jerry Gray’s intricate and somewhat exotic schemes. If the defense responds, they could be a force in the league.

Coaching: Last year, Mike Munchak took over his first year as head coach of the Titans, and the results were definitely encouraging. Munchak took a good approach in limiting the more advanced elements of his coordinator’s playbooks, instead focusing on the basics of each and instilling those fundamentals in his young team. As long as he continues being patient with his team’s development, there’s no reason for the play on either side of the ball to regress.

Breakout Player: Akeem Ayers. As the defense continues to grow, look for this guy to rack up sacks, which is as good a way as any in this league to get noticed.

2012 Prediction: 8-8. A tough schedule may keep them from getting to the playoffs, but expect them to be in the hunt for a wild-card spot for the entirety of the season.

Overview: The Titans will improve dramatically over the course of the year. With a little luck and one or two upsets, they could definitely find themselves in the post season, but a difficult road lies ahead of them and head coach Mike Munchak.