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THE_TITAN
08.09.2015, 05:33 PM
Tennessee Titans 2015/16 Season Preview

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The Titans go into their second season with coach Ken Whisenhunt at the helm and after a poor first season, posting a measly 2-14 record, Whiz will be hoping for signs of improvement in his young roster. Have the Titans finally found a franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota? We will have to see. But here is my season preview for the 2015/16 season.

All eyes will be on Marcus Mariota, the rookie signal caller is perhaps the most hyped draft pick in the Titans' Nashville era. He is expected to have growing pains throughout the season, as any rookie QB does, and his transition from a spread offense to a pro-style system will be something to keep an eye on as the season progresses. In reference to that transition, all Titans fans have to go by right now are his pre-season performances. Those have been impressive with Mariota looking comfortable in the pocket and showcasing the elite accuracy that he was renowned for in college. Whisenhunt may not have showcased the entire offense under Mariota however, as we will almost surely see some read option and QB runs that will take advantage of MM's athleticism and make Mariota a true dual threat proposition for opposing defenses.

As for the rest of the offense there are question marks at every position (apart from maybe the tight end group, of which there are five good ones). The coaching staff have chosen to only carry four wide receivers for the season and, as such, Kendall Wright and Harry Douglas will look to have productive seasons as possession receivers with DGB and Hunter being effective options to stretch the field and throw to in the red zone. Running back is probably the weakest position of the Titans offense, Sankey has yet to show any real promise, Cobb has been sent to IR (designated to return) and a questionable character in Terrance West has been acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Browns. Whiz will be hoping Sankey becomes the three-down back that they hoped for when they drafted him in the second round, but the acquisitions of Cobb and West (as well as Andrews making the final roster) and the use of Fowler as an inline fullback point to a power running scheme, which is perhaps the direction that the Titans are looking to take the run game. Finally, the offensive line has been shuffled in the preseason with the rookie Poutasi solidifying himself as the starting right tackle and showing good power in the run game but questionable pass protection. Byron Bell has been a revelation at guard so far and Lewan looks like a borderline pro bowler. Warmack will look to improve off the back of a decent 2014/15 season and Schwenke will have to up his game significantly to keep Gallik from taking his place. Overall, the offensive line looks like a satisfactory unit and they will probably have to play above their expected level to help our rookie signal caller.

Moving on to the defense, the Titans have looked to strengthen this part of the team through free agency with the key signings of Brian Orakpo, Perrish Cox and DaNorris Searcy. All three signings will be starting for the Titans under the leadership of defensive genius Dick LeBeau. LeBeau may be the key staff change for the Titans due to his unrivaled knowledge of the 3-4 two-gap system. If the old man can turn around this defensive unit then the Titans will hope to be challenging in the AFC South. In my opinion, however, the unit as a whole is still mediocre at best and the loss of Jason McCourty for the beginning of the season will hurt and already thin defensive back group. Beyond Orakpo and Morgan there are not any notable pass rushers at the OLB position and the Titans will hope that the injury bug hits neither. The defensive line looks to be the strength of the group; Casey has played at an All-Pro level for the past couple of seasons, Al Woods has looked impressive in preseason and DaQuan Jones has solidified his spot as a starting defensive end. But this Titans defense look like they are still two or three pieces away from being a top ten unit.

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53 Man Roster:


QB: Marcus Mariota/Zach Mettenberger/Charlie Whitehurst
RB: Bishop Sankey/Terrance West/David Cobb (IR)/ Antonio Andrews/Dexter McCluster
FB: Jalston Fowler
WR: Kendall Wright/Harry Douglas/Justin Hunter/Dorial Green-Beckham
TE: Delanie Walker/Anthony Fasano/Craig Stevens/Chase Coffman/Phillip Supernaw
LT: Taylor Lewan
LG: Byron Bell/Quinton Spain
C: Brian Schwenke/Andy Gallik
RG: Chance Warmack
RT: Jeremiah Poutasi/Jamon Meredith

RE: Jurrell Casey/Angelo Blackson/Karl Klug
NT: Al Woods/Sammie Lee Hill/Mike Martin
LE: DaQuan Jones/Ropati Pitoitua
ROLB: Brian Orakpo/David Bass
ILB: Zach Brown/Wesley Woodyard
ILB: Avery Williamson/Steven Johnson
LOLB: Derrick Morgan/Deiontrez Mount
CB: Jason McCourty/Coty Sensabaugh
FS: Michal Griffin/Marqueston Huff
SS: Da'Norris Searcy/Daimion Stafford
CB: Perrish Cox/Blidi Wreh-Wilson/Cody Riggs

LS: Beau Brinkley
K: Ryan Succop
P: Brett Kern


Schedule Analysis:

A Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Win - Mariota has a stronger offensive line and LeBeau is destructive against rookie QBs.
A Cleveland Browns: Loss - The Browns defense is a strong unit and they overpower the Titans.
H Indianapolis Colts: Loss - Indy wins again on the back of an explosive offensive.
H Buffalo Bills: Win - The Bills are an interesting team but I see the Titans stealing a win at home.
H Miami Dolphins: Loss - The Fins are a strong team top to bottom and Tannehill should have a big year.
H Atlanta Falcons: Win - A surprise win here but I don't rate the Falcons defense that much and I'm thinking Julio is injured by this time.
A Houston Texans: Loss - A close loss to a strong Texans defense.
A New Orleans Saints: Loss - Drew Brees throws all over a mediocre Titans defensive back unit.
H Carolina Panthers: Win - Newton turns the ball over a lot and it's at home.
A Jacksonville Jaguars: Win - I don't rate Bortles at all.
H Oakland Raiders: Win - The Titans have their best win streak of the season.
H Jacksonville Jaguars: Loss - The Jags get revenge after their prime time defeat.
A New York Jets: Win - The Jets are exceptional on D but I think turnovers kill them here.
A New England Patriots: Loss - Brady and co. beat the Titans easily in Foxboro.
H Houston Texans: Win - Titans split the series with a Texans side struggling on offense.
A Indianapolis Colts: Loss - The Colts rest their starters for the playoffs but the Titans still lose.

Record: 8-8

A slightly optimistic prediction but, with good play from Marcus Mariota and tangible improvements in the defense, a .500 record is totally viable with this schedule. Let's hope we can get some wins this season. Go Titans!!!