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January 20

How will Tennessee Titans address 2017 needs

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports There's no doubt the Tennessee Titans made a big leap in year one of the Jon Robinson era, surpassing nearly everyone's expectations and flirting with a playoff birth. Now, this team which had no expectations in the past is faced with expectations of success for the 2017 season. After a successful free agency and draft by Robinson last offseason, the question now is which route will he take? I believe given he comes from the Bill Belichick tree, Robinson could be apt to trade down as he did last season and stockpile picks. While this team desperately needs a star wideout, they can be hit-or-miss. That said, one recent mock draft had the Titanstaking Clemson standout Mike Williams. Would he move on a player like Williams remains to be seen, but the overall philosophy of the front office seems to be concentrated on stockpiling players with high football IQs and solid physical talent over high talent and average knowledge.Another reason Robinson could stockpile picks is due to the defensive needs. We all know the secondary needs help and the wide receiver position could be addressed in free agency with a guy like Pierre Garcon. But with several players in an average secondary likely to eat at the Titans' cap room, Robinson will be faced with questioning if guys like Jason McCourty and Da'Norris Searcy are worth the $7 million cap hits? Meanwhile, Texans unrestricted free agent A.J. Bouye is a player who could command less money while providing more production. There's also Eric Berry, the UFA from the Chiefs with ties to Tennessee who could very well be the best safety in the game. Between free agency and the draft, the Titans could fix their secondary woes this offseason while seeing a larger increase on investment.This year's draft also offers some depth at the tight end position. Anthony Fasano is a UFA, and Phillip Supernaw is a restricted free agent. With Delanie Walker carrying the load, the question becomes what happens if the star tight end is injured? The Titans also need to look to the future, as Walker has been in the league for 11 seasons.Aside from the addressing the roster needs this offseason, there is another question looming for the Titans. While everyone simply assumes quarterback Marcus Mariota will recover just fine from a broken fibula. An inury that is estimated to take 4-6 months for recovery, Mariota's offseason will be significantly shortened. More importantly, it robs him of time to continue his development. It also begs to question if he will be the same mobile player and if the organization will opt to play it more cautious with Mariota?With any success comes a new set of obstacles. It's a great situation to be in given this team's recent history, but now these obstacles loom larger because this team now has the expectation to win.  function resizeIframe(obj) { { = 0; }; { = (obj.contentWindow.document.body.scrollHeight + 10) + 'px'; } }
December 20

Titans taking advantage of opportunities, luck

Sure, it wasn't necessarily pretty on Sunday, and there was a a moment we wondered what Mike Mularkey was thinking, but this is part of the Titans' growth this season.The Titans walked out of one of the toughest places to play on Sunday with a 19-17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Had they lost, the focus would have been on a failed two point conversion when all this team needed was an extra point to tie. Instead, the defense held and then after missing the initial field goal, Andy Reid gave us the gift of a second chance. There were plenty of woulda, coulda, shoulda moments during the game and bottom line, things went right for the Titans. But that's part of the NFL. You need luck on your side sometimes and sometimes it's luck that wins you games. The key here though, is the Titans put themselves in a position to take advantage of luck when it came their way. It's been the same all season. Instead of games being too far out of reach, the Titans have been in nearly every game this year during the fourth quarter and Sunday was no different. When you are within striking distance, those lucky breaks can pay dividends. But you have to be in position to get that break. That takes effort, it takes the will and execution to keep games close. It's been part of what Mike Mularkey has been preaching this season. He shows respect for his players but he's also tough on them. He's preached a grind-it-out mentality and that has become this team's identity. While the Titans are not quite elite, they are in that second tier of teams that could potentially beat anyone in a one game playoff. After beating two of the four AFC West teams -a division considered among the best- that's where this team finds themselves. With Jacksonville and Houston left on the schedule, the Titans are in-line for a playoff birth if they can win the remaining two games. It's a place we have rarely found ourselves in recent history and what's great is this is only the beginning. We would have been happy with seeing progress this season. Instead, we are knocking on the door of the postseason. There are plenty of kudos to go around. Mularkey, Jon Robinson, Russ Grimm, and the rest of the front office made the moves to give this team an opportunity to be a contender before the season. They've made the right draft selections and made the right free agency aquisitions. They gave themselves a shot. That's what we are also seeing on the field this year. So take Sunday for what it was; a team in the right place at the right time and in the right position when opportunity knocked. We've been on the opposite side of things for too long and Sunday is just another indication we've made the transition we've been waiting for.  function resizeIframe(obj) { { = 0; }; { = (obj.contentWindow.document.body.scrollHeight + 10) + 'px'; } }
November 22

Titans inches away from leaving recent past miles behind

The Tennessee Titans were just inches away from what could have been the game-tying drive against a team that's had their number. The Indianapolis Colts made it eleven wins in a row against the Titans and despite the loss, there were some positives to draw hope from. Among the key plays, was DeMarco Murray's failure to convert a 4th down with just inches to go. It is indicative of where this team stands. You can see how close they are, yet how much still needs to be done. The Titans came out flat on Sunday, allowing Adrew Luck to pick apart the secondary on the way to a 21 point lead. The defense didn't fare much better, stalling with every third down until finally putting a drive together at the end of the first half. It was a feeling Titans fans have experienced many times before. But in the second half, we were reminded this is not the same team of years past. The Titans came out strong, allowing just three points the rest of the game while putting ten on the board offensively. They were just inches away from possibly tying the game and they are just inches from winning games like this. The running game is in place. Marcus Mariota has found his deep ball and Rishard Matthews has emerged as a viable threat. Now, the Titans need to address just a few spots. They still need a big-play wide receiver capable of affecting defensive game plans. They also need at least one proven shut-down cornerback capable of taking away a quarter of the field. Just two pieces via free agency could make a world of difference. The rest can be found and developed in the draft. The good news is this team has two first round picks next year and will be able to get quality talents instead of projects. Rebuilding the secondary is especially important in today's NFL, where offenses are built on the pass. As was obvious on Sunday, the Colts just had more talent at wide receiver than the Titans did at corner. All of that could change in the next five months. The Titans are still clinging to playoff hopes but regardless of outcome, we have seen plenty to be excited about. That excitement is only going to increase thanks to the faith this organization has in Jon Robinson and what he can do in year two.   function resizeIframe(obj) { { = 0; }; { = (obj.contentWindow.document.body.scrollHeight + 10) + 'px'; } }