AFC SOUTH UPDATE – Tennessee Titans

Tennessee finished with a 6-10 record in 2012, good for a third-place AFC South finish. looks at the Titans.





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INDIANAPOLIS –Tennessee had a third-place finish in the AFC South in 2012 with a 6-10 record.  It came after a second-place finish in 2011.  A look at the Titans:

2012 Record:  6-10, Third in AFC South

General Manager:  Ruston Webster

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Head Coach:  Mike Munchak (15-17 regular season)

Offensive Coordinator:  Dowell Loggains

Defensive Coordinator:  Jerry Gray

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2012 Pro Bowlers:  None

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Pending Free Agents:  UNRESTRICTED – LB-Xavier Adibi, DE-Dave Ball, K-Rob Bironas, TE-Jared Cook, DE-Keyunta Dawson, OG-Kyle DeVan, LB-Zac Diles, DE-Leger Douzable, G/C-Leroy Harris, FB-Quinn Johnson, G-Deuce Lutui, NT-Sen'Derrick Marks, LB-Gerald McRath, CB-Ryan Mouton, RB-Darius Reynaud, RB-Javon Ringer, LB-Will Witherspoon, DE-Jarius Wynn; RESTRICTED – C/G-Fernando Velasco; EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS – C/G-Kevin Matthews  

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Rounds with Draft Picks:  1st round-10th overall, 2nd round-40th, 3rd round-70th, one pick in rounds 4-7 (rounds 4-7 overall choice not available until compensatory picks awarded)  

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Estimated Salary Cap Space:  18.8 million

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Off. Rank (AFC/NFL):  Total – 313.1 (12/26); Rushing – 105.4 (10/21); Passing – 207.7 (11/22)

*Def. Rank (AFC/NFL): *Total – 374.9 (15/27); Rushing – 127.2 (11/24); Passing – 247.8 (14/26)

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Key Decisions:  At defensive tackle, Sen'Derrick Marks is an unrestricted free agent.  Tennessee could use another pass-rusher and may be looking to add another force.  It is a possible direction for the team.  A freshed-faced play-maker in the front seven could help.

Three of the team's top offensive guards are free agents.  With Chris Johnson being the talent in the backfield, Tennessee could opt to re-stock for Johnson.  The line could be an issue of concern.  Injury matters have cropped up in the last couple of years, and some additions to the line could be in order.  This could be said for a number of teams, though.

The Titans could choose to bolster the wide receiver corps.  Kendall Wright was a top pick last year.  Injuries and off-the-field matters have come up on the unit.  The Titans could target a number one receiver in a draft that might have talent that matches their attack.

QUOTE-UNQUOTE:  General Manager Ruston Webster (on Jake Locker)"I think Jake has done a good job, and he has all the talent to be a fine player.  One of the things we have to do is have more consistency around him.  When your offensive line is in flux and you are changing coordinators, doing all those things and he gets hurt, I don't think that does anything to help a quarterback's development.  Jake is doing good, and we expect him to be a fine player for us.  There are times I wish he'd do a better job protecting himself for sure. That is not his nature, but that is something we are working on.  Also, if we can help him offensive line-wise, run game-wise, that might keep him healthy as well."* Head Coach Mike Munchak (on selecting a guard in first round)"I think what's changed is the defensive ends changing in stature.  You've got guys that are 255 pounds that can rush the quarterback the way they can now.  They're great athletes.  When I played, the ends were bigger guys and you had more tackles available that can probably matchup.  I think it became a matchup problem for the left tackles.  They're hard to find.  It's hard to find guys that are 255 pounds and can rush.  The supply and demand is lessened.  I think the demand for tackles became more valuable, especially a left tackle.  For that reason, you have guards, there are more of them and you push that back a little bit. But if you have someone that is special, someone that is really good, that kind of gets thrown out the window. So you have to decide where you want to pick a guy like that."Munchak (on getting a complementary back to Chris Johnson)*"I think we definitely look in that area.  Chris Johnson has been so special and people don't see that has hasn't missed a game and hasn't missed a snap.  His first playoff game was the only time he has had to come out of a game.  He doesn't miss practice.  The mission is two-fold: Don't overuse him, but don't cut down on his touches, but maybe throw to him more out of the backfield and find different ways to use him to get him out in space, along with running back that we feel comfortable with, like when (Javon) Ringer was healthy or with LenDale, that can take over the game in another way.  That's what we're in need of, and that's what we'll be looking for."

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