2015 NFL Preview: Tennessee Titans

2015 NFL Preview: Tennessee Titans

The 2014 Tennessee Titans were bad. 2-14 bad. The 30th ranked offense bad. The 29th ranked defense bad. Start three quarterbacks bad. Yield 40-plus points three times bad. Can’t run or stop the run bad. Allow 50 sacks bad. Give up 20 more touchdowns than they scored bad. In other words, bad. Such futility afforded the Titans the right to select number two overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, which they used on Oregon’s Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Marcus Mariota. That’s the good news. The not so good news is that Mariota still hasn’t inked a contract. Even though the salaries for rookies are slotted, Mariota and his agents are quibbling over language and incentives, or some such nonsense. He’ll likely be in the fold by the time training camp opens on July 30, but holding out isn’t the best way to begin an NFL marriage. Here’s a preview of the 2015 Tennessee Titans.

Outlook: Mariota isn’t guaranteed to start, especially if his ridiculous holdout seeps into August. This places an already low on talent offense firmly behind the eight ball. Who the hell is the lead running back and starting wide receivers? Not even head coach Ken Whisenhunt knows the answers. As unsettled as the offense is, the defense doesn’t appear to be in much better shape. Key free agents were added, but getting them to gel quickly can be tricky on a team searching for direction. Let’s be real: the Titans basically tanked in 2014, so unless they channel their inner Philadelphia 76ers again, they can’t get much worse in 2015.

Later, dude: Jake Locker, Michael Roos, and Kameron Wimbley all retired. Running back Shonn Greene underwhelmed for two seasons after coming over from the Jets and was subsequently released on June 16. Nate Washington cobbled together four decent seasons considering the poor quarterback play he had to endure; he is now a Texan. Veteran safety Bernard Pollard ruptured his Achilles in Week 5 last year, and since his availability for the upcoming season is in doubt, he was cut in early March. Return specialist Leon Washington has enjoyed a solid career playing on four teams, but he looked a step slow a season ago and is currently a free agent.

Welcome aboard: Pass rusher Brian Orakpo has missed the majority of two of the previous three seasons with torn pectoral muscles, but the front office felt confident enough to hand him a 4-year, $32 million deal. Cornerback Perrish Cox and safety Da’Norris Searcy are both coming off career years that saw them combine for 8 interceptions for the 49ers and Bills, respectively. At the risk of them being one-year wonders, both were awarded long-term contracts to help improve a secondary that yielded 28 touchdowns in 2014. Besides Mariota, fellow rookies Dorial Green-Beckham, Jeremiah Poutasi, David Cobb, and Delontrez Mount could all receive significant snaps.

Over/Under wins – 5.5: The schedule is somewhat forgiving with road tilts at Tampa and Cleveland followed by four straight home games to start the season. If Mariota makes an instant impact, six wins is doable. Don’t count on it.

Bet the Under