The Tennessee Titans have won only one game during the preseason with an impressive 27-16 victory of the Atlanta Falcons.
Whilst it is still preseason, many coaches and fans alike use this branch of the NFL to see how strong the depth of the team is, what can be done to create a more potent and effective defense or offense.
Last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Titans' defense was abysmal at best, that was the starting line-up.
This week against the Falcons' first-string offense, they contended and made the plays they missed a week before, key note was a first-down stopping tackle by former Bills safety George Wilson.
Tackling on defense was the Titans' worst enemy last season, the tenacity of Gregg Williams is helping the Titans' defense realize that going for the highlight shot compared to making the tackle and winning games is not as important. This is something Michael Griffin needs to learn.
Derrick Morgan shown that he can get through to the quarterback, pressuring Matt Ryan and the Falcons continuously. This pressure is what the Titans have been wanting to see from Morgan for a very long time, considering he is a former first-round selection.
For the Titans to be competitive in the regular season they need to keep the following attributes working:
The offensive line last season for the Titans was more like an infirmary. Only one of their starting lineman was left standing by the season's end. This season, they have acquired the best run defending lineman of the free agent market in Andy Levitre and drafted one of the most mauling and viscious lineman in the draft in Alabama's Chance Warmack. Not only has this strengthened and added depth to the Titans' depth chart, it has also opened lanes for Chris Johnson, whose first carry of the season was a 53-yard rushing touchdown.
Jake Locker is the Titans' starter, this last week against the Faclons, he showed he has the talent ot be a franchise QB. 11-13 for 133 yards and one touchdown were the stats that Locker was able to put together. If the Titans are to have a fighting chance, this needs to be a regular occurence from Locker, who has shown considerable improvements in his touch on passes through the preseason.
The defensive line needs to show up at game time, last season they were a non-factor for any opposing offense. This season, Gregg Williams seems to have stoked the fire, Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley look set to hold the edges whilst the rotation at tackle will see a healthy combination of size and speed. This all came together to give the Atlanta Falcons' offensive line and quarterbacks a night they would rather forget at LP Field.
The secondary needs to get at the passer a lot more, the lack of disruption last season led to the Titans recording the defense with the most points scored against them in an NFL regular season in the history of the game. This season, Bernard Pollard will bring the fire they missed when they let Cortland Finnegan go to St. Louis.
Michael Griffin is learning to tackle properly and not go for the highlight reel shot, something that opened the flood gates on the Titans' on multiple occassions last season. The veteran play-making of George Wilson will help the Titans make plays as seen when he took down Tony Gonzalez one-on-one to stop a first down.
Alterraun Verner and Jason McCourty will be locking down the CB1 and CB2 positions, but Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Tommy Campbell have both been making claims on the CB2 position, this last game of the pre-season could prove pivotal on who is the Titans' CB2 come kick-off.
Kenny Britt is on a contract season and many expect this to be one of his best seasons to date, the preseason has shown otherwise. Rookie second-round selection out of Tennessee, Justin Hunter, has looked good when thrown the ball, scoring a touchdown against the Falcons.
Titans' veteran Nate Washington still looks like the best receiver out there, making play after play to keep the chains moving for the Titans. Every young quarterback needs a safety blanket, that is usually a tight end, but Lockers is Washington and to lose him could prove disastrous to Locker's development.
Kendall Wright is still looking to be a solid slot option and could be a good underneath threat for Locker. Luckily enough, nobody dropped the ball as much as Julio Jones did on the weekend.
The Titans need to have a break-even or better season if Mike Munchak is going to be the head coach in 2014. The talent is there on both sides of the ball, it just depends on how well Dowell Loggains and Jerry Grey can use them, although Grey does have the guidance of the ferocious Gregg Williams at his disposal.