2006 Tennessee Titans Preview

Simply put, the Tennessee Titans are a team with an excellent head coach in Jeff Fisher and a quickly improving roster that could get this team back into contention way before it was ever expected from a team that fell into the category of the abysmal the last two seasons.

The NFL’s youngest team in 2005, have added several veteran players who will all play a crucial role in restoring the Titans status as one of the elite teams in all of football.

Not only does Tenessee now have their quarterback of the future in the amazingly gifted, Vince Young, but once again, there is young talent up and down the Titans roster. How Fisher gets this team to gel, especially in the early going will determine whether or not this is a team that could possibly play .500 football this season or whether they will hover somewhere around the six-win mark.

Personally, I wouldn’t put anything past Fisher, but the Titans 2006 season should be interesting to say the least. Here’s my annual preview on the Tennessee Titans.

Quarterbacks
Afer unceremoniously parting ways with franchise quarterback, Steve McNair, the Titans will turn to veteran Billy Volek, at least for the time being.

Everyone knows that Vince Young is the heir apparent and future at QB for Tennessee, but how much he plays this seasons is anyone’s guess. I suspect that, if the Titans are struggling around .500 at mid-season, they may turn to Young in an effort to get him on the field and speed up his learning process.

For the time being though, Volek who has had some success as a starter, will start until Young is ready – and when he is, the Titans could become they juggernaut they were when this millennium began.

Running Backs
Chris Brown and Travis Henry, two runners who have both experienced success as starters in the NFL, were absolutely atrocious last season. Brown, has been disgruntled ever since he’s been asked to spilt playing time with Henry, while the Titans drafted former USC back, Lendale White, who will see plenty of action in his rookie season.

If Brown and Henry can get their stuff together – and stay healthy – running back could once again become a strength for the Titans.

Wide Receiver/Tight End
The addition of former New England Patriot, avid Givens should immediately help the Titans receiving corps. Givens will combine with Drew Bennett, who caught almost 60 balls himself last season. Veteran Tyrone Calico could play a role as well, but has been inconsistent over the course of his young career. Brandon Jones, Courtney Roby and Roydell Williams – all second-year players, as well as Jonathan Orr, a sixth-round pick this year, could all play a role as well although that remains to be clear just yet.

Ben Troupe, Erron Kinney, and Bo Scaife combined to catch nearly 150 balls last season – an amazing statistic that shows the entire trio belongs on the “good hands” list.

Offensive Line
T he Jets acquired six-time Pro Bowl selection, center, Kevin Mawae, who should be an immediate upgrade at center. Michael Roos wiil move over to left tackle after playing right tackle last season. The Titans also return their two starting guards in Zach Piller and Benji Olson and will have David Stewart, Daniel Loper and Jacob Bell in the rotation as well.

Defensive Line
Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch recorded an eye-opening 12.5 sacks last season and should be even better in 2006. On the other side, Travis LaBoy has a huge upside as well. Albert Haynesworth and Randy Starks are competent run stuffers who will share time with Jared Clauss and Jesse Mahelona . Backup defensive ends Antwan Odom nand Bo Schoebel are talented, but inconsistent.

Linebackers
The Titans added sppedy linebacker, David Thornton from the Indianapolis Colts who should make an immediate impact. Thornton will join Keith Bulluck, who’s led the Titans in tackles the last four seasons. Veteran, Peter Sirmon will also contribute, possibly as a starter alongside Thornton. Stephen Tulloch may start at middle linebacker and veterans, Robert Reynolds and Cody Spencer add depth to this unit.

Defensive Backs
The Titans may have the best two young corners in the game in Adam “Pacman” Jones and Reynaldo Hill. Although Jones was the more publicized pick, Hill played just as well, if not better over the course of the entire season.

Free Safety, Chris Hope is a competent veteran and Lamont Thompson will start a strong safety. If the Titans get some decent play from the nickel backs, Vincent Fuller and Andre Woolfolk, the Titans could be a defensive juggernaut.

Special Teams
Kicker Rob Bironas made 23 of his 29 field goals attempts in his first season with the Titans and punter, Craig Hentrich continues to play at a high level, averaging 43.2 yards per punt last year. Jones may return both punts and kickoffs in 2006, but that load will be shared by several others including, Bobby Wade and Courtney Roby.

Coaching
I think Fisher is one of the best coaches in all of football. The titans have suffered the past few seasons because of a major salary cap purge that left them thin on talent.

If the Titans get a few more talented players, expect big things out of Tennessee once again.

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