EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the 31st of 32 preseason previews in 32 days leading up to the NFL season opener Thursday, Sept 5.
Win total last 5 years: 42
LVH over/under wins (6½)
I think many would be surprised to see that Tennessee has averaged close to 9 wins a season over the past five years.
A good bit of the reason is running back Chris Johnson, who when healthy and motivated can be electrifying at his position with 4.3 speed in the 40.
Athlon Sports called Johnson “the most overlooked of the seven 2,000-yard rushers in NFL history.” Last year the man they call CJ2K had scoring runs of 80, 83 and 94 yards. And he has looked good in preseason.
But Johnson can’t do it alone. Just like Adrian Peterson needs Christian Ponder to step up at Minnesota, Jake Locker has to do the same in Tennessee.
Management gave Locker a vote of confidence by saying so long to veteran QB Matt Hasselbeck, now backing up Andrew Luck in Indianapolis.
An even bigger concern is that porous defense, which allowed 30 points or more eight times last year, including 51 to Chicago and 55 to Green Bay.
Athlon rated Tennessee’s draft a B with the top pick Alabama offensive guard Chance Warmack. Second round pick Justin Hunter out of the University of Tennessee should be a popular selection if nothing else.
Locker has a good offensive line and Kenny Britt is a quality receiver if he can stay healthy. But it’s that defense which is the big concern. The Titans drew a brutal early schedule, opening on the road against Pittsburgh and Houston in the first two weeks.
The Titans last made the playoffs in 2008 when they won 13 games. Current head coach Mike Munchak is a mediocre 15-17 in two seasons. Las Vegas books think he’s in for a third losing year in the last four. That could mean his job.
Sunday: Washington Redskins
Mark Mayer has over 35 years covering sports events and is the sports editor at GT. Reach him at [email protected].