Much like the Jaguars, it is hard to go through this objectively, because this club was a train wreck for most of the season. The fact that the Titans managed to achieve a total of six victories for the season should be looked at as an accomplishment However, they took a big step back on their progress from 2011 and some expected head coach Mike Munchak to be let go. Precisely where everything went wrong is what I’ll take a look at now.
To sum this one up quickly, when your team is 26th in the league in total yards and combined with a porous defense you aren’t putting yourself in a good spot to win some games. But this step back on offense was expected with a rookie quarterback taking the reins to start the season.
Jake Locker was drafted to be the guy and the aging Matt Hasselbeck couldn’t hold him off during camp. With the team nowhere close to competing with the likes of Houston, they decided to go young and see what happened. When you make this transition before the roster is where you’d like it, struggles are going to happen and struggle Locker did.
After missing time with injury, Locker was inaccurate and got sacked 25 times in eleven games. The lack of a real running threat hurt him as the play fake wasn’t as respected as it was when Chris Johnson was putting teams in prevent defenses just to account for his speed. People will look at the yards and think Johnson had a good season, but a large portion of his 1,243 yards came in garbage time when teams were allowing them to run the ball and eat clock.
Johnson just looks slow nowadays and it has to be the most shocking decline in a young running back that I’ve ever witnessed. The offensive line being atrocious doesn’t help him, but he’s just a different guy after getting paid. Just as this offense looks bad when he plays poorly.
And you thought the offense was bad. When you finish dead last in the league in points allowed, this anemic offense is going to pack it in early and that’s just what happened all season. They had eight games in which they allowed thirty points or more to the opposition. They only had four games in which they scored thirty or more. Basic math tells you what kind of season it was in Tennessee.
It all started with the Titans pass rush, or lack thereof. They did have four guys with five or more sacks, but they were horrible at stopping the run and they drop off after those four was huge. About the only positive to come from this unit in 2012 was the play of rookie linebacker Zach Brown. And in a season like this, you have to be happy with any silver ling you can find.
As I said in my season preview early last year, I expected the Titans to take a step back this year. Unlike Indianapolis, they didn’t have the young quarterback to blow away expectations with a lackluster roster. I think Locker will end up being a serviceable guy, but not with what Tennessee ran out there around him this season.
The fact that Bud Adams didn’t fire Mike Munchak tells me that he is of the same thought there. But Munchak will be hard pressed to make the playoffs next season or he’ll be right back to being an offensive line coach somewhere in 2014. His decision to keep his offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains surprised a handful of folks close to the team, but we’ll see what happens. Without a homerun of a draft this season, I’m not sure the Titans aren’t about three years and a new coach away from contention.
Tagged with: AFC, AFC South, AFC South Report Cards, Bud Adams, Chris Johnson, Dowell Loggains, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jake Locker, Matt Hasselbeck, Mike Munchak, Report Card, Tennessee Titans, Zach Brown