Jan 1, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Tennessee Titans linebacker Akeem Ayers (56) in action against the Houston Texans in the fourth quarter at Reliant Stadium. The Titans defeated the Texans 23-22. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
4. And who are their two best players on defense?
Have you ever played Madden simulations from the early- and mid-2000s? You ever see those teams who had rosters without anyone above 90 overall? They were stocked with young players who were rated anywhere between the high 70s and high 80s.
That’s the Titans defense. I’m not sure if Colin McCarthy is their best defensive player but this defense falls apart when he’s not on the field. Along with Akeem Ayers (third year) and Zach Brown (second year), this team has the makings of one of the NFL’s most athletic 4-3 linebacker cores. It’s up to defensive coordinator Jerry Gray and senior defensive assistant Gregg Williams to make them succeed. Another guy to keep an eye on: Mike Martin (DT).
5. Give us your prediction for the Titans’ season?
A couple of days ago, CBS Sports senior NFL columnist Pete Prisco had them finishing with a 7-9 record. I’m thinking more like 9-7. This team made enough personnel changes, and Mike Munchak has enough coaching experience to where they should take a step in the right direction.
Is it a big enough step to return to the playoffs? Only if Locker and the defense play much better than last season. Despite the talent, they’re returning eight (possibly nine) starters on a defense that surrendered a franchise-worst 471 points.