Aug 8, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) hands off to Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) against the Washington Redskins during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
2012 Record: 6-10; 3rd Place
2013 Prediction: 8-8
Confidence in Pick: 30%
Losses: Jared Cook, Sen’Derrick Marks
Pickups: Chance Warmack, Delanie Walker, Andy Levitre, Bernard Pollard, Gregg Williams, Shonn Greene, Justin Hunter, Ryan Fitzpatrick
Reasons for Optimism:
Chris Johnson – CJ had a very underrated 2012 season (1,243 yards, 4.5 ypc, 6TDs), after a disappointing 2011 campaign (1,047 yards, 4 TDs). But, keep in mind, both years were still 1,000+ yard seasons. Trent Richardson is top 5 in most fantasy leagues and he rushed for 950 yards behind a good line. What most forget is that CJ’s line in 2011 and 2012 were brutal! Watch the tape, he was making his first move 3 yards in his background. With the addition of Warmack and Levitre on the line, combined with what should be a more potent passing attack, CJ should see a great improvement from 2011 and 2012 and could flirt with 1,500 yards.
Improvements Along the O-Line – As I stated above, CJ was not the problem in 2011 and 2012, his line was. His 1,000 yards in those years should be graded on a curve. The addition of Warmack and Levitre should result in a much better year for CJ in 2013 and should allow Locker enough time for us to truly evaluate his talent.
WRs – While they lack the big name, the Titans have talent at the WR position. Kenny Britt can be a stud. Justin Hunter can be a future stud. Nate Washington is a solid #2. And Kendall Wright has big play ability. If the Titans get the running game established and protect Locker, this is a WR corps that can make some noise.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Not many teams have a backup QB that was 13th in the NFL the year before in TD passes, but the Titans do. In fact, if the Titans want to win now, Fitzy gives them the better chance. 24/16 TD/INT ratio, compared to Locker’s 10/11. This is a team, given this division, could make a push at a wildcard spot. If Locker fails early, I would not be surprised to see him pulled for Fitzpatrick. With Fitzpatrick, I see this as a 7-9 win team (closer to 9). With Locker, I still see them as a 7-9 win team, but closer to 7 (hence my 8-8 prediction).