Tennessee Titans' Training Camp To-Do List
With the amount of turnover the Tennessee Titans have gone through this offseason, the team has its share of inquiries that must be answered.
The arrival of Ken Whisenhunt as the team's new head coach may have given the team a direction, but with scheme changes, there's a large amount of defensive players changing positions.
There's also been a glut of offseason acquisitions that will help shape the team, but work will need to be done to find the right role for each player.
By the time the regular season rolls round, Coach Whisenhunt should have a solid grasp on his new team and how to put them in the best position to win, but in order to do that, he will need to set some goals.
Here are the main points of contention that will need to be dealt with through training camp.
Find a No. 2 Corner
The Titans have a spot open in the starting lineup after the departure of Pro Bowl corner Alterraun Verner.
Verner and Jason McCourty proved to be a quality duo over the last couple of seasons, while Coty Sensabaugh handled the nickel duties, allowing rookie Blidi Wreh-Wilson to assimilate into the NFL. Per Jim Wyatt of The Leaf-Chronicle, Wreh-Wilson said:
There has been a lot of growth since last year. Last year I just learned how to play my technique and things like that, and through the season I just learned about NFL football. This offseason I feel like I understood what the offenses are really about, what the defenses are really about. I understood the little details, and I can tell that in my game.
Wreh-Wilson didn't even touch the field until Week 9 and only saw 93 snaps from that point forward. He played well during his limited time.
The coaching staff has been alternating Sensabaugh and Wreh-Wilson at starter and nickel throughout the offseason, and it could go a long way toward giving the defense an identity.
Figure out the Offensive Tackle Situation
The Titans' selection of Taylor Lewan with their first-round pick came as a surprise to many after it seemed as though the team had already filled any gaps at the position with the free-agent signing of Michael Oher—still a confounding signing in my opinion.
With Lewan in the fold, the Titans now have two tackles being paid like starters and a rookie who is likely ready to start right away.
Head coach Ken Whisenhunt will allow the four-year starter from the University of Michigan to compete for a starting role, per The Tennessean's John Glennon:
If he earns it, he will start. He'll be the backup left tackle starting (offseason work) and then we'll move him around. We're going to play him at different spots, get him reps, kind of get him started that way to see what he can do.
If Lewan does earn a starting role, it will either cause Oher to be benched for a year or result in the premature departure of Michael Roos via trade or, more likely, release.
Otherwise, Lewan can spend his first season in the NFL providing superior depth on the offensive line.
Who Will Play "Will" Inside Linebacker?
After general manager Ruston Webster signed Wesley Woodyard away from the Denver Broncos, he was all but guaranteed to start at "Mike" inside linebacker.
According to John Glennon of The Tennessean, Woodyard has been one of the team's best offseason signings:
He had some ups and downs with the Broncos last season, and was pulled from the starting lineup late in the season. But as a smart, veteran inside linebacker with experience in both the 3-4 and 4-3, Woodyard looks like a great fit for the Titans. He's done a good job teaching some of his teammates the ins and outs of the new scheme, and he's served as a natural mentor for rookie Avery Williamson, a fellow Kentucky alum.
Zach Brown has typically been projected as the guy to start alongside Woodyard, but with the team yet to practice in pads, the window of opportunity is wide open.
Where Do All the Defensive Linemen Fit Best?
Several of the Titans' defensive linemen don't quite have a definite position in the team's "30" front, but with the talent the Titans have on the roster, the team will gain some flexibility when deciding on game-day rosters each week.
Jurrell Casey, Mike Martin, Sammie Lee Hill, Karl Klug and Al Woods are some of the more versatile talents in the group, but ultimately, defensive coordinator Ray Horton will need to find the best fit for each player.
Horton is known for his hybrid 3-4 defense and will take advantage of the current roster's strengths, including more use of four-man fronts.
Depending on how well the Titans' defensive linemen are able to adapt to the intricacies of a three-man front, the Titans could field one of the league's most adaptable front sevens.