Tennessee Titans defensive free agent acquisitions – Upgrades or more of the same?
This offseason, Tennessee Titans general manager Ruston Webster was tasked with upgrading a roster with glaring holes and building a playoff contender that Titans owner Bud Adams demanded to see this fall. For the past three offseasons, the Titans have failed to attract the big name free agents like Peyton Manning who chose the Denver Broncos, forgoing the opportunity of minority stake in the Titans franchise. Since the Titans are unable to provide the funds or the stability most premiere free agents are asking for, Webster is relegated to mining the fields of uncertainty which is full of veterans who are considered to be used goods and are only solid rotational players at best.
Unable to attract quality Webster has resorted to building depth at the Titans position of need desperately hoping that rotating these players will mask their deficiencies and limitations. Last season the Titans’ defense was frequently exposed and instead of acquiring an elite edge rusher to pressure the quarterback or secondary personnel to help in coverage, Webster signed two in the box safeties who cannot cover and a defensive end whose best years may be behind him.
Safeties George Wilson and Bernard Pollard are both exceptional tacklers, but they are huge liabilities in the passing game which does not address the Titans’ secondary needs. Webster should have explored acquiring veteran defensive backs like Minnesota Vikings‘ Antoine Winfield or Green Bay Packers‘ Sam Shields, who are both exceptional in coverage which would have immediately upgraded the Titans secondary.
Since the efforts to lure Elvis Dumervil failed miserably, Webster resorted to Plan T by signing Oakland Raiders‘ defensive end Kamerion Wimbley who has registered 42.5 career sacks. Wimbley’s production with the Raiders is considered to be bloated in some circles because he frequently saw single blockers due to opposing teams doubling All-Pro defensive tackle Richard Seymour. Wimbley will not be so fortunate in the Music City, and he will be the Titans’ primary pass rusher that will need to register double digit sacks for the defense to have a chance. Due to a limited budget and a small market, Webster’s options were severely limited. Wimbley was all the Titans could afford. Maybe Kyle Vanden Bosch would be willing to return to the Titans at the veteran minimum and finish his career in the Music City?
Although the free agency period is far from over, with the NFL Draft only 23 days away, the Titans front office will continue to work tirelessly to address the defense. They have to hope that at least one of the veterans that they acquired will have a breakout year to make their former employer regret the day that they decided to let them go.
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