2013 Tennessee Titans Identity: Smash Mouth Football
I mentioned briefly in a press conference analysis article posted HERE on Rant Sports how the Tennessee Titans were moving toward a more run-first offense, getting away from ex-offensive coordinator, Chris Palmer’s pass-heavy game plan. At a fundraiser benefit on May 21, 2013, GM Ruston Webster offered more insight into what type of identity he wanted the Titans to have.
During the event, Webster stated:
“I’ve been with other teams, I’ve been in Tampa and gone against the Titans, I’ve been in Seattle and gone against the Titans, and I had respect for the way they played the game, their toughness, the way they played with a physical nature, their offensive line was always a strong point. I was around some great defenses that, when we played the Titans, there was a lot of respect in our building because we knew we were going against Coach Munchak’s offensive line and what they would bring to the game on Sunday.”
“We wanted to establish that offensive line. We wanted to get that back to being a strong point of this football team and also to be able to run the ball consistently. When people think of the Titans, they think of a physical, hard-nosed football team, and to be honest with you, if you’re going to advance in the playoffs, you’ve got to be able to go to cold places and win, and to do that you’ve got to be physical, you’ve got to be strong and you’ve got to be able to run the ball.”
As far as the Titans go, Webster seemed to follow through with action. The interior of the offensive line was completely rebuilt with the signing of Andy Levitre, the retention of Fernando Velasco, and the drafting of Chance Warmack and Brian Schwenke. Those moves, combined with the addition of power back Shonn Greene over from the New York Jets and tight end Delanie Walker over from the San Francisco 49ers, have created a powerful core that will not only protect Chris Johnson but help open up some lanes for third year quarterback, Jake Locker.
On the defensive side of the ball there will also be immediate improvement. Not only will the revamped offense help take pressure off the defense by maintaining more time of possession, but there were a few key acquisitions as well. Specifically, the Titans added size on the defensive line with veterans Sammie Lee Hill and Antonio Johnson and back-end safety leadership with George Wilson and Bernard Pollard. Regarding Pollard in particular, Webster said he wanted the Titans to, “get bigger, tougher and smarter, and I think Bernard is all three of those things, and he’ll have a great influence on our team and be a great player.” Look for the Pollard and Wilson to combine often with holdover safety, Michael Griffin, in multiple 3-safety looks.
All of these moves bring the Titans back to a more smash mouth style of football that ten years ago would dominate the league. However, in today’s NFL, will it stand up to the pass-heavy offenses of perennial winners such as the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots? Only time will tell.