The Tennessee Titans‘ offense has been practically nonexistent since the 2008 season. They have not had a single quarterback play an entire season without missing time due to injury in nearly 10 years. New head coach Ken Whisenhunt understands what it takes to build a successful offense and is given the task of taking this current roster and proving the players are capable of playing at a higher level not shown under previous staffs.
Lauded for his work in just one season with the San Diego Chargers, Whisenhunt plans to install a truly vertical offense, placing extra pressure on quarterback Jake Locker to improve his game dramatically if he plans on being the guy to run the new system — unless, of course, Whisenhunt heeds my advice and nabs a falling Teddy Bridgewater in the first round of next month’s NFL Draft.
Whisenhunt is implementing a TE-friendly offense geared towards the quarterback starting inside before moving outside to his receivers. This will mean a lot of work for Delanie Walker, now in his second season with the Titans. Walker put up career numbers last season in receptions (60), yards (571) and touchdowns (six).
If the Titans wish to give Locker more weapons to work with, keep an eye on North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron. Ebron has the combination of size (6-foot-4, 250 pounds) and speed (4.6 40-yard dash) to cause mismatches on all levels of the field, and would come in as immediate support with the Titans lacking much depth at the position behind Walker.
Currently, the Titans have Craig Stevens, who just recently agreed to take a pay cut to remain on the roster. As a blocker, Stevens is the team’s best tight end, but he is a liability on the receiving end. Lacking separation speed and agility, Stevens has never caught more than 23 passes in a season.
The team also has project player Taylor Thompson, a converted defensive end. Thompson has plenty of upside for the position, but is still unproven and outside of few key special teams blocks. He has been virtually invisible offensively as evident by his nine career receptions over the last two seasons.
Whisenhunt is an ex-NFL tight end, his new offensive coordinator Jason Michaels was the tight ends coach of the San Diego Chargers for the past three seasons, and Whisenhunt’s quarterback progressions will begin with his tight ends. It’s a pretty safe assumption at this point that the position will be of major importance.
If quarterback is not the Titans’ pick at 11, then keep an eye on Ebron, who is capable of filling a need as well as giving Locker another special talent to work with going into a career-defining season.