The Tennessee Titans finally had turnover in the offseason and are welcoming a new coaching regime this season. The new staff has been built on a very strong foundation of experience that starts with new head coach Ken Whisenhunt, who was the offensive coordinator for the Sand Diego Chargers last season.
It has been reported he will be in control of the offense, which is very good news for the Titans. After a season in which the Titans offense looked lost, mostly due to major injuries at important positions and a lack of proper scheming, the Titans will finally have an offensive-minded head coach with the capabilities to make sure there is a solid game plan heading into each game.
For a franchise looking to head in a new direction, Whisenhunt has everything you want in a new head coaching hire. Last year in San Diego, his offense was top five in the NFL for total yards-per-game and passing YPG. San Diego’s rushing attack had its best season in years, averaging 122 YPG. Prior to San Diego, Whisenhunt gained extremely important experience as a head coach for the Arizona Cardinals from 2007-2012.
During his tenure with the Cardinals, Whisenhunt was successful early in his first stint as head coach. He went to the super bowl in his second year and won the division in his third season before faltering in the next few seasons without a reliable quarterback. Some people like to give all the credit to Kurt Warner, but an argument can be made that Whisenhunt resurrected Warner’s career, much like he did with Philip Rivers last season for the Chargers. Whisenhunt’s ability to get every ounce of potential out of a quarterback bodes well for current quarterback Jake Locker.
Locker is coming off of a season that started with promise, but after leading the team to a 3-1 record, serious injuries to Locker’s hip and foot eventually ended his season along with the Titans. By all reports, Locker is ahead of schedule in his recovery from surgery and looking good in training camp. If he can avoid injury this season, Locker’s career could benefit mightily from the tutelage of Whisenhunt and John McNulty, who worked well with Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Mike Glennon last year. In the final year of his contract, Locker will be in the best position possible to show that he is the franchise quarterback the Titans have desperately needed since the late Steve McNair.
Other positions that will benefit greatly from Whisenhunt running the offense are the wide receivers and tight ends. Standout Kendal Wright, who is quickly becoming one of the most reliable pass-catchers in football, veteran Nate Washington and second-year deep-threat Justin Hunter will look to stretch the field more this year for the Titans.
With the trio of talented receivers making opposing defenses respect the deep ball, second-year tight end Delanie Walker will be Locker’s safety valve. Walker proved last season he is a more than capable blocker in the running game, while also showing the ability to get open by finding the empty space on the field in the passing game.
The X-factor for the Titans’ offense this season will be rookie running back Bishop Sankey, who the Titans drafted in the second round in last year’s draft. Sankey, the first running back taken in the draft, is a dual-threat back that could flourish right away in Whisenhunt’s offense. The ability to pass block gives Sankey the chance to be a three-down back for the Titans. In Whisehunt’s offense, Sankey, whose skill set fits perfectly, will be asked to hit the hole hard when handed the ball and catch the ball in the flat to bail out his quarterback, if needed.
Whisenthunt has already experienced the do’s and don’ts of a first-time head with his time in Arizona. Now, he has the chance to learn from his mistakes as he attempts to build the Titans into a winning franchise. He has surrounded himself with an excellent coaching staff, giving him the ability to focus on giving the Titans an identity they have greatly needed in recent seasons. With a talent-laden offensive roster, Whisenhunt is in prime position to turn heads around the league while leading the Titans to prosperous lands.