The Titans had the NFL's most electrifying running back in '09 and also learned they'd written off their quarterback a little too soon.
As a team, however, they had nothing to show for it. Tennessee was one of the league's biggest underachievers last season—an 8-8 team that got started way too late, perhaps missing out on a golden opportunity.
As the Titans prepare for the '10 season, they do so knowing they need to be fast out of the starting gate, after failing to recover from a 0-6 start last season despite the improved play of quarterback Vince Young down the stretch.
This fall, Young will lead the way from the beginning. The former University of Texas star hopes the season will end in his home state with a huge payoff—the Super Bowl.
"If we can kick (butt) all year, take it a game at a time and get to Dallas, in that stadium," Young said says with a smile, "that's what is motivating me. ... Hell yeah, we can do it."
The Titans have some unstoppable pieces on offense—although running back Chris Johnson, the reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year, threatens an extended contract holdout—but the defense will have plenty of new faces, making a playoff run more challenging.
Offense: The Titans' receiving corps has been maligned over the years, but the pieces are in place to change some opinions. The team's top three receivers have a chance to take the offense to the next level if they can put some inconsistencies behind them. That group includes veterans Justin Gage and Nate Washington and rising second-year player Kenny Britt, who showed promise as a rookie.
Defense: The Titans said goodbye to one of the team's leaders in defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who joined the Lions. His energy—and mindset at practice—will be hard to duplicate, but Tennessee is excited about the progress of third-year defensive end William Hayes. But the big newcomer to the defensive line is first-round pick Derrick Morgan, who is considered by many to be close to NFL-ready and could be a starter early in the season.
Kenny Britt, WR. It has been a less-than-spectacular offseason for Britt, a '09 first-round pick. He missed time early in the offseason and showed up out of condition, and he has spent plenty of time working with receivers on the bottom end of the depth chart. Britt should get the message by training camp: He needs to step up. He certainly has the tools, and after leading the Titans in receiving yards (701) a year ago he's in a position to do it. Britt will develop more chemistry with Young in camp, and it should pay off this fall.
"He definitely has the skills and the talent, and all he has to do is take care of his responsibilities. He has a chance to be a special player. It is all up to him basically." — QB Vince Young
"When the Titans have the football, it's Johnson who you worry about, not necessarily Young. So the plan is to stack the line of scrimmage and try and contain the lightning-quick back and make Young beat you. That can be a dangerous plan, however. The more players huddled around the line of scrimmage, the more of a chance Johnson can bust through and take it the distance. ...
"While Young has improved as a passer, he's still inconsistent and especially has trouble throwing to his left. The Titans have one of the best offensive lines in the game that protect him, however, and give him time to throw the ball downfield. ...
"When you look at the Titans on defense, the biggest mystery last season was the play of safety Michael Griffin. The guy is a great athlete, and after a Pro Bowl season in '08 he looked to be coming into his own. But he never looked very confident last year. Griffin takes way too many chances, and he takes bad angles, whether he's defending a play downfield or closing in on a tackle. Part of the reason last year was probably because he was surrounded by inexperience at times and he didn't trust those around him. But he looked like a different guy from the previous season. He's going to have to settle down if they are going to improve, but they also need to help him out with a pass rush, which was non-existent at times last season."
QB: Vince Young, Kerry Collins
FB: Ahmard Hall
RB: Chris Johnson, Javon Ringer
WR: Nate Washington, Lavelle Hawkins
WR: Kenny Britt, Justin Gage
TE: Bo Scaife, Jared Cook
LT: Michael Roos, Mike Otto
LG: Leroy Harris, Troy Kropog
C: Eugene Amano, Fernando Velasco
RG: Jake Scott, Troy Kropog
RT: David Stewart, Mike Otto
DE: William Hayes, Jason Babin
DT: Jason Jones, Jovan Haye
DT: Tony Brown, Sen'Derrick Marks
DE: Derrick Morgan, Jacob Ford
OLB: Will Witherspoon, Rennie Curran
MLB: Stephen Tulloch, Colin Allred
OLB: Gerald McRath, David Thornton
CB: Jason McCourty, Ryan Mouton
CB: Cortland Finnegan, Tye Hill
SS: Chris Hope, Donnie Nickey
FS: Michael Griffin, Vincent Fuller
K: Rob Bironas
P: Brett Kern
KR: Damian William
PR: Damian Williams
LS: Ken Amato
CSN: Even if Aaron Hernandez has nothing to do with his associate's murder, it's a story the "brand-conscious" Patriots want him far away from.
2013 SNF Schedule
Check out the 2013 Sunday Night Football schedule.
Latest from ProFootballTalk
Video: Football from NBC Sports
Texans' Mt. Rushmore
ProFootballTalk: Erik Kuselias, Mike Florio and the fans agree that Andre Johnson, J.J. Watt, Arian Foster and Bob McNair belong on the Texans' Mt. Rushmore, but Frank Wycheck argues that Mario Williams deserves a spot.
Check out some of the NFL cheerleaders from across the league.