Shark Bites

The Titans have signed free-agent OLB Brian Orakpo and re-signed free-agent OLB Derrick Morgan. Both players stood among the most talented edge rushers on the open market. Morgan tallied just 6.5 sacks last year but added another 7 QB hits and 30 hurries in his 1st season as a 3-4 OLB. Orakpo has lost 9+ games to injury 2 of the past 3 years but has reached 8.5 sacks in each of his other 4 years. The Titans quietly tied for 4th-most starter weeks (8) among team defenses in fantasy football last year. Look to them as a late-round draft option, especially with S Da'Norris Searcy also added and DE Leonard Williams potentially on the way in the NFL draft.

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The Titans selected OT Taylor Lewan with the 11th pick of the draft.  This was a "best-available-player" selection.  OT wasn't a huge need for Tennessee, but Lewan will likely slide right into the Week 1 starting lineup.  The Michigan product started 48 games in college and has the athleticism to emerge as an elite pass protector.  His arrival -- plus the sheer fact that Tennessee didn't select a QB -- is good news for Jake Locker.

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The Titans have hired Ken Whisenhunt as their new HC.  Whisenhunt was believed to be the front-runner to land the head-coaching gig in Detroit, where he would have been able to work with QB Matt Stafford, WR Calvin Johnson and the rest of a talented roster.  Instead, he heads to a Titans team that finished 2013 ranked 22nd in total offense and that has question marks at QB and RB.  Jake Locker has struggled with consistency and durability through 3 pro seasons, and RB Chris Johnson is due $8 million this coming season after averaging 3.9 yards per carry in 2013.  Whiz has his work cut out for him but is regarded as an offensive guru.  He was a big part of QB Philip Rivers’ bounce-back campaign as San Diego’s OC this season.  Before that, Whisenhunt worked with Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh and Kurt Warner in Arizona.  He’s shown an ability to morph his offense depending on the strength of the personnel.  It’s unclear where the Titans’ strength lies right now.

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After a week of internal discussion, the Titans have decided to fire HC Mike Munchak and the rest of the coaching staff, including OC Dowell Loggains.  Munchak spent 31 years with the organization -- 12 as a player, 19 on the coaching staff -- and finishes his 3-year run as HC with a 22-26 record.  Tennessee didn't finish any of those seasons in the top half of the league in offense. The Titans' new HC will have big decisions to make at QB and RB.  Jake Locker has struggled with consistency and durability, while Chris Johnson is due $8 million after averaging 3.9 yards per carry this past season.

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The Titans have signed OG Andy Levitre to a 5-year, $39 million contract. It’s rich for an interior lineman, but Levitre was widely considered the best one on the open market. He graded out as the league’s 9th-best OG last year, according to Pro Football Focus. Levitre is better in the pass game than as a run-blocker, but the addition is still good news for RB Chris Johnson.

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2 years ago

The Titans have fired OC Chris Palmer.  They currently rank 24th in total offense, 20th in passing, and 19th in rushing.  We've heard scouts opine that Palmer's scheme wasn't a good fit for QB Jake Locker or RB Chris Johnson.  We wouldn't expect a significant change of philosophy the rest of this season though.  QB coach Dowell Loggains will serve as Tennessee's OC for the final 5 games.

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Titans HC Mike Munchak expects to see a big improvement from RB Chris Johnson and the rest of the ground game in 2012.  “I think he's excited to get last year behind him as we all are as far as the running game goes,” Munchak said. “We know it's not going to be worse, believe me. We feel like we're going to be able to make a drastic improvement from where we ended up."  Tennessee finished 31st in rushing last year.  Munchak cited a normal offseason for Johnson and another year in OC Chris Palmer's offense as reasons to expect an uptick in production.

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The Titans deployed a RB-by-committee against the Colts on Sunday.  Both Chris Johnson and Javon Ringer saw 14 carries.  Ringer was more productive, out-gaining Johnson 60 yards to 34.  HC Mike Munchak seemed to suggest after the game that they'll continue to rotate the 2 backs going forward.  “I think every game will be different,” Munchak said. “I just think it depends on the flow of the game, how it’s going. I don’t think we’re consciously trying to decide by series who’s playing."  For now, we'd still bet on Johnson leading this backfield in touches. Tennessee has 55 million reasons to give him the ball.  But Ringer has certainly earned a bigger role -- maybe 10-15 touches per game.  We'll continue to monitor the situation.

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3 years ago

The Tennessean reports that Titans HC Mike Munchak expects DEs Derrick Morgan and Jason Jones to practice and play this week. That's definitely a good thing for a D that allowed Jacksonville RBs 153 rushing yards on Sunday and recorded a pedestrian 2 sacks against Luke McCown. The Titans held DL tryouts on Tuesday but could only turn up a group whose biggest names were Everette Brown and Aaron Maybin. (Yuck.) Whenever they prove all the way back, Jones and Morgan -- in that order -- are the best bets for production on this front.

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The Titans have hired Chris Palmer as their new OC.  Palmer was most recently the HC of the UFL's Hartford Colonials, but he has 20 years of NFL experience, including 2 seasons as Browns HC and 7 seasons as an OC with the Jaguars and Texans.  He's known as a QB guru, which is an indication that Tennessee may be targeting a QB with its 1st-round pick.

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