Offseason moves give Titans new look

6:00 PM, May 6, 2013   |    comments
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First, coach Mike Munchak changed the look of his staff. Then, general manager Ruston Webster and Munchak dramatically changed the complexion of the roster. In the wake of a 6-10 season and missing the playoffs for the fourth season in a row, they have added 12 free agents, eight draft picks and more than a dozen undrafted rookies. Several coaches new to the staff will be in charge of guiding those players. Here's my ranking of the top 10 additions the Titans have made since the end of last season:

1. Guard Andy Levitre

Brushing off interest from a handful of other teams, Levitre signed a six-year, $46.8 million contract on the first day of free agency. It signaled the start of a new, aggressive approach for the Titans. They got a top-notch player in the former Bills blocker, a fifth-year pro who didn't miss a start in his first four seasons. He should be dependable for years to come.

2. Defensive assistant Gregg Williams

It was a controversial move considering his connections to Bountygate, but adding Williams has already helped shake up a defense in need of an attitude adjustment after a run of disappointing seasons. Players said they took note of the new tone in their first meeting with him. A year after setting a franchise record for points allowed, the Titans should play with more of an edge.

3. Safety Bernard Pollard

Pollard wasn't the first free agent the Titans signed, and he wasn't nearly the most expensive. But the payoff could be a big one. The former Raven is just the kind of hard-nosed player Williams and defensive coordinator Jerry Gray were looking for. Playing strong safety, he'll allow Michael Griffin to settle in at free safety. Pollard's overall production might not end up matching his No. 3 ranking on this list, but he should bring important intangibles to the defense.

4. Guard Chance Warmack

Many analysts see him as a can't-miss player capable of playing double-digit NFL seasons, so the Titans couldn't afford to pass up the Alabama All-American in the first round with the 10th overall pick. Warmack will be a bruiser and stabilizer at right guard, hopefully for years.

5. Tight end Delanie Walker

After losing free agent Jared Cook to the Rams, Walker was a good fallback plan. With the 49ers, he was overshadowed by fellow tight end Vernon Davis, but Walker is versatile, capable of consistent playmaking as a receiver and regarded as a solid blocker.

6. Running back Shonn Greene

The Titans signed the former Jet and want him to carry the ball more often than their backups of recent years. He should bring a physical presence in the middle of the field as well as at the goal line. And while Chris Johnson will lose carries, he should benefit from Greene's presence overall.

7. Receivers coach Shawn Jefferson

Known for a no-nonsense approach, Jefferson helped Calvin Johnson develop into one of the NFL's best receivers with the Lions. With the Titans, his mission is to get the most out of some players in need of a wake-up call, most notably Kenny Britt. Jefferson's arrival also allowed Dave Ragone to move to his area of expertise as quarterbacks coach.

8. Defensive tackle Sammie Hill

The Titans lost their identity as a stingy run defense in recent seasons, but they think the 330-pound Hill will clog the middle effectively. He remains a somewhat unproven commodity, however, because he was mostly a backup with the Lions.

9. Wide receiver Justin Hunter

Hunter has star-caliber size, speed and talent, which is why the Titans traded up in the second round to draft him. He won't necessarily make a big impact right away, however. A year ago, first-round pick Kendall Wright led the team in receptions but posted a modest average of 9.8 yards per catch.

10. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick

If all goes according to plan, Jake Locker will be healthy and productive, and Fitzpatrick will stay on the bench. The former Bills starter is a good insurance policy, however. Something else to consider: With Fitzpatrick lurking, Locker might take more ownership of a team that sometimes leaned on Matt Hasselbeck's influence.


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