Remember The Titans

By: Michael Spiers news services

The Tennessee Titans have finished their mandatory minicamp and OTAs (organized team activities). Training camp starts July 23, but we now have a clearer picture of how the team might line up when the new season kicks off.

Will Levis is locked in as the starting quarterback heading into 2024. He had a promising rookie year, but still needs to prove he’s the franchise guy.

At running back, the Titans seem ready for a dual approach with newly acquired speedster Tony Pollard, who returns to the state after a stellar collegiate career at Memphis and five years in Dallas, and Tyjae Spears, who enters his sixth season in Nashville.

Pollard is expected to take on more early-down duties, but they’ll likely go with whoever’s hot each game.

Veteran wideout DeAndre Hopkins, who was the main target last season, will face stiffer competition for catches with the additions of Calvin Ridley, coming from the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Tyler Boyd, from the Cincinnati Bengals.

Hopkins has an edge thanks to his existing chemistry with Levis, but Ridley is expected to share the primary receiving duties. Boyd looks set to take over the slot receiver spot, a role confirmed by first-year Titans head coach Brian Callahan.

Chig Okonkwo is expected to start at tight end unless Josh Whyle can make a strong case during training camp. Injured for substantial periods of his rookie campaign, Whyle showed potential. Okonkwo remains the clear favorite for now.

On the offensive line, rookie JC Latham is moving from the right tackle position he played at Alabama to left tackle and has shown the progress needed to start Week 1.

Titans offensive line coach Bill Callahan has called Latham his favorite player in the entire 2024 draft.

And yes, it is that Bill Callahan. The once Oakland Raider head coach, who took his team to Super Bowl XXXVII, is now the offensive line coach under his son, Titans head coach Brian Callahan. The addition of Lloyd Cushenberry at center is a big upgrade, bringing experience that will benefit Levis.

Dennard Wilson, the Tennessee Titans’ new defensive coordinator, is pushing for a more aggressive and confrontational defense in 2024 by prioritizing more press coverage.

Wilson emphasizes physicality, where cornerbacks challenge receivers right from the snap. He believes creating hesitation at the line of scrimmage disrupts the timing of the offense and forces quarterbacks into contested passes.

Last year with the Baltimore Ravens, his secondary excelled in limiting passing touchdowns while employing press coverage extensively.

The Titans’ offseason moves reflect Wilson’s philosophy, highlighted by the trade for L’Jarius Sneed from the Chiefs. Known for his physicality and proficiency in press coverage, Sneed will be a key player in Wilson’s scheme.

The Titans also signed former Bengals cornerback Chidobe Awuzie, who thrives in physical, press situations.

Wilson’s goal is to create a defense that consistently challenges and disrupts opposing offenses, helping the Titans move away from last year’s struggles and develop into a more formidable unit.

Despite their significant offseason moves, the Titans aren’t getting much love from the media. Many think they’re in for a rough season and could end up with a top-five pick in the 2025 NFL Draft.

However, the team is optimistic. The new talent, including Ridley and Pollard, should make them more competitive than last year, and Levis’s flashes of brilliance as a rookie add to their potential.

Winning their division won’t be easy with both the Jaguars and Texans looking strong, but the Titans have a realistic shot at a Wild Card spot.

Training camp will be crucial as the team gets used to Callahan’s system and works to improve their standing in the AFC South.

Their first preseason game is at home against the San Francisco 49ers on August 10, and the regular season kicks off August 25 in Chicago against Caleb Williams and the Bears.

Remember the Titans!