2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Titans ready, eager to win with coach Whisenhunt

    2014-07-22 16:44

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A coaching change always creates excitement, bringing the promise of more wins and elusive playoff berths.

Ken Whisenhunt's resume is loaded enough that the Tennessee Titans believe their new boss can end their losing ways.

''He understands what perfection looks like,'' receiver Nate Washington said. ''He understands what a Super Bowl looks like. He understands what getting to that top tier in the NFL is going to take, so his expectation right now is much needed. He understands what it's going to take for us to get to where we want to be, and that's hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the day.''

That's bold talk for a franchise that last reached the postseason in 2008 and last won a playoff game in January 2003. The Titans had losing records four of the past five seasons. New president Tommy Smith fired Mike Munchak after a 7-9 record and went outside team ties in hiring a man with Super Bowl experience.

Whisenhunt took the 2008 Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl, and won a championship ring three years earlier as Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator.

The Titans made a bunch of other changes, too. They cut one-time 2,000-yard rusher Chris Johnson, long-time kicker Rob Bironas, right tackle David Stewart and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. General manager Ruston Webster brought in a batch of veterans, including Pro Bowl punt returner Dexter McCluster, linebackers Shaun Phillips and Wesley Woodyard, and right tackle Michael Oher. He also re-signed safety Bernard Pollard and kick returner Leon Washington.

Whisenhunt brought in Ray Horton as defensive coordinator, and he's starting to move the Titans from the 4-3 scheme they've played for a couple of decades to a 3-4. Webster continues tinkering with the roster, helping ramp up the pressure to perform.

''That's what it needs to be like,'' Pollard said. ''Guys need to walk around on eggshells. That's how it needs to be, and I think guys are understanding. Guys are seeing what it's really like. ... With our coaching staff, they eat football, they sleep football. They smell like football, and that's what we needed.''

Some things to watch for at the Titans' training camp:

ALL EYES ON LOCKER: How the Titans fare depends heavily on quarterback Jake Locker. He has missed 14 of 32 games since being chosen the starter, which is why Tennessee did not pick up his 2015 option. But the Titans have made it clear Locker is the starter. Charlie Whitehurst was brought in as the backup.

Locker didn't miss a session on the field this offseason and will go into training camp healthy.

''Jake works hard,'' Whisenhunt said. ''He's doing a great job as far as studying the offense and understanding his reads, really done a good job with a lot of the little things. His footwork, his technique, we've seen improvement there, and that's really exciting to see.''

NO MORE CJ: Johnson was cut in April, so the Titans must replace the NFL's second-leading rusher since 2008. Bishop Sankey, a second-round pick out of Washington, has a chance at the starting job with veteran Shonn Greene coming off his second knee surgery in the past year. Veteran Dexter McCluster also will be used at running back after catching 53 passes in Kansas City last year. With Johnson, the Titans averaged 4.1 yards per carry in 2013.

REPLACING VERNER: Pro Bowl cornerback Alterraun Verner signed with Tampa Bay rather than returning to Tennessee, and the Titans didn't sign a veteran to replace him. Instead, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, a third-round draft pick in 2013 out of Connecticut, is competing with Coty Sensabaugh to start opposite veteran Jason McCourty.

BRAND NEW KICKER: Tennessee unexpectedly cut Bironas in March and brought in Maikon Bonani, who only kicked one field goal in the preseason with the Titans last year. Bonani, a Brazilian native who played at South Florida, at least spent most of the preseason in Tennessee. Travis Coons, an undrafted free agent from Washington, also is competing for the job.

TOP DRAFT PICK: The last team to sign its first-round draft pick a year ago, the Titans may cut it close again with left tackle Taylor Lewan. The 11th pick overall out of Michigan remains unsigned. Right guard Chance Warmack missed the first four practices of camp before getting his deal last year.

---

Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Richard RodgersJul 1 05:03p

Green Bay Packers TE Richard Rodgers could see more playing time in 2015, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Rodgers played 528 snaps, while fellow TE Andrew Quarless played [ More ]

Rob HouslerJun 30 03:13p

Cleveland Browns TEs Gary Barnidge, Rob Housler and Jim Dray could all end up taking over for TE Jordan Cameron, who is now with the Miami Dolphins. Head coach [ More ]

Sam BradfordJun 29 05:22p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (knee) is expected to be in the final phase of his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament once training camp begins. Bradford's second [ More ]

Charles JohnsonJun 29 02:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Charles X. Johnson appears to have everything it takes to produce in the NFL, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. 'He's got great work ethic, and [ More ]

C.J. SpillerJun 28 09:02p

New Orleans Saints RB C.J. Spiller has a perfect skill-set for head coach Sean Payton's system, which relies on getting the ball to players in space, according Chris Wesseling [ More ]

Tony MoeakiJun 25 07:12p

Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Moeaki will compete with TE Jacob Tamme for the Falcons' starting tight end job during training camp. QB Matt Ryan praised both tight ends for [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJun 25 03:52p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin's reported weight gain this offseason is being overblown, according to general manager Dave Gettleman. Gettleman expects Benjamin to be ready to go for training [ More ]

Antoine CasonJun 25 03:03a

Free-agent CB Antoine Cason (foot) will miss the 2015 season due to surgery he underwent on Tuesday, June 23. Cason (Ravens) did not specify what type of surgery he [ More ]

Marvin JonesJun 24 09:13p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Marvin Jones (ankle, foot) did not play in 2014 due to multiple foot and ankle issues, but he is healthy and was impressive in organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp.

Keith WenningJun 24 02:43p

Free-agent QB Keith Wenning (Ravens) signed with the Cincinnati Bengals Wednesday, June 24. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Pierre GarconJun 24 02:23p

Washington Redskins WR Pierre Garcon could be featured more often in the passing game this season based on the offseason workouts. Garcon often lined up to the right of [ More ]

Martavis BryantJun 24 01:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers WRs Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant are expected to compete for the No. 2 wide receiver job during training camp. Both players performed well during offseason workouts.

Peyton ManningJun 24 11:53a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning was the subject of preliminary trade discussions with the Houston Texans, according to a source. The talks occurred before Manning restructured his deal and [ More ]

Rueben RandleJun 24 10:53a

New York Giants WR Rueben Randle was the best receiver on the field by a wide margin during spring practices, in the opinion of beat writer Jordan Ranaan. Randle [ More ]

Chris IvoryJun 24 10:43a

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory is listed as the starting running back entering training camp, according to beat writer Rich Cimini's unofficial depth chart. RB Bilal Powell is [ More ]

Devonta FreemanJun 23 10:22a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman enters training camp ahead of RB Tevin Coleman on the depth chart.

Joseph RandleJun 23 10:02a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle appears to be the clear leader at running back, and it's his job to lose in training camp.

Ahmad BradshawJun 22 11:32p

Free-agent RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Colts) has been suspended one game for violation of the league's substance abuse policy. If he signs with a team he must sit out for the first week.

Terrelle PryorJun 22 04:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Terrelle Pryor was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns Monday, June 22, according to a source.

Fred DavisJun 19 06:02p

New England Patriots TE Fred Davis was released Friday, June 19.

Dennis PittaJun 19 02:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) was not medically cleared to practice in minicamp as he continues to recover from his second dislocated and fractured hip in as many [ More ]

Isaiah CrowellJun 19 01:22p

Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell could be the workhorse back if his ball security improves, according to offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

Devonta FreemanJun 19 01:12p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman will be used in a lot of different ways, including as a receiver, according to head coach Dan Quinn. 'I knew Devonta had terrific [ More ]

Chris OgbonnayaJun 19 11:32a

Free-agent RB Chris Ogbonnaya (Giants) announced his retirement Friday, June 19.

John MoffittJun 18 11:02p

Free-agent OG John Moffitt unretired Wednesday, June 17, and cleared waivers Thursday, June 18. He is free to sign with a team of his choosing. The Philadelphia Eagles, Miami [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 09:32p

Free-agent QB Terrelle Pryor is going to give it a shot at playing wide receiver in the NFL. Some teams have already expressed an interest.

Allen RobinsonJun 18 09:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson was described as 'unbelievable' by QB Blake Bortles Thursday, June 18. 'He's definitely a threat now in the red zone. ... He's physical. He [ More ]

Terrelle PryorJun 18 05:32p

Cincinnati Bengals QB Terrelle Pryor was waived Thursday, June 18.

Taylor ThompsonJun 18 05:32p

Tennesse Titans TE Taylor Thompson was waived Thursday, June 18.

Matthew MulliganJun 18 04:32p

Free-agent TE Matthew Mulligan (Titans) signed an undisclosed contract with the Buffalo Bills Thursday, June 18.

Carlton MitchellJun 18 04:22p

Free-agent WR Carlton Mitchell (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed contract with the Atlanta Falcons Thursday, June 18. WR Shane Wynn was waived.

Daniel ThomasJun 18 04:12p

Free-agent RB Daniel Thomas (Dolphins) signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears Thursday, June 18. Financial terms were not disclosed.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group