Tennessee Titans: 2014 Final Report Card
How else can you define the Tennessee Titans season other than an epic failure?
A 7-9 record that was followed by the firing of Mike Munchak, one of the franchise’s all-time most popular players, from his head coaching duties was necessary if the team was to take another leap forward.
Tennessee hired Ken Whisenhunt away from San Diego and planned to have him use his talents for mentoring quarterbacks to improve Jake Locker’s game. What happened was just the opposite. Locke was injured and never got better. The team has a future with Zach Mettenberger behind center but it may take another season or two for him to fully mature and the defense is as muddled as some of those backwoods Tennessee swamps known for wild animals and gator tail.
To say things are a mess with this franchise is as big an understatement as it is to say Al Gore invented the Internet.
As Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com wrote, this was a team that sold playoff aspirations to the fans and after the 2013 season, they bought into the hype. Once the season started, the blues took over and nothing but a 2-14 season was had by all. That, is nothing to write home about.
Here is a look at the 2014 season with the Tennessee Titan’s final grades for offense, defense and coaching.
What offense? Where was the passing game? Where was the running game? This is what Whisenhunt was brought in to do – create more offensive force and make opposing defenses take notice.
The Titans were built to be offensive-line centered, and the group played poorly. Tennessee was never able to establish any sort of run game, and three different quarterbacks contributed to the worst third-down offense in the NFL.
All of this will change in 2015, mainly because there will be a new starter behind center and some tweaking of the game plan. The Draft could bring the team Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota, which would also help sell tickets. But a complete overhaul is needed.
GRADE – F
Again, what defense. This is a unit that did not scare one team in 2014 and gave up 438 points in 16 games.
The Titans couldn't stop the run, as they often failed to fill gaps and were not disciplined enough to stay true to their assignments. They gave up an average of 137.2 rushing yards a game, and they frequently tackled poorly. Someone like Leonard Williams could be a solid option in the Draft and free agent defensive linemen must be a priority.
GRADE – F
I am not sure what happened to Whisenhunt between his time in Arizona where he took the team to a Super Bowl, to his time in San Diego where he helped develop Philip Rivers to another head coaching stint with Tennessee. The talent wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bare, either.
Just like Kuharsky said, the 2014 Tennessee Titans weren't just a bad team, they were a bad team that didn't show any significant improvement from the start of the season to the end. Injuries meant some key guys disappeared. But players didn't produce and plans and schemes didn't work, and they showed little ability or willingness to adapt.
OVERALL GRADE - F