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Tennessee Titans Betting – Year One Of The Post-Fisher Era Will Be Rough

Posted by Stan Simmons on 7/13/2011 6:13:08 PM
tennessee titans betting

Some online betting players can’t even remember who coached Tennessee before Jeff Fisher (it was Jack Pardee in 1994), but the Titans and Fisher have gone their separate ways and there will be big changes made in terms of personnel. However, the Titans are lacking in quality at quarterback, and that is going to be a major problem in 2011.

Head Coach: Mike Munchak
Offensive Coordinator: Chris Palmer
Defensive Coordinator: Jerry Gray 
Owner: Bud Adams
Stadium: LP Field 
Capacity: 68,798
Super Bowl Wins: 0

Offense

The Tennessee offense was a mess in 2010, finishing 27th in the NFL, and running back Chris Johnson should be lauded for finishing fourth in rushing as the opposition stacked eight or nine defenders in the box to stop him. Three quarterbacks saw time last year under coach Jeff Fisher and coordinator Mike Heimerdinger, who are both gone, and out of the trio of Vince Young, Kerry Collins and Rusty Smith, would you have guessed that Smith would be the one left standing? Young will likely be traded when the lockout ends, while Collins suddenly retired, leaving new coach Mike Munchak and coordinator Chris Palmer with Smith and rookie Jake Locker, who was surprisingly taken with the eighth pick. Kenny Britt and Nate Washington are back at receiver, while Randy Moss won’t be re-signed, and the Titans also have to figure out what to do at tight end, as free agent Bo Scaife may be now expendable with Jared Cook coming along last season. The line seems to be in good shape, although guard Leroy Harris is a free agent.

But the quarterback situation is looming over the Titans and is a serious threat to their NFL betting odds. Unless Tennessee tries to lure a free agent to town, they’re stuck with either Smith or Locker, and neither should inspire confidence. There are a few targets to throw to and of course, Johnson is in the backfield, but in this day and age in the NFL, you’re not going to win until you have a good quarterback, which means the Titans are in trouble.

Grade: C-

Defense

The defense finished 26th, but they really struggled in the second half of the season when the offense often put them in tough situations. Against the pass is where the Titans really had problems, coming in 29th, and that’s not going to work in a pass-heavy division like the AFC South. The secondary is a tough-tackling unit led by safety Michael Griffin and cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who made headlines for his fight with Houston’s Andre Johnson, but he is never going to back down. Linebacker Stephen Tulloch was second in the league in tackles and seemed to be all over the place, and the Titans also got a career year out of end Jason Babin, who had 12.5 sacks and played 16 games for the first time since his rookie season in 2004, while Dave Ball had seven sacks on the other end of the line. Keep an eye on rookie linebacker Akeem Ayers, who can play outside linebacker or as a stand-up rush end.

But the Titans have a lot of free agents to worry about on this side of the ball, and re-signing them is essential to Tennessee’s NFL betting odds. Babin, Ball, Tulloch, and Jacob Ford are all free agents, and there are a few others who are key to Tennessee’s depth and need a new deal as well. The Titans also have a new coordinator in Jerry Gray, who replaces Chuck Cecil, another longtime Fisher associate, and Gray spurned a chance to coach at his alma mater, Texas, to coach for the Titans after his time in Seattle. Gray played for the old Houston Oilers and coached the Titans’ secondary in 1999, so he’ll be used to the fanbase and the expectations of the team. Now, it’s a matter of getting the Tennessee defense to perform, because there are good pieces there, if everyone comes back.

Grade: C

Special Teams

Rookie Marc Mariani was a great find for the Titans as they were fourth in punt returns and nine in kick returns, and he made the Pro Bowl for his efforts. Look for more of the same this season, although he may need some help as teams will be loading up to stop him now. The Titans were also second in the league in covering punts, but they were 30th in covering kickoffs, so that will have to be improved on.

Brett Kern was 22nd in the league in average punting, but he was seventh in net punting, and the Titans need all the help they can get in the battle of field position. Kicker Rob Bironas was third in the NFL in field-goal percentage and again, the Titans need all the points they can get, especially this season, which could look like the second half of 2010 if the quarterback situation doesn’t sort itself out.

Grade: B

Prediction

NFL betting odds have the Titans at +700 to win the AFC South for the first time since 2008, +2500 to win the AFC and +4500 to win the Super Bowl, and that should be the furthest thing from their mind heading into the season. First, the Titans (and their fans) have to get used to not having Fisher around for the first time since 1994. However, Munchak will be accepted and given time to implement his systems, which may not be much different from Fisher as he has coached in Tennessee since 1997, and he is one of the best-loved Oilers from the old Houston franchise.

The Titans need a quarterback, and while Locker is the man of the future, he probably won’t be ready this year. The defense also has a lot of questions on their side of the ball when it comes to personnel, and they still have to get familiar with Gray’s way of doing things, so don’t expect much out of Tennessee’s sports betting odds this season.

2011 Schedule

Week 1 – at Jacksonville (1:00 PM ET)
Week 2 – vs. Baltimore (1:00 PM ET)
Week 3 – vs. Denver (1:00 PM ET)
Week 4 – at Cleveland (1:00 PM ET)
Week 5 – at Pittsburgh (1:00 PM ET)
Week 7 – vs. Houston (1:00 PM ET)
Week 8 – vs. Indianapolis (1:00 PM ET)
Week 9 – vs. Cincinnati (4:05 PM ET)
Week 10 – at Carolina (1:00 PM ET)
Week 11 – at Atlanta (1:00 PM ET)
Week 12 – vs. Tampa Bay (1:00 PM ET)
Week 13 – at Buffalo (1:00 PM ET)
Week 14 – vs. New Orleans (1:00 PM ET)
Week 15 – at Indianapolis (1:00 PM ET)
Week 16 – vs. Jacksonville (Saturday, 1:00 PM ET)
Week 17 – at Houston (1:00 PM ET)


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