The Titans are a mess offensively. Coach Mike Munchak fired offensive coordinator Chris Palmer three weeks ago and promoted quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains, who is 32 and has been a Titans assistant since 2006. The Titans rank No. 23 in total yards and scoring, and are No. 19 in rushing yards and No. 6 in average yards per carry. In the last four games, they’ve averaged only 16.5 points. The source of many of their problems is their offensive line, where they’ve been wiped out by injuries. Four starters are on injured reserve — Steve Hutchinson, David Stewart, Eugene Amano and LeRoy Harris. The number climbs to five if you include former backup Kevin Matthews, the first cousin of Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews who was starting at center before sustaining a season-ending ankle injury Monday night. Their line looked like a strength going into the season but now is a liability, and it’s hard to see any team without an elite quarterback playing good offense in this circumstance.
Halfback Chris Johnson hasn’t been a dominating player since his contract holdout last year, but he’s running better this season and is one of the game’s best halfbacks despite numbers that aren’t bad but well below his best seasons. He’s not quite the blazer he was his first couple years in the NFL but still has plenty of home-run speed. He ranks No. 7 in the NFL in rushing (1,159 yards) and is averaging 4.8 yards a carry. That’s pretty good, especially considering his offensive line, but it doesn’t measure up with the standards he set in 2009, when he rushed for 2,006 yards and a 5.6-yard average in 2009. Quinn Johnson, a 2009 fifth-round pick by the Packers, is a backup fullback.
The Titans rank No. 21 in passing yards and No. 24 in average yards per attempt. Their receiving corps has some talent, but second-year quarterback Jake Locker is raw and struggling. Locker, the No. 8 pick overall in the 2011 draft, is one of the best athletes playing his position in the NFL, but he even more than most would have benefited from being a backup for at least two years and possibly three. He has excellent size (6-feet-3, 234 pounds), a stronger-than-average NFL throwing arm, and runs like a running back (4.52 seconds in the 40). However, his accuracy issues date at least to college, and he’s impatient and doesn’t always see the field well. His 76.5 passer rating (nine touchdown passes, nine interceptions) is No. 28 in the league, and his 57.6 completion percentage is No. 29. He missed five games early in the season because of an injury to his left (non-throwing shoulder) and is 3-6 as a starter.
Backup Matt Hasselbeck at age 37 still probably is the better quarterback, but the Titans are looking to develop Locker and presumably trying to find out within the next year or so whether he’s their answer long term. They probably don’t have a true No. 1 receiver but have several talented players at the position.
Kenny Britt (6-3, 215) probably is the best talent of the group — he has great size and good all-around athletic ability — but he keeps getting into trouble off the field and producing intermittently on it (41 receptions and three touchdowns in 12 games this season).
Rookie Kendall Wright (5-10, 195), who was Robert Griffin III’s favorite target at Baylor and the No. 20 pick overall this year, is an excellent slot receiver with great quickness. He injured his ribs Monday night, so his availability for Sunday could be in jeopardy. He has 62 receptions for a 9.5-yard average. Nate Washington (6-1, 177) has a slight build but is quick in and out of breaks, and Damian Williams (6-1, 199) is a good route runner who catches well. Williams, though, has a hamstring injury and might not play.