Not long ago, I wrote Chris Johnson is a Titan's Titan. In the hearts of Titan fans, a single season made him a Titan's legend. When he began his quest for a new contract and the threat to hold out until the management made a move the fan support began to divide. CJ is in the prime of his life and the Titans decided to give in and sweeten the pot. Now hopefully they can do what they could not do with Eddie George and Detroit couldn't do with Barry Sanders and win a Super Bowl.
The truth of the matter is other teams will prepare differently with a variety of schemes aimed at stopping Chris Johnson. Therefore he is not likely to duplicate his 2006 yards of last season. The Titans will need even more from Vince Young if they are going to go from 8-8 to 11-5 and having any shot at the playoffs and Super Bowl run. If VY can show a balance of pass/run and the ability to stretch the field Johnson should be able to have over 1,000 yards. The question is can anything less than 1,500 yards be considered a good year.
As for the season, the weather in Tennessee was brutal with the heat index over 100 degrees last week. The forecast calls for no rain all this week and Coach Fisher is not only concerned about the heat but the ability for his team to recover from the off season but having a balance of sufficient practices to be properly conditioned.
Okay so where are the Titans? The team also lost Keith Bullock so someone will have to step up in the linebacker corp. If last week is any indication linebacker Gerald McRath (51) has looked good so far and seems poised to make a substantial contribution. Elsewhere on defense another standout is cornerback Jason McCourty. You have to be impressed with this young man. Tennessee seems to reload at the corner position better than just about any team in the NFL.
On the offensive side the ball neither Vince Young nor Kerry Collins has looked well. It could be the heat, the timing, or perhaps it could be that this is the year of the big decline for Collins and unfortunately the Titans are on the hook for too much money to pay a backup and too steep to offload. The Titans will need Kenny Britt not to have a sophomore slump and get more from Nate Washington. This is a lot to ask but if these two do not perform this could be a tough year for Tennessee.
Coach Fisher is as always optimistic. No one is expecting the Colts to be as strong as last season and therefore the start of the season in the AFC South is one that anticipates at least two teams will be in the playoffs from this division. Fisher is a coach on the hot seat. Bud Adams is not getting any younger and while seniority by Fisher as the dean among NFL coaches has served him well, all bets are off. If Tennessee is not in the championship game this year, look for this to be Fisher’s last year.