Offseason Playbook: Titans

A look at Tennessee's philosophy, team needs and a key free-agent move

Originally Published: March 8, 2013
By Gary Horton and Field Yates | ESPN Insider
Jake LockerAndy Lyons/Getty ImagesExpect the Titans to implement more of a vertical offensive system with quarterback Jake Locker.

In a new offseason series, Insider takes an in-depth look at NFL teams before free agency begins March 12. What is each team's philosophy on offense and defense, biggest needs and one player who could make for an ideal signing in free agency?

Team philosophies

Offense -- This Dowell Loggains-Mike Munchak offense will have a similar look to last year's version, and the Titans want a dominating run game that eats up the clock and sets up play-action -- something that they did not do well a year ago. By nature, they are a big and physical man-blocking offensive line. However, to accommodate running back Chris Johnson, they can incorporate some zone-blocking looks, which fit well with his one-cut-and-go and cutback skills. They will use some two-tight end sets, a lead fullback and even a three-back "bone" formation to give this run game versatility.

In the passing game they really like screen passes -- especially to get Johnson in space -- and they go with more vertical passes than you might think. If the run game is not going well, it negatively affects play-action and you get the feeling that the coaches abandon the run game too quickly at times. They will use their tight ends a lot between the hashes and they like to get quarterback Jake Locker outside the pocket and take advantage of his ability to roll out and throw on the move.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.