Unlike some teams in the AFC South that did not address deficiencies in the draft, the Titans did spend the middle to late portion of the draft trying to upgrade a secondary that flat out could not stop people last season.
One of the biggest reasons for their failures was that No. 1 cornerback Cortland Finnegan did not perform even close to the level he did in 2008. You have to get past the numbers to really see the difference in the two seasons because the tackle numbers were similar and he had five interceptions in each of the past two seasons. But when you watch the film, you see him getting beat a lot in 2009. He also gave up more touchdown receptions than he did in ’08.
Finnegan flashed the ability to be a shutdown corner in 2008. He was effective in man coverage and excellent in zone coverage. Last season, he was not nearly as effective in man coverage. The zone coverage is going to always be there for him because he shows excellent route recognition.
Jason McCourty is projected as the other starting corner right now. He played in 15 games last season as a backup. He has very good height and size and is expected to take his game to next level. McCourty is a good man cover corner, but he does not have great instincts or awareness in coverage right now. He needs to improve playing off coverage and reading, reacting and making good breaks and taking good angles on balls thrown in front of him.
With the addition of defensive end Derrick Morgan in the draft, the Titans should be able to generate more of a pass rush this season. They would like to be able to back that up with more man coverage on the back end to force the opposing quarterback to get rid of the ball more quickly and force more incomplete passes. To do that, Finnegan and McCourty are going to have to be solid and allow fewer big plays than they did a year ago.