Examining who faces the most challenging season for the Titans and why.
Running back Chris Johnson could get away with one off season. He was a tentative runner in 2011 no matter what he or the team says about it. He got sick of early contact. He gave up too often. He went down too easily.
The Titans have made some changes that should help.
Whether Eugene Amano remains at center or is replaced, the pivot man will be next to veteran guard Steve Hutchinson. The team expects him to have a big, positive influence on the guy next to him. Fullback Ahmard Hall won’t be re-signed, so the Titans will go with Quinn Johnson or undrafted rookie Collin Mooney as the lead blocker if the Titans stick with a fullback. First-round draft pick Kendall Wright bolsters the receiving corps and should be able to threaten deep, as will a healthy Kenny Britt. An increasingly threatening passing game should help the Titans back defenses off. Take a defender out of the box, and Johnson should be more effective.
He’s also spending extensive offseason time with the team for the first time, and coaches are convinced picking apart last season and making corrections together through the spring and summer will make a difference.
Another piece of Johnson’s contract becomes guaranteed after this season. If he comes up with another dud, the team will have cause to bail.