Typically I run towards the optimistic side. Not so much at the moment.
Let me begin by saying that the needle is ascending in Indianapolis and in Houston. As importantly, the Bortles experiment is now over in Jacksonville. While I don't think this is a particularly good QB draft, Jacksonville has been forced to accept their QB mistake and will now move on. They have a great young defense, and while I think Fournette amongst others largely tanked the season, their talent level is higher than ours while their draft picks are considerably higher for 2019. In short, while I am confident in our coaching staff, I am concerned that the mountain got taller this year, not smaller. Here is why.
Love Marcus. At least 50% of the time. He isn't Jake Locker brittle (has missed less than 13% of his games). The nerve injury this season was simply unfortunate. Add the new offensive scheme. Add continued inconsistency in his play. Titans have little choice to pick up the $20,922,000 option -- rather than renegotiating an extension. That's a ton of cash for a guy who hasn't proven that he is a franchise QB -- both for injury and consistency reasons.
Gabbert is just Gabbert. Better than our previous back up. Not good enough to win with consistently. Fortunately he is paid like a scrub.
Bottom line, this is the most important position on the field and we are no closer to the answer today than we were at the beginning of this year.
Good news. Henry became what he was drafted to be. Lewis, clearly played hurt, and lost the burst we saw early. That said, Titans have to feel good about this group, though Henry is down to his final contract year. He is going to want more in an extension than I suspect we are willing to give.
Titans get Walker and Smith back. Pruitt and Firkser showed value, as did Stocker. None of those three are under contract. I imagine a few one year deals will be in order here.
I liked what we saw from Corey Davis and Taywon Taylor this season. Jenning and Batson were positive surprises. Sharpe improved considerably, but also fought injury. I think the group could use one more stud, though I will say that better QB play might make the need less glaring.
Quinton Spain has to be upgraded. IMO, so should Josh Kline and Ben Jones, though the Kline contract from last off season is brutal.
We never saw Conklin in 2018. Fortunately we still have Dennis Kelly under contract at a bargain price for one more season.
The interior of our offensive line has got to be fixed this offseason.
Absolutely no impact players other than Jurrell Casey. I think we need an upgrade both at DE and at NT, particularly with Logan unrestricted.
I have enjoyed watching Rak and Derrick Morgan in TN. That said, I can't imagine either guy returns. Titans struck it rich with Evans, Landry, Brown and Finch. Between Orakpo, Morgan and Compton they free up roughly $19 million for 2019. We have six solid with the four young dudes, Woodyard on the final year of his deal and Bates on the final year of his deal. I would guess we go searching for another rush linebacker this offseason and for Woodyard's eventual replacement inside.
Thought it would be the strength of the team heading into the season. Some of the news was excellent. Some just ok. Have to love Logan Ryan (now in his final contract year). Butler was clearly overpaid, but definitely got better as the year wore on. Adoree Jackson is lost as a punt returner, but he too is showing some value at DB. Byard has to be a priority for a long term contract extension (19 is his final cheap season). I liked what Vaccarro brought to the table -- but he currently is a free agent. Cruikshank certainly was good on special teams. We didn't see him much on defense. Bottom line is that I think we are set at corner, but will need to do a lot of work at Safety where Vaccaro, Trawick, and Lewis are all unrestricted, recognizing that we will get Cyprien back, and I guess Tye Smith as well.
Unfortunately Succop didn't make me feel great about his extension, while Brett Kern now is on the final year of his deal. Wish those two circumstances were reversed.
I really have no issues, though the Offensive Line play might suggest a need for an upgrade in that area.
I'm a lot less sold on JRob then many.
Which particularly scares me as we go into 2019 with these players in their final contract year:
Mariota, Gabbert, Henry, Sharpe, Jennings, Conklin, Kelly, Marz, Jones, Austin Johnson, Kilgo, Correa, Woodyard, Bates, Ryan, Sims, Byard, Brinkley and Kern.
That's a lot of critical decisions with potentially huge financial implications.
In terms of immediate free agency issues: Stocker, Pruitt, Firkser, Spain, Logan, Orakpo, Morgan, Compton, Vacarro, Trawick, Lewis.
Bottom line, 30 of the 53 on active roster are either free this year or next.
Robinson makes or breaks the franchise for the next 5 years this offseason. He has to get contract extensions correct.
He has to find a way to rebuild both offensive and defensive lines. Most importantly, he has got to get the QB situation sorted out.
Going to be a very interesting offseason.