The Titans are in the process of deciding whether or not to add a quarterback coach to its staff in an attempt to refine some of Steve McNair's raw talent. McNair is steadily improving, but his inability to throw downfield and stretch defenses is really hurting the Titans' offense. As far as backups are concerned, it is highly unlikely that Dave Krieg will be re-signed. In the last game of the season, Steve Matthews was made the No. 2. Matthews is a young talent that the team thinks it can develop.
Tennessee is searching for someone to spell Eddie George and make an impact while in the game. George was forced to carry entirely too much of the load for Tennessee and it showed as he progressively slowed towards the season's end. Rodney Thomas, recovering from a hamstring injury, is slated as the No. 2. The team has addressed the FB position by signing Lorenzo Neal. This should not only help the running game, but take some pressure off of George.
Frank Wycheck is a true NFL H-back. He had somewhat of a roller coaster season, but the Pro Bowler will return to play the position. Wycheck's backup, Michael Roan, is an unrestricted free agent, but will likely return to the Titans.
Tennessee has its 1-2 punch at the WR position, all it needs to do now is to get them the ball. Yancy Thigpen and Kevin Dyson have the potential to be one of the league's better WR tandems. Willie Davis, who had 32 catches for 493 yards, is solid. Chris Sanders will need to up his level of play to contribute for Tennesssee. Beyond this, there should be a fight between Isaac Byrd and Joey Kent to keep the last WR spot.
Jackie Harris claimed most of the TE duties with Wycheck at the H-back spot. Harris is another receiving style TE that has good speed. Nonetheless, the Titans need a more productive season out of the veteran in '99.
Titan management and coaches have some major decisions to make this off-season concerning the personnel on its offensive line. It is becoming increasingly clear that UFA center Mark Stepnoski will not return. In his absence, 17-year veteran, Bruce Matthews is rumored to return for another season to play the center position. Guard Jason Layman looks to be the odd-man out of the equation in '99. Layman started 15 games last season and was the player chosen in training camp to replace Kevin Donnally at RG. Layman improved significantly over the course of the season, but will have a real challenge fighting off guys like Scott Sanderson, Benji Olson, Evan Pilgrim. RT Jon Runyan is a restricted free agent, and barring a blockbuster offer, the Titans will re-sign Runyan. In Runyan and LT Brad Hopkins, the organization feels it possesses the two most underrated tackles in the league. Erik Norgard, who opened the season as a starter before sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury, signed with the Jets.
DE Kenny Holmes is a potential All-Pro and will be the focus of the Titans off-season program. The former No. 1 pick, needs to bulk up in order to play at the level the Titans need him. DT Anthony Cook signed with the Washington Redskins and fellow UFA Henry Ford may leave as well. Gary Walker was lost to division rival Jacksonville in free agency. In fact, the Titans might be close to a complete overhaul on the defensive line. To give a sense of the situation, DE James Roberson and DT Josh Evens were two of the lines four starters at the end of the season, and they were undrafted FA's originally. The organization has addressed the problem early in free agency by signing LDE Mike Jones and RDT Jason Fisk.
In the Titan's 3-4 set, all three starters are returning due to the re-signing of Eddie Robinson. Robinson fits extremely well in a system that allows him to play "chase-down" football. With the continued progress of Lemanski Hall, Lonnie Marts should expect to fight for a position again this off-season. Also, the team may search free agency or the draft for a bigger, more physical MLB. Joe Bowden played well there this season, but at 230 pounds, he struggles in battles with the league's offensive line brawn.
The starting safety positions are in lock-down. Veterans, Blaine Bishop and Marcus Robertson are again the starters next season, but the team is rumored to have interest in drafting a safety high for depth purposes as well as future planning. Both players have missed games over the past two seasons, and Steve Jackson is said to be too small to play the position the way its scheme forces it to play. The real question in the secondary is where Samari Rolle is going to play. Rolle is expected to challenge either Denard Walker or Darryl Lewis for one of the starting DC spots. Lewis' time may be up, but he will still see significant time as Rolle's 175-pound frame will not likely withstand an entire NFL 16 game schedule. Second year DC Dainon Sidney and DS Perry Phenix could both see increased playing time.
No help is needed in the kicking game. Al Del Greco and Craig Hentrich will be back next season after both had their best years as pros. The attention will go to the return game. It will be shocking if Mike Archie and Derrick Mason are returning kickoffs and punts respectively after the lack of production they gave to the team in '98.