May 15, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt gives instructions to Titans rookie wide receiver Andrew Turzilli (86) during minicamp at Saint Thomas Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
The AFC South is a division which has been dominated by the Indianapolis Colts since being formed in 2002, the same year the Houston Texans were initiated into the NFL. The Colts have won the division nine times since that season, including four of the past six.
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The Houston Texans won it the two times in-between those six and the only other team to win the division is the Tennessee Titans. Tennessee won those divisional titles in 2002, the inaugural year, and again 2008.
Today we will look at the first team to conquer the AFC South, the team that up and took the Houston Oilers away from their beloved fans, the Tennessee Titans.
The fact that they ran from Houston still leaves scars on many fans, but the fact that the team has struggled as of late takes some of the sting out. Let’s take a look at how the Titans shapeup as the 2015 season approaches.
May 26, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans first round draft pick quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) passes during OTA drills at Saint Thomas Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
The foundation of any successful team is the guy who calls the plays and distributes the ball. Rookie Zach Mettenberger started six games last season and had a rating of 83.4, which is very admirable for a sixth round pick. Charlie Whitehurst also had a shot at the starting gig and outperformed the rookie, and both outperformed the recently (and shockingly) retired Jake Locker.
Despite seeing some competency out of Mettenberger, the team decided to use their second overall selection on Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, rather than take the Eagles trade offer of three first round picks, a second, two thirds, their whole defensive roster and Chip Kelly’s fist born. (Editors note: this was not the exact trade offer).
While I believe Mariota is a better player than the guy drafted ahead of him, he will have some growing pains for the first year or two, and in all honesty, his supporting cast is nothing to be too giddy about. To make things worse, the last time his head coach worked with a young quarterback it resembled a dumpster fire as Ken Whisenhunt and Matt Leinart were absolutely awful together in Arizona.
Eventually Mariota should succeed in the NFL, but most likely not this year. I also don’t believe it will happen with Whisenhunt at the helm, but time will tell if I am correct there or not.
Next: Does Mariota Have The Weapons?