As training camp approaches, it means the Tennessee Titans move one day closer to the preseason, and eventually the regular season. As we inch further throughout the offseason, every day we will feature a training camp preview.
Today’s preview focuses on the linebackers group, where Tennessee will win and lose defensive battles.
Starters: LOLB Derrick Morgan, LILB Wesley Woodyard, RILB Zach Brown, ROLB Shaun Phillips
The Titans’ depth at linebacker is astounding. Tennessee has a wealth of guys who can stand up in the 3-4 and play down on the line in the 4-3. Morgan will make the switch from defensive end to linebacker, where he actually might be better suited. Morgan will be able to run and attack the line as a finesse linebacker instead of a smaller, quicker end.
Woodyard is a massive upgrade to the linebacking corps, adding veteran leadership in his transition from the Denver Broncos. Phillips will do much of the same as he moves from a Broncos defense where he notched 10 sacks, two forced fumbles and 35 tackles.
Brown will be key to the defense functioning as one. He’s shorter, but quick and should plug the holes in run defense.
Backups: LOLB Akeem Ayers, LOLB Patrick Bailey, LILB Colin McCarthy, LILB Zaviar Gooden, RILB Avery Williamson, RILB Moise Fokou, ROLB Kamerion Wimbley, ROLB Jonathan Willard, LB Brandon Copeland, LB David Gilbert, LB David Hinds
The Titans defense will see a major shift this season. Guys like Ayers, McCarthy and Fokou will take a back seat to the starters. The trio of linebackers should still be heavily focused on and will be fighting for every spot throughout training camp. Wimbley will join Morgan as a transitioned defensive end, and after a pay cut, he’ll be looking to prove himself.
Williamson will begin his NFL career this year, while Bailey and Gooden have shifted around from special teams to the linebacking corps.
Check back Wednesday as we preview the defensive backs.