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Ask Mike: Off-Season in Full Swing as Players Prep for Training Camp

Posted May 22, 2013

Ethan from London, Ontario: “With the newest additions to the Titans, who has the most potential to make the biggest impact on special teams? Obviously the same old questions of which rookie or which free agent will have the biggest impact is too open and leaves players like Chance Warmack, George Wilson, Delanie Walker, etc. getting named. But special teams can make or break any team and set them from the rest of possible strong NFL teams.”

Tight end Delanie Walker

MIKE KEITH: Great question and Titans general manager Ruston Webster thinks that it is one of the most exciting parts of their free agent/draft acquisitions. Delanie Walker was a great special teams player in San Francisco. George Wilson should be a leader on special teams, as could Jalen Parmele, Moise Fokou and Greg Jones. There are others among the free agents who could make a contribution on special teams, too.

All five of the defensive players that the Titans drafted have a chance to help on special teams right away. Even rookie defensive end Lavar Edwards is seen as a guy who can make a difference on special teams.

By adding roughly a dozen potential special teams contributors, the Titans should have also energized current roster players whose chances of making the team largely hinge on their special teams ability. Under new coaches Nate Kaczor and Steve Hoffman, Titans special teams players, both old and new, should be plenty motivated. 

Bill in Memphis asks two questions:When do the OTAs start and finish and are Titans fans able to watch them? Also, when does training camp start and can fans watch those sessions?”

MIKE KEITH: OTAs (Organized Team Activities) start on May 29 and run three to four days per week through June 20. OTAs are not open to the public.

Training camp will open in late July. Many training camp practices are open to the public. Open practice dates will be announced later in the summer.

Kolby in Jackson, Miss. wonders: “Why don’t we go get Albert Haynesworth? He was successful in Tennessee. He is cheap right now, has a chip on his shoulder, and he would add the strength and size that we are looking for beside Sammy Hill.”

Albert didn’t play in 2012 and, while he is technically a free agent who could sign with anyone, his career is more than likely over.

Adrian from Creedmoor, N.C.:Was there a point early in free agency when the organization was looking at an impact defensive player like (Nnamdi) Asomugha? I’m a Die-hard Titan fan and to me, after Chris Johnson and Jake locker, the next two people that really stick out are Colin McCarthy and Akeem Ayers. I think they will have a breakout year this year and I just wanted to ask you if you could see those two being a real force this year.”

MIKE KEITH: The funny thing about defensive free agents this year is that there were a lot of huge names --- Nnamdi Asomugha, Dwight Freeney, Brian Urlacher, Ed Reed, James Harrison, Charles Woodson, etc. --- but none of those players is seen as the player that they once were. In the case of Asomugha, there was a lot of hub-bub about his name, but there wasn’t wild free agent interest. Three weeks into free agency, Asomugha signed a one-year contract with San Francisco.

Point is there was not that one big-name guy on defense this year that anyone really took big aim at.

The Titans were more surgical, getting bigger on the defensive line (Hill, Pitoitua, Johnson), getting better at safety (Pollard and Wilson) and getting deeper at linebacker (Fokou and Jones). Adding defensive end depth would still make sense and the Titans have cap room to do it, if they choose.

Your thought on McCarthy and Ayers is spot-on. McCarthy has to stay healthy; if he does, the defense gets better immediately. Ayers can be a more explosive pass-rusher in 2013. The Titans are counting on both players.   

Kevin is nine years old from Indian Land, S.C.: “What year was the Titans (franchise) founded?”

MIKE KEITH: Kevin, this will be our 54th football season. The Titans organization was founded back in 1960, when our owner K.S. “Bud” Adams helped to start the American Football League by founding the Houston Oilers. In 1997, the team moved to Tennessee and played two seasons as the Tennessee Oilers. In 1999, we became the Tennessee Titans and moved into LP Field. We will celebrate our 15th season as the Titans this fall. I hope that you’ve seen the 15th anniversary logo that our fans selected in April.

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