The Tennessee Titans settled on their 53-man roster over the weekend.
In contrast to recent years they kept only two quarterbacks but added an additional wide receiver. They overhauled almost the entire group of safeties and stuck with last season’s group of specialists.
A detailed look at who is on the roster as the first week of the NFL regular season commences:
Quarterbacks (2): Jake Locker, Ryan Fitzpatrick
Given that Locker has yet to prove he can stay healthy for 16 games, it seems risky to go with two here for the first time since 2009. Getting Rusty Smith on to the practice squad lessens the potential for disaster.
Running backs (4): Chris Johnson, Shonn Greene, Jackie Battle, Darius Reynaud
In Johnson, Greene and Battle the Titans have more proven experience at this spot that at any time since they relocated from Houston. Reynaud is a return specialist who likely won’t carry the ball much.
Fullback (1): Quinn Johnson
He is unspectacular and reliable, and if all goes according to plan his role in the offense will be minimal.
Wide receivers (6): Kenny Britt, Nate Washington, Kendall Wright, Damian Williams, Justin Hunter, Michael Preston
With two first-round (Britt, Wright), two second-round picks (Williams, Hunter) and a proven veteran (Washington), the Titans never have been so good at this spot. There is no excuse for this group not to produce.
Tight ends (3): Craig Stevens, Delanie Walker, Taylor Thompson
Walker’s limited preseason due to knee surgery, and Thompson’s continued transition from college defensive end make this group largely a mystery, albeit one of which much is expected this season.
Centers (2): Rob Turner, Brian Schwenke
These guys represent the present (Turner) and the future (Schwenke) of the position. The past, Fernando Velasco, is gone.
Guards (3): Andy Levitre, Chance Warmack, Chris Spencer
No position group is being counted on more to reverse this team’s fortunes. So far free agent Levitre and first-round draft pick Warmack have done little – if anything – to dampen expectations.
Tackles (4): Michael Roos, David Stewart, Mike Otto, Byron Stingily
Roos and Stewart are entering their ninth seasons, which calls into question their durability. Otto and Stingily both have shown their worth in relief roles, though.
Defensive ends (5): Derrick Morgan, Kamerion Wimbley, Ropati Pitoitua, Keyunta Dawson, Lavar Edwards
Outside of Morgan, this group largely is made up of specialists. Assuming coaches can get them on the field at the right time, there is a chance to get more from this position than in recent years.
Defensive tackles (5): Jurrell Casey, Sammie Hill, Mike Martin, Antonio Johnson, Karl Klug
Casey looks poised for a breakout year. Hill’s impact won’t be in his statistics. Klug worked as a defensive end for most of the preseason, which calls into question how big a role he will have.
Linebackers (6): Akeem Ayers, Zach Brown, Moise Fokou, Colin McCarthy, Patrick Bailey, Zaviar Gooden
The fact that McCarthy lost his starting job suggests this unit is better than it has been in years. That will be the case only if Ayers and Brown emerge as consistent playmakers.
Cornerbacks (5): Jason McCourty, Alterraun Verner, Tommie Campbell, Coty Sensabaugh, Blidi Wreh-Wilson
Until Campbell proves himself reliable enough to be a starter, the potential athleticism of this group will go unrealized … and the Titans will be vulnerable to the better passing offenses.
Safeties (4): Michael Griffin, Bernard Pollard, George Wilson, Daimion Stafford
Three of these four are newcomers (two free agents, one draft pick). If different people don’t make a big difference in terms of performance it will be another long season.
Kicker (1): Rob Bironas
He is one of the most accurate kickers in league history. As long as he remains that way, the Titans have the potential to win close games.
Punter (1): Brett Kern
He set franchise records in gross and net punting (47.6 and 40.4, respectively) last season. Now in his sixth season, he figures to be in the early stages of his prime.
Snapper (1): Beau Brinkley
The best thing that can be said about him is that his name was rarely uttered last season, his first. That meant he did not screw up in a big way.
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