The Tennessee Titans missed out during the Peyton Manning sweepstakes that took over the 24-hour sports news cycle back in March. Barring something major, the team will roll with either veteran Matt Hasselbeck or the second-year Jake Locker under center. As a result, the running game will have to be better than 31st in the league as it was a year ago if the team is to have any success during the 2012 season.
Head coach Mike Munchak spoke with WGFX in Nashville to explain exactly why he expects the Titans to be much better on the ground.
"Especially early in the season, we never got things going, and then we just kind of got in a little slide there and just couldn't really get out of it for a while," Munchak said. "And then we had flashes during the year where we ran the ball very, very well. Especially the second half of the season. ... This is one of the things with the staff being together and finally having film to study our system and what we're trying to accomplish. ... So we have a really good feel for things, as a staff we can do better, open things up more that'll give us some more run lanes."
Of course, critical to any improvements offensively will be a revitalized Chris Johnson. With a full offseason to get into playing shape, the expectation is that the superstar running back will live up to the lofty contract he signed before returning to the team in September.
"I mean, CJ no doubt's gotta come back," Munchak said. "He'll have the offseason. He'll be in obviously much better shape. He'll have a better feel for what we're doing. But Chris, the line - like you said, we made some changes there - there's still things we're working on. The fullbacks. There's a lot of things, pieces to the puzzle, and I know it's gonna be much, much improved."
For more on Munchak, Johnson and the Titans' upcoming season, head over to the SB Nation blog Music City Miracles.