OPEN CAMP: July 28, St. Thomas Sports Park, Nashville, Tennessee.
LAST YEAR: Posted first winning season since 2011 and chased AFC South title until loss Dec. 24 in Jacksonville, where QB Marcus Mariota broke right leg. That extended franchise string without playoff berth to eight seasons. Titans still tripled win total from previous year in Mike Mularkey’s first full season as head coach, big improvement after winning NFL-worst five games in 2014 and 2015 combined.
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IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Rookie WR Corey Davis, rookie CB Adoree Jackson, WR Eric Decker, CB Logan Ryan, NT Sylvester Williams, S Johnathan Cyprien, S Brynden Trawick, LB Daren Bates, WR Eric Weems, OL Tim Lelito, CB Demontre Hurst, rookie WR Taywan Taylor, rookie TE Jonnu Smith.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: CB Jason McCourty, S Rashad Johnson, WR Kendall Wright, DT Al Woods.
CAMP NEEDS: Coordinator Dick LeBeau needs revamped secondary to jell quickly with Logan and Jackson as key pieces for how much Titans improve pass defense. LB Kevin Dodd expects to finally be healthy after surgeries on his right foot. DL Karl Klug also could be back after Achilles tendon injury in late December. WR Tajae Sharpe is recovering from surgery for stress fracture in right foot and now faces serious competition for roster spot with late signing of Decker.
EXPECTATIONS: End playoff drought by earning franchise’s first berth since 2008 and proving controlling owner Amy Adam Strunk made all right moves in hiring new general manager and head coach in January 2016. Mariota is poised for best season with potentially best receiving corps Titans have had in more than decade. He also is surrounded with roster featuring five Pro Bowlers, including running back DeMarco Murray. Combination should fill seats that have been empty past few years.
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