NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A 27-10 loss at LP Field to the Indianapolis Colts concluded the Titans' 2014 campaign on Sunday. Tennessee finished with a 2-14 record and is locked in for the #2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
The Titans locker room featured a wide range of emotions following the loss. Here's the best of what players were saying Sunday.
Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, who threw for 72 yards and one touchdown against the Colts – did his best to recap a frustrating season.
"You know, it's been a tough year," he said. "Last few practices we had during the week, we knew they were the last few this year. As hard as it's been, and I know it's only my first year here, but you make some bonds in the locker room for sure. It's tough it's over. You almost want to keep going, but it has been tough, no doubt about it."
Whitehurst played in seven games, making five starts on the season. He threw seven touchdown passes against just two interceptions. Whitehurst mentioned he'd love to be a part of what's to come in 2015.
"I'd love to be a part of putting this thing in the right direction," he continued. "You go out, play as hard as you can and hopefully that happens, but it's not my decision."
The Titans' final win of the season came back in Week 6 against the Jaguars, leaving them with 10 consecutive losses to close the season. Tight end Delanie Walker said despite the team's struggles this season, he still sees hope for the future.
"I think we've got some young guys that played this year that did some great things," he said. "I'm pretty sure our coaches are going to be sitting down and seeing what guys we need to bring in."
Head coach Ken Whisenhunt said after the game that a season like this is usually followed by numerous offseason changes. It is these months that remind players of how much of a business the NFL is.
"That's part of the business," said defensive lineman Jurrell Casey. "Every year you face changes, so you have to learn how to deal with it, put everything to the side and get ready for another season."
In addition the second overall pick, the Titans will draft second in rounds three, five, and seven. Since the Titans tied in record with the Buccaneers and lost the initial tiebreaker, Tennessee will draft first in rounds two, four, and six.
The fourth round of the 2014 draft landed the Titans rookie linebacker Avery Williamson. His 100-plus tackles made him one of the bright spots of the Titans season. He's said in weeks past that he wasn't planning to be as integral a part of the Titans defense in 2014.
The experience will make his production an expectation in 2015 rather than the pleasant surprise that he was this year.
"I feel like it gives me a whole lot of confidence," Williamson said. "I've got to look at it that I'm not going to be starting. I've got to compete for a start again. I've really got to work hard this offseason and get in the playbook. Know the ins and outs of it and get bigger, stronger, faster. The whole nine yards."
The rookie linebacker added that the veterans pushed him to the very end of the season regardless of the team's record.
"I give credit to the veterans we've got on this team," he said. "They didn't give up. It made the young guys really step up.
One of those veterans is free safety Michael Griffin. He personified that "never give up" attitude when he played through a dislocated shoulder a few weeks back. He put the difficulties of the offseason into perspective as he concludesd his eighth NFL campaign.
"I enjoy playing football, you know. It's over now," he said. "You have to wait for six or seven more months before you actually get the opportunity to go back out there and put the pads on and stuff. But there are no guarantees that I will be able to do that. When they start making decisions, that's what is going to happen. And if you're not here, you're hoping that somebody else will give you a chance. And even if they give you a chance, there are no guarantees.
"So again, I'm just blessed to do what I've been doing for so long. And again, it's a blessing. I just wish this organization the best. And that's not saying I'll be here or not."