I think there's a sense of unfinished business for this team.
Going into this offseason, you hear rave reviews about what has been going on behind the scenes down at Baptist Sports Park as far as the work ethic, the guys and their attendance – very few guys missed very few workouts. The older guys held younger guys accountable for showing up. That sets a tone for the attitude the team needs to have those building blocks in the offseason and of course through the OTAs.
I think they've got their heads on straight. I think there's excitement about the guys they brought in, especially on the defensive line, even though they lost a couple guys. The big offseason acquisition was Mike Heimerdinger, of course, as the new offensive coordinator for Vince Young. The key word, I think, is excited – excited to move on and see how far this team can go.
MATURATION IS KEY
I think the growth of those young guys is the key for the Titans to take the next step. They have a year or two more of experience. That's huge. As a veteran player, things start to click a little faster. Things tend to slow down for you.
For Vince Young, obviously, he's the straw that stirs the drink. He doesn't have to go out there and win games by himself, but I think with this offense and the guys they brought in to surround him with Alge Crumpler and Justin McCareins, and re-signing Justin Gage and having Lavelle Hawkins in there – they're not the home run-hitting names around the country, but the question has been answered as far as surrounding Vince Young with some weapons.
YOUNG GUYS TO WATCH
The guy that fans should look at is Lavelle Hawkins. Can he step up? It seems like he's done all the right things in the spring, but can he step up on a daily basis and be that guy to show up every day in training camp and pick up the offense and make plays? He could possibly be the third receiver.
And also Chris Johnson, how well will he adjust to the pounding every day in 9-on-7 drills and being fronted up in team drills. Can he withstand the pounding he's going to take this preseason?
Another guy that I think everyone should keep an eye on is Craig Stevens. He's a guy that could push Dwayne Blakley. He's a big, strong kid from Cal that could really be an eye-opener for a lot of people this training camp.
ESPN OFFERS MOTIVATION
ESPN ranked the Titans 14th in their latest power poll. I think that should fire them up.
Being a playoff team a year ago and not having the prettiest of games says something about this coaching staff and this team. If I'm a player and I see those polls, it's nothing to get carried away about because it's just something to talk about to buy some time until the season starts. At the same time, there are some prognosticators that have evaluated your team and have looked at you and say you're not going to be as good as last year. I think they can put that in their back pocket and use that as extra motivation.
I think for the most part, this team isn't about to worry about that type of stuff. They're lunch pail-type guys that are just going to go out there and do their own thing.