The Tennessee Titans enter the 2010 season with the optimism that they are the team that closed the year 8-2 after an unexpectedly dreadful 0-6 start in 2009.
But that optimism has to be tempered with the fact that the Titans have questions aplenty that have to address on both sides of the football.
Offensively, the team is centered around extraordinary running back Chris Johnson, who became only the sixth player in NFL history to run for 2,000 yards in a season. But as amazing as CJ2K is, he may not be the player that holds the key to success in his hands.
That "honor" falls to quarterback Vince Young, who reclaimed the starting position last year after the 0-6 slide and played better than nearly anyone could have predicted.
Now, it is up to Young, as he enters his fifth season, to find consistency in his game and become the leader the Titans need him to be.
"This is the best group of skill positions players Vince has been surrounded with since he's been here," Coach Jeff Fisher has been fond of saying throughout training camp and preseason.
That said, it is up to Young to operate the controls to take advantage of those weapons that not only include the mercurial Johnson, but also receivers Nate Washington, Justin Gage and Kenny Britt and tight ends Bo Scaife, Jared Cook and Craig Stevens.
"We've got the good runner, but for an offense to be good, your quarterback has to play good and make good decisions. So we'll see as we go through preseason," offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger said.
If preseason is any indication, Young is better, but still needs to take better care of the football.
More questions abound on the defensive side of the ball in Tennessee where the unit slumped to 28th last year, including 31st against the pass.
Defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil has had a year to grow into his role after being promoted from defensive backs coach in 2009.
Gone are 30-something stalwarts Kyle Vanden Bosch, Keith Bulluck, Jevon Kearse and Nick Harper. In their place are youngsters and journeymen that have to step up and integrate into the defense. In preseason, the experiment seemed to work, but the Titans have to hope that that is not an aberration.
The secondary has only one change -- Jason McCourty replaces Harper -- but hopes for better health from Cortland Finnegan and nickel back Vincent Fuller and better play from safeties Chris Hope and Michael Griffin than they showed a year ago.
Jeff Fisher, 17th year, 17th with Titans (141-116).
2009 record: 8-8 (3rd in AFC South).
2010 regular-season record: 7-9 (3rd in AFC South).
Copyright (C) 2010 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.