Titans' chief need is the same as it's been

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – We tend to make it sound too easy, I suppose.

All the Titans need is a major impact pass rusher to really throw their defense over the top.LandryCelebrateEagles

But whoever the new coordinator is needs the same missing ingredient that’s held the defense back for too long: A premier pass rusher that regularly puts pressure on the quarterback and demands attention that helps free up other people.

Mike Vrabel teases the media about being too focused on sacks. I tease Mike Vrabel about being so nonchalant about sacks.

For all the personnel win the Titans had this season, imagine if they’d taken a flier on Shaqil Barrett, the free agent who didn’t find much of a market before settling on a one-year, $4 million deal with Tampa Bay. The payoff for the Bucs? A 19.5 sack season.WakeSteelersPortrait

That’s 45.3 percent of the Titans’ regular-season total of 43.

In concert with Vrabel, Dean Pees was generally a master at scheming up pressure. But it’s a lot harder to do it that way and Pees' successor is unlikely to be so good at it.

Many looked at the Titans' inability to keep up with Chiefs receivers as a speed issue in the secondary.

Sure, the Titans could be faster in the back end. But quicker pressure is a more realistic solution, as it’s hard to stock a team with people who can run with Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins over and over for long plays. They need to be shorter plays.

Interior rush is increasingly regarded to be as important as the edge, and with Jurrell Casey and Jeffery Simmons, the Titans have something good inside. Casey's pricetag skyrockets in 2020 to an $11.25 million base. He was great down the stretch but is 30 and may force the Titans to ponder his future.

The Titans' sack leader this season, Harold Landry, disappeared for the final quarter of the regular season, stuck at 9 sacks. He had one in three playoff games when he was not especially impactful. On several plays against the Chiefs he was simply ridden past Patrick Mahomes, left a non-factor.

In his third season in 2020, the theme will be the same as it was in his second, developing moves beyond those he uses as a speed rusher.apple icon 114x114 precomposed

Kamalei Correa showed impressive growth as the year advanced, and he’s a free agent the team should be interested in retaining at the proper price.

They need to get Cameron Wake’s number down, but he’d be a hard guy to let go if the money isn’t prohibitive given the lack of pass rushers they have. He’s due a $5.5 base salary in 2020 and a $1 million bonus on the fifth day of the league year.

Last year's fifth-rounder, D'Andre Walker was lost to injury in camp and can be a wild card in the mix next year.

The mission, yet again, has to be to find a Jevon Kearse or a Kyle Vanden Bosch who can knock everyone down a peg in the pecking order, apply consistent pressure and force teams to arrange their blocking schemes accordingly.

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