If it’s true that nothing succeeds like success then the Tennessee Titans were wise to try and import it.
The question as players and coaches came together Monday for the start of the offseason conditioning program was whether or not management added enough of it.
After all, success has been in dramatically short supply in recent years. The Titans have missed out on the playoffs each of the last four seasons and have not won a playoff game since 2003. They are one of only two NFL teams that have not sent a player to the Pro Bowl either of the last two years.
Quarterback Jake Locker even admitted, though, that the number of free agents — 12 — Tennessee signed this offseason surprised him.
“Yeah, just looking at past history a little bit,” Locker said. “But I think they went out and found some guys that can really help this football team.”
History, in fact, shows that the Titans never have signed so many free agents in a year. This year’s 12 are twice as many as in 2012.
“That’s what happens when you go 6-10,” cornerback Jason McCourty said. “This business is about production. It’s about winning. And last year we didn’t do that, and since I’ve been here we haven’t been to the playoffs. You definitely have to shake up the roster. We have some new coaches in the building as well. So we have to see how everyone gels together.
“That’s why this time right now is so important. … New faces meeting old faces and everyone just kind of getting a vibe off of each other.”
The previous free agent high was 2011, when Tennessee added 11 players following the lockout that canceled the typical free agent signing period. Even with the abbreviated offseason and the fact that five of those 11 were not on the Week 1 roster, the Titans still improved to 9-7 and narrowly missed out on a playoff berth.
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and safety Jordan Babineaux were the two most prominent additions. Each came from Seattle, which had been in the postseason and upset the defending Super Bowl champion, New Orleans, the previous year.
The majority of this season’s newcomers, however, did not have any more success last season than the Titans did.
Only four of the 12 were on teams that made the playoffs in 2012. Tight end Delanie Walker and safety Bernard Pollard played in the Super Bowl with San Francisco and Baltimore, respectively. Beyond them, only backup linebacker Moise Fouku with Indianapolis and wide receiver Kevin Walter with Houston took part in the postseason — and between them they were a part of one victory.
“I think last year, when I looked at the roster one of the main things I saw, there was a lot of young talent on the roster,” defensive end Kamerion Wimbley said. “I think we were able to add some guys with more experience, Super Bowl experience as well. The staff is a lot different than it was.
“So I think adding those parts to this team as well as bringing back a lot of the players who were here last year, I think we’ve made improvements and I hope it shows. I’m pretty sure it will show.”
Wimbley was one of six free agents signed prior to 2012. He brought with him extensive experience — he missed just one game and started all but two in six NFL seasons — but had never appeared in a playoff game. He still has not.
On the other hand, one of this year’s free agents, running back Shonn Greene, has been to two AFC championship games with the Jets, but among the newcomers his playoff experience is the exception.
Backup offensive lineman Chris Spencer, for example, last went in 2007 with Seattle. Three others came from Buffalo, which finished with the same record as the Titans (6-10) but lost in a head-to-head matchup. Another came from the Detroit Lions, which finished 4-12, and also lost to Tennessee. One from Kansas City, which tied for the league’s worst record at 2-14.
“We have a younger team,” Locker said. “We have a lot of young guys on our team. We brought in some veteran guys that have been in different places and have been successful in different places.
“I think bringing that experience and that knowledge in different position groups is what I’m kind of talking about in terms of bringing an idea of having success, knowing what it takes to stay in this league and be successful in this league for an extended career. I think we’ve found some guys that have been able to do that.”