If teams want to beat the Titans this fall, they're going to have to beat cornerback Cortland Finnegan more often.
That's the plan at least.
This offseason, Finnegan has switched from the right side of the defense to the left side, a move that should give him more opportunities to make plays. The Titans are also considering giving the fifth-year pro more flexibility to move around in the defense in an effort to match him up against the top receivers from other teams.
"You want your best players in position to help you the most,'' safety Chris Hope said, "and now being that he is on the action side, he's going to have more opportunities to help us.''
Finnegan, an All-Pro in 2008, has played primarily on the right side during his career. It's where he lined up for most of the '09 season as well, although he moved to the other side when veteran Nick Harper was injured midway through the season. When Harper returned, Finnegan moved back to his old spot.
After last season, however, Finnegan made a request to switch to the left side permanently. In his estimation, roughly 70 percent of the throws go to the left side of the defense because it's a right-handed quarterback's strong side. Although Finnegan said he didn't get frustrated when opportunities didn't come his way much last fall, he admitted his technique — and his play — suffered as a direct result of it.
He lunged after too many footballs, and in coverage, found himself getting turned around, his footwork crossed up too many times. On a scale from one to 10, he gave himself a three for technique.
"I just tried to make too many big plays, and I got away from what I was supposed to do,'' said Finnegan, who had five interceptions in 13 games. He missed three games because of a hamstring injury. "But I want to do more to help this team win, and I felt like at this point in my career I need to be on the (left) side to help even more."
Finnegan is currently at 25 in 4for4's IDP rankings, and the Tennessee team defense is at 16. If the shift of Finnegan pans out, he'll likely become a more valuable IDP player as he should see the ball coming his way a lot more. The Titans need first-round pick Derrick Morgan to make a big impact along the defensive line to have a good chance at moving up the team defense rankings.