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@dragak1981 How many ILBs will they keep? Concur Woodyard and Brown are locks. Are they willing to admit Gooden was a bad pick after a year? Webster talked about him and Brown moving to ILB, so I'm not assuming they are. McCarthy's heading into the last year of his deal, so he's very vulnerable. Williamson's not getting cut, he gives them something else. Do they have room for Fokou as the 5th? I'll figure that out by the positional analysis, maybe.
Ayers is a more natural fit as a 34 OLB, which could help him. He's cheap enough and has enough upside that there's not really any harm to keeping him as one of the four (Morgan, Phillips, Wimbley)... unless somebody else takes his job from him.
1 week, 5 days ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/more-on-avery-williamson.html
@jlawrence007 Thanks for the kind words.
Jim Wyatt and I have very different "jobs"-he's a beat writer working for a newspaper, which can impose a lot of constraints on what he can write, in terms of types of content, and how he can write, in terms of style. I'm a fan writing a blog-that means I can write what I want, when I want, and how I want. My work wouldn't be as good without the work Wyatt and other beat guys do, while I don't think the media landscape around the Titans would be as good if Wyatt and other beat guys was all you could read.
2 months ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/overviewing-the-tennessee-titans-2014-draft.html
@Michael Q Both players certainly did the best they could, and I actually like Williams a lot-as a versatile fourth receiver who can do a lot of things, but isn't necessarily great at any of them. But that and the 9-7 record don't change that the passes to them had very inefficient results in 2011.
That said, I was not a fan of the selection of Kendall Wright and thought the Titans could and should have made do with the receivers they had and addressed greater needs by selecting a player like David DeCastro or Chandler Jones.
@dragak1981 I picked Wright as the Titans' offensive MVP last year, for the reasons you mentioned. On the spectrum of wide receivers compared to the spectrum of offensive tackles, though, including how easy it would be to replace each player, I'd rank Roos ahead of Wright. Just my call. I probably should talk more at some point about why I don't rate Wright quite as highly as most Titans fans.
@jckblr At 31, with only one year left on his deal? Maybe a 4th or 5th round pick, unless there are multiple teams that are interested. Carolina would seem like the perfect trade partner, but they probably would have to manufacture the cap space to make a deal.
2 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/titans-select-ot-taylor-lewan-with-11th-pick.html
@Scott P I wouldn't be surprised if the off-the-field stuff pushed him off some teams' boards entirely. Not many, probably, but maybe a couple. Webster's confident, but teams have been confident and missed before. I hope he's right.
As I said in today's post, I don't see them benching Oher the same year they made him the biggest dollar free agent signing. I think that "what a waste" is pretty likely to happen unless they do part with Roos.
@JasonTressler I don't put a ton of stock, or even any at all really, into OL combine testing beyond the basic physical measurables (height, weight, arm length, that stuff). What I wrote came from game tape and scouting reports by people whose evaluations I trust.
@mopiav I like Casey. I like Donald. I'm just not sure any team other than maybe a Jim Washburn-coached team would play both regularly at the same time. NFL teams generally aren't that aggressively-oriented to get interior penetration at the risk of getting gashed on the ground. While I like Ray Horton, I don't think he's any exception to that general rule. Maybe Horton and NFL teams in general should be more willing to play with multiple undersized interior penetrators, but they aren't.
2 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/taylor-lewan-view-from-the-next-day.html
@Scott P We'll see. I'm still where I was back in February-they could draft a QB anywhere, but I don't expect them to.
On Whisenhunt at Louisville's Pro Day, (1) it's not that far away, and (2) the Titans have had a number of Louisville players-S Calvin Pryor, ILB Preston Brown, and OLB/DE Marcus Smith-in for visits. No Teddy, plus the QBs Whisenhunt has drafted haven't had playing styles similar to Teddy. I think he's the best player in the draft, but I don't expect the Titans to pick him even if they do pick a quarterback.
2 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/filling-out-the-pre-draft-titans-roster.html
3 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/titans-sign-olb-shaun-phillips.html
3 months, 3 weeks ago on Implying beliefs from the Titans' free agent activity
@Scott P Based on what Horton has said, I was thinking of Morgan as a DE who may play either over the tackle or inside on third downs. He could still end up as an OLB, though.
On-the-ball linebackers = OLB, off-the-ball linebackers = ILB. Wimbley is definitely an OLB in this scheme, and that's where he played most of his career (3-4 OLB mostly in CLE, 4-3 OLB/DE in sub in OAK and like Ayers on the line a lot as an OLB).
I definitely see Brown and Gooden as ILBs. It wouldn't surprise me that much to see Brown and Fokou the starting ILBs Week 1, not that I would like that much more than anybody else would. Given the youth they already have (Brown, Gooden, McCarthy), I definitely do expect them to bring in a veteran ILB even if it's a cheaper guy like Larry Foote.
4 months, 1 week ago on Titans add DL Al Woods
@ksearle87 There wasn't a drop in Bironas's production from 2012 to 2013. He was a below average kicker in both seasons on both field goals and extra points. i outlined how his 2013 production was below average in my special teams positional analysis: http://www.totaltitans.com/2014-articles/february/2014-tennessee-titans-offseason-positional-analysis-st.html
4 months, 2 weeks ago on The holes on the Titans' depth chart heading into free agency
@Samsung 23 I'm really not sure what he is-the Cowboys listed him as a CB, while the Packers and Colts had him at S. I guess he's on the unofficial Titans depth chart as a CB, but they list him on the official roster as "just" a DB rather than specifically as a CB, plus I had him in my notes as a safety, so I'll be discussing him when I do the safeties positional analysis. Plus, not counting him, I had 7 names at CB and 4 at S.
4 months, 3 weeks ago on 2014 Tennessee Titans offseason positional analysis: CB
@Joshua C Locker hasn't been very good in his return from injury. The Titans spent this entire offseason building their offense around a way that minimizes the QB, and that's the way they wanted to play. Against the Jaguars, they thought playing like that would be good enough to win. It wasn't with the mistakes they made. Do they abandon what they've tried to do, and spent a lot of money preparing to do, and is the strategy they think is best? That can be a hard bridge for some people to cross, especially when you have the opportunity to show what you believed was right after all. Thus, a loss.
Also, who cares if somebody played a position when it comes to coaching? I don't, and plenty of good position coaches, coordinators, and head coaches never played the game after college, let alone professionally at a high level. Can he teach technique and the skills needed for the position? I don't think we've seen anything from Bruce Matthews (to pick him) that says he's particularly good at that.
8 months, 2 weeks ago on Titans give Jaguars their first win, 29-27
@Joshua C Coaching is a tough thing to talk about from the outside, at least in terms of things like playcalls. I would never hire a position coach without greater experience as a head coach, so I'm predisposed not to think of Munchak favorably. I just don't think he has the experience managing large groups of people or overseeing all the aspects of a team to be a good NFL head coach.
I think the Titans' plan on offense this year is failing. Chris Johnson is not a sustaining runner, and they're trying to win with a sustaining run game. The offensive line they spent so much money on hasn't been what they thought it would be, or even met my lesser expectations in terms of letting them run the ball and control the line of scrimmage. Locker's been better than I thought, mostly in a controlled environment. I see people talking about how good he was today, and I wonder if they watched the same game I saw, one where the Titans didn't run a play beyond the 45 until almost three quarters were gone in the game. Spasms of life, no more than that.
As I discussed in my podcast with Paul Kuharsky this week, before today the defense had been up to their expectations, which were higher than mine. They've shown a distinct weakness lately, though, against quarterback runs and couldn't get off the field on third downs today. And without a good defensive performance, the bad offense makes things go phhhhhffffffffffffft.
9 months ago on Titans rolled by 49ers, 31-17
@Scott P Thanks for the comment. I'd be more optimistic about the Titans being good on offense if they'd actually done anything good. I don't believe any of your ifs has ever been true, so I'm skeptical. Of course, this may just be my "glass mostly empty" side showing through.
10 months ago on Notes from the all-22 of the Titans offense against the Texans
@dragak1981 No question Thompson is a quality blocker on the move. I need to see more of him on offense, but early signs are catching is improved. Will he actually get thrown the ball, though?
10 months, 3 weeks ago on Tennessee Titans roster cutdown open thread
@Scott P The Titans did not have an elegant solution with Mariani. If his shoulder injury heals quickly, they could get him off IR with an injury settlement and re-sign him six weeks later if they still want. Given the injuries, I doubt they want. If his shoulder injury lingers, well, he'll be on IR all season.
I cover the Spencer over Velasco call in my latest post. If you think about them just as guards, it makes sense.
@prowatcher Interesting link. Thanks for the pointer.
I spend a great deal of time watching the Titans, a great deal watching any team I have to write extensively about, and a more modest but somewhat variable amount of time watching the rest of the league. My impressions of Griffin are based on spending hundreds of hours watching and re-watching the Titans over the course of his career. I watched Pollard very extensively in Houston in 2010 and less intensively in Baltimore the last couple years. Lynch, I watched every San Diego game last year and probably a dozen or so Tampa Bay games over the previous two seasons, though not to focus on him (or anybody else) specifically. I'd like to watch more, if I could, but need to win the lottery before I can regularly do so 60 or 80 hours a week.
11 months, 1 week ago on 2013 Tennessee Titans preseason positional analysis: S
@prowatcher As with any player I haven't studied extensively, I could be off on my evaluation of Lynch. My evaluation of him comes from what I saw in San Diego last year and in Tampa the couple seasons before that; I wouldn't evaluate him off the 17 snaps against Cincinnati (a game I haven't even re-watched him in yet) any more than I evaluated Markelle Martin off the 12 he played the previous game. I rate him as likely currently behind Afalava and unlikely to make the final roster. Perhaps I'm underrating him. Perhaps the Titans like him more than I do. Both are quite possible, and if he plays well going forward, I'll write that.
I'm not a big fan of box score scouting, particularly for safeties, so if you want to highlight particular plays where Lynch demonstrates, say, great range as a single-high safety, I'll be happy to take a look at them.
Thanks for the comment.
Yes, the Enderle prediction is up there with the worst I've made. I thought I was going out on a bit of a limb, but it ended up being a very thin branch instead. Oh well.
The other names? Well, we'll see. I try to get as many names right as I can, but as their continuing affection for Quinn Johnson shows, I don't always follow why they do what they do.
12 months ago on Thoughts on the 53-man roster as training camp opens
@dragak1981 Yes. Computer issue when I saved the post last night and didn't get a chance to delay posting. Fixed.
1 year ago on How the Titans fared in the red zone in 2012: Run offense
@BrianFlanagan Minutes come from somewhere, so longer drives typically mean fewer total drives in a game. It's not unusual for teams to do great in time of possession, hold the ball a lot, and not have many plays. Seattle last year was a great example-5th in time of possession, fourth-fewest plays in the league, and only 259 completions. I don't expect the Titans to be quite that extreme, but that's my expectation.
The Titans may agree with you on Washington's value as a locker room presence. Also, if Britt is a knucklehead off the field, doesn't work the way he should, or gets hurt again, then I think they'll keep Washington.
1 year ago on Projecting Titans catches for 2013
@deberryw Ah, no big deal. Transcripts are always tough, especially when you aren't doing things absolutely verbatim. I should have made it clearer in the post.
1 year ago on Greg Cosell on the Titans' rookies
@BrianFlanagan We'll see about Edwards. I don't think I've read anything really negative on him yet, so why'd he end up in the fifth round? Just because he was the backup to two guys who went higher? Maybe.
I think right now they're hoping somebody can emerge at strong safety between Martin, Stafford, Tracy Wilson, anybody. Pollard and Wilson gives them enough for 2013, but they may be shopping for another starter-type next offseason with Wilson around probably as a "I hope we don't have to play him too much" stopgap.
@deberryw The Hunter quotes are actually notes straight from listening to Cosell. I didn't use precise quotes, since I didn't transcribe everything he said, but "the most purely explosive wideout in the draft" and "length, fluidity, speed, and explosion" were both ways Cosell described him.
@BrianFlanagan My guess is TOP/winning would have more effect on the number of rushing attempts. They had lots of TOP in 2002 and 2003, ranking in the top 3 in the league, and only had 306 and 315 completions with peak Steve McNair, who was a very good passer.
If they wanted a high-volume receiver, there's no doubt they'd pick Washington. If they're instead looking for somebody who's probably going to play 10-25 snaps a game, can play on the outside or in the slot, and can help them in the run game, then I think Walter has the better skillset. I could be wrong on this, but I'm sticking to what I think.
@dragak1981 I don't know how they're going to play this year. I think their biggest need was a standout player, and I don't think they got one. Hill may be an upgrade on Marks, but I'm not sure yet if he's a significant one-I need to watch him more. In terms of pass rush, they'll be relying on coverage, internal improvement, and maybe better scheming. We'll see.
1 year ago on How the Titans sacked the passer in 2012: Conclusions
@Mongo75 I can't get over Reynaud playing 9 snaps on offense in the last 5 games. Maybe that changes in the new offense. The Titans already have too many bodies to play at WR, so I can't see Reynaud there either. They could easily disagree with me on either or both counts, but that's my take.
1 year ago on A first crack at the Titans' 53-man roster
@Scott P Scott, as always thanks for commenting. I'm not going to predict Quinn Johnson gets cut until he actually gets cut, but after I wrote this post Loggains at a media session talked about him as the fullback like there wasn't even a competition. The three TEs mean he won't play that much, but he'll play some-Loggains indicated probably 12-15 snaps some weeks, less in others.
Johnson's injury was part of why they tried out AV. He should be ready for training camp. Markelle Martin has to actually be healthy before I predict him to do anything. Because of his injury status, it didn't really cost the Titans anything to keep him last year. He's such an unknown quantity as a player, especially since he hasn't played football in 18 months at this point, that it's hard to see him sticking.
@BrianFlanagan Thanks for reading, and for commenting.
It's interesting, because the Titans started the season with a new left guard, a center who was forced to step in during training camp, and a right guard who'd never played the position before and missed a lot of time in the offseason due to injury, and Locker was very good. It was the sheer magnitude of the split that got to me. If Locker had been roughly average the first half of his season and then been awful the final five weeks, I don't raise an eyebrow. It was just the transition from great to awful that got to me, and I'd say the OL injuries explain about half of it.
And I concur with you on it being possible for very good quarterbacks to take way more sacks than you'd like-Aaron Rodgers is probably the currently poster child for this, as even when he was awesome in 2011 he was sacked at an above-average rate. This is the type of quarterback I think Locker ends up being, which is why I found his first half split was so noticeable.
1 year ago on Jake Locker was sacked hardly at all and very frequently in 2012, which means what for 2013?
@dragak1981 Yeah, the quotes, while interesting enough I wanted to post them, were not comprehensive analyses of Locker. Lack of anticipation and mediocre pocket presence weren't mentioned either. We'll see how things go and how successful the run-heavy offense they've made it clear they'll be implementing will work.
1 year, 2 months ago on The Jake Locker Dilemma
@Super_Horn Yeah, I'm not questioning that Hunter's a good athlete. He has some special qualities, like the 40 and the broad jump, though his short shuttle time wasn't very good. If you include 6'3" guys who were not more than 210 (my query, since that's about where Hunter may project), you also get with sub-4.4.5 Louis Murphy, Devin Aromashodu, Javon Walker, Marcus Easley, Todd Watkins, and Gerald Williams.
The draft position argument was aimed at people who argued Chance Warmack was a good pick because first-round guards normally pan out well. At the end of the day, we're dealing with individual prospects with their own strengths and weaknesses and, well, we'll see.
1 year, 2 months ago on More on Justin Hunter
@dragak1981 I think defense is more about talent than offense, relatively speaking, and the Titans don't have any premium defensive players. Williams is a pressure-oriented coach whose defenses break much too often when he brings pressure and is actually more effective playing conservatively. They're hoping to replicate 2007 with better wide receivers, but I'm missing the Haynesworth-like force on defense. My guess is the O/U on wins ends up at 7.0 or 7.5.
1 year, 2 months ago on Overviewing the Tennessee Titans' 2013 draft
@jckblr Judging by how he played there in college, Brown wouldn't be very good at MLB. He just doesn't do well taking on guys and playing in smaller areas. It's a different story if you can keep him clean, but we saw in 2011 what happens when you have a space MLB who isn't kept clean. I also don't see either of them fitting anywhere in a 3-4 other than at WILB.
@LucasWatson I have a thing with undeveloped 26 year old players going in the top half of the first round. An option at #40 if he's still there, and I think there's a reasonable chance he is.
1 year, 3 months ago on Evaluating the top defensive linemen from a Titans perspective
@jckblr I'll cover the top defensive linemen (including Jordan) in the draft in the next post. Like free agent tight ends this year, there are a large number of guys they could target, with the guys they actually like depending on what they're looking for. Plus, it's tough to say who will and will not be there at #10.
Stewart's either an above-average starting right tackle, in which case you don't try to replace him, or too injured to start.
I'll also cover in a separate post the other guys who might be on the board at #10, notably Rhodes and Milliner. I really doubt they take Eifert there, but you never know.
1 year, 3 months ago on Evaluating the top guards in the draft from a Titans perspective
@jferguson240 Oops, that was a bad brainfart typo. Henry was gone, but they had White and Brown.
1 year, 3 months ago on Reviewing past Tennessee Titans drafts: 2007
@Scott P Turner got $250k signing bonus and reportedly has a $250k roster bonus at some point in addition to his $1 million base salary. If the Titans don't want him, he's cheap enough he's gone without a second's thought. I don't know when the roster bonus is; I'd guess after the 53-man cutdown date and before Week 1.
Spencer almost certainly got no more than $50k in guaranteed money and there's no way his salaray is guaranteed (thought I think it effectively is if he's on the roster Week 1).
I haven't seen any reports of a roster bonus for Amano; I think his last paycheck came Week 17 and his next one comes Week 1 if he's still on the team. He has a little over $2 million in signing bonus proration remaining both this year and in 2013. If they cut him before June 1, that's $4.135 million dead money on this year's cap (unless they designate him as a post-June 1 cut). If they cut him after June 1, it's $2.0675 million on this year's cap and $2.0675 million on next year's cap.
1 year, 3 months ago on Parsing the Titans' comments on the guards
@Mark from Madison Warmack and Cooper won't be gone, but the Titans may draft a player they like at a more important position than guard. I'd be fine with that, but would look for them to grab a guard in the second or third round. If there's a run on the position, it wouldn't shock me to see them trade up, since they have the comp picks.
As always, thanks for the comment.
1 year, 3 months ago on Titans add Kevin Walter, Chris Spencer
@Scott P Signing mediocre players for the veteran minimum doesn't affect anything important. Amano's around because they haven't had to pay him anything yet, plus there's a theoretical possibility he has to play with injuries or some general bad luck and whatnot.
@dragak1981 The Titans don't need the cap space and they're not paying them any money, so there's no real need to cut Hawkins or Amano. It doesn't cost them anything to carry them into training camp even as depth chart fodder. Plus, if they cut them in June or later automatically the signing bonus proration hits over the next two seasons.
If they don't go guard in the first round, it's very likely because they're getting a high impact player at a different position. I could live with that.
1 year, 3 months ago on Examining the Titans' draft trends
@RazorsEdge I want them to decide which positions are important and which positions are not, which positions they have to use highly-drafted and -paid players to fill and which ones they can get by with low draft choices and/or cheap free agents.
1 year, 3 months ago on The Titans and the concept of value
@Scott P We'll see about tight end. I think they see a much bigger role in the passing game for probably all of Stevens, Walker, and Thompson. They (well, Henshaw at least) did it with Erron Kinney, and he was reasonably productive at it. I just think there are enough needs elsewhere that adding a receiving tight end, especially another young one, is not a high priority.
I was behind in my "listening to what the decision-maker said" but got mostly caught up tonight. In an appearance with Kuharsky and the Midday180 crew on March 14, Webster said "We will address the right side [of the offensive line] at some point in the draft, yeah." He went on to add "First, second, third rounds, there'll be guards all the way through that could come in and start for us." I think there's a good chance they address it sooner rather than later, but I would bet an awful lot of money the Titans take a guard in the first three rounds of the draft with the intent of starting that player this season.
1 year, 4 months ago on Assessing the Titans' roster after two weeks of free agency: Offense
@rbjohnson140 I don't expect the Titans to add a starting corner. If they do add a veteran, it's more likely to be somebody to play the slot.
1 year, 4 months ago on Titans sign Andy Levitre, Delanie Walker, re-sign Quinn Johnson
@Sportsfan007 Oops. This is what happens when you write posts after midnight and don't check the depth chart like you should.
After Stewart went to injured reserve following Week 13, the Titans added Daniel Baldridge, who was on the Jaguars' practice squad and had spent the previous three seasons on the fringes of their roster. He was inactive three times and active for the Packers game, but did not make an appearance on offense or on special teams. Good size at 6'8. I've probably seen him play from watching the Jaguars in preseason, but certainly don't remember it.
I'd guess the chance he passes Otto or Stingily is minimal, and the Titans won't keep five offensive tackles. With the need for bodies in camp, there's no need to cut him, but his only hope is an injury and/or the unexpected. Pretty sure he's out of practice squad eligibility, too.
1 year, 4 months ago on 2013 Tennessee Titans offseason positional analysis: OT
@dragak1981 Kenny Britt and Craig Stevens are the guys I think would benefit most from playing with a great quarterback. I fully believe Stevens could do everything Heath Miller does for Pittsburgh, and I've heard other people say the same thing, too. If Britt gets his head on straight and stays healthy, the sky could be the limit.
Cook is miles and miles away from being Gronk or Davis. Both of them are up around Stevens as the best blocking tight ends. I think Cook may be faster than Gronk, but Davis is faster than him. More importantly, both of them are significantly better athletes than Cook, who's fast in a straight line but does not have nearly the same athleticism or overall movement skills. Both players are also significantly more skilled than Cook, who does not do a good job for himself of creating space and making contested catches.
1 year, 5 months ago on 2013 Tennessee Titans offseason positional analysis: TE
Naturally, I put up this post and two hours later the Titans have a press conference where Munchak apparently describes George Henshaw as having been hired to coach Jared Cook. Either he has no idea Cook's not under contract for 2013 or the Titans will franchise him if they can't reach an agreement with him.
Also on the roster is Martell Webb, who was signed to the practice squad in December and a futures contract after the season. He's a big blocking-type guy who's not much of a receiver (nine passes in four years at Michigan, possibly questionable hands).
I normally try to be comprehensive in these, but the Titans signed a couple players after the season. Diondre Borel was added to the practice squad in December, and the Titans went ahead and signed him to a futures contract after the season. He spent 2011 and some of 2012 on Green Bay's practice squad. Michael Calvin ran a 4.32 40 at his pro day at Cal, but the undrafted rookie suffered a knee injury in training camp with the Falcons (apparently not his first) and got an injury settlement. The third guy they signed was Roberto Wallace, who'd previously been with the Dolphins. He has very good size (6'4", 225), but earned the nickname "Ankle Weights" for his lack of separation.
Until demonstrated otherwise, I'm not sure any of these guys has a serious shot at a roster spot.
1 year, 5 months ago on 2013 Tennessee Titans offseason positional analysis: WR
I normally try to be comprehensive in these, but I realized I forgot to note the Titans after the season signed Nathan Enderle. The Bears picked him in the fifth round out of Idaho in 2011. He was a Mike Martz project for his size (6'4") and arm, but when Martz was out in Chicago, so was he. He was with the Jaguars in preseason, but didn't make the team. He's yet to throw an NFL pass, but the Titans picking him up at this point may say something about them liking him. Competition for Rusty at QB3, perhaps?
1 year, 5 months ago on 2013 Tennessee Titans offseason positional analysis: QB
@dragak1981 Thanks for the comment. I'm pretty sure 2013 is more or less a make-or-break year for Locker, as it is for Munchak, Gray, and probably Webster as well. Playoffs (or close to it) or bust, and you can be pretty sure a new front office braintrust will want their own quarterback.
@dragak1981 I didn't get a big read on Campbell's play, because the Jaguars didn't target him much. They tried to get the ball out quickly, and seemed to be targeting Sensabaugh, who played most of the second half.
The Titans did have 6 DBs on the field most of the initial drive, and Campbell was on the field with Ayers instead of another linebacker. The Jaguars had only 3 WRs on the field, so they overwhelmed the Titans with power. Campbell needed to play well in those situations to get stops, but instead he played poorly. Had he played average, the Jaguars would still have had some success there.
I said this before the season, and I still think it's true-the Titans have no standout defensive players who affect an opposition's gameplan. True at every position on defense. I'm lower on Mike Martin than most people, but will probably rewatch one or more of the games where he played a lot later in the offseason to get another look.
As always, thanks for commenting.
1 year, 5 months ago on Notes from Titans-Jaguars, Week 17: Defense
@dragak1981 I've been slowly making my way through the all-22 against the Jaguars. Unless Campbell jumps out in one way or another, I probably won't do a whole post on his play that game, but I'll write about what stood out in how that game unfolded.
On the whole, the Titans are either an organization where nothing changes or an organization where everything changes too quickly, in ways that do not make sense. I'm mostly inured to it at this point, but it still doesn't make me happy.
1 year, 5 months ago on 2012 Tennessee Titans Snap Report: Defense
@Scott P Playing respectably at center is a lot easier than playing respectably at left tackle. I don't think Velasco played all that well, certainly not clearly above league average.
I expected CJ to be most people's choice. Frankly, I thought his lack of production cost the Titans both Colts games and the first Jacksonville game. That would make him 2-3. That's a slightly better winning percentage than the Titans' final 6-10 mark, but not enough to make him MVP in my mind.
1 year, 6 months ago on Picking a 2012 Tennessee Titans offensive MVP
Nice post, Andrew.
In the Pittsburgh and Buffalo games, the opponents didn't recover any of the fumbles. The way the Titans moved the ball most of the second half against the Bills, if they don't recover that sack-fumble that gives them great field position, or if Nate Washington, or if the Bills managed to recover the ball Nate Washington fumbled on the eventual game-winning drive, they lose that game. Neither fumble in the Steelers game was quite so momentous (Britt fumbled on a FG drive, but the Steelers committed DPI on the play, while the Steelers drove for a TD even without recovering Hasselbeck's fumble on a third-down sack).
To be fair, the Titans have been in a couple of other closer games, so you'd expect them to get the breaks in one or two of them. They probably "should" be 2-12 or 3-11 right now (the Football Outsiders Estimated Wins formula has them at 2.4).
1 year, 7 months ago on Titans fans should be glad their record isn't 1-11
@Bfrench47 Thanks for the comment.
The Titans tried to sign Avery, but he chose to sign with the Colts instead. He's starting there, and he wouldn't have started in Tennessee with Britt and Washington. As to Moss, I wrote about his play in far too much detail after the end of the 2010 season. He spent 2011 out of football because his 2010 level of performance didn't merit a roster spot-you need a really good and deep team to keep a fourth receiver who doesn't play special teams.
Unless the defense gets better the rest of this year, I would think Gray would be looking for another job. Then again, you never know. Things are unlikely to change much the rest of this year. My view is that defense is a lot about talent, and the Titans have no premium defensive players; no, paying non-premium players like they're premium players does not make them premium players. Acquiring multiple premium players on one side of the ball is typically, though not always, a multi-season process.
1 year, 8 months ago on Phins Phocus answers questions from Total Titans
@Scott P The Titans have given out a few premium contracts to guys who don't look like premium players, especially on defense. I'm not sure how much of that is Gray and how much of that the front office. Perhaps Reinfeldt and Webster should be worried as much as Munchak, Gray, and Palmer are.
1 year, 8 months ago on Turnovers, special teams lead Bears to blowout over Titans
@dragak1981 I should have a post with some of the brights spots up Monday. The defense wasn't really that bad, albeit against non-great competition. They just got so behind so quickly that it didn't much matter. It's so hard when there's nothing the team can count on on a regular basis now that special teams has gone completely to pot the last couple weeks. Nobody is safe if they have too many performances like this.
@dragak1981 I never trust the Titans to actually make a move I should. I'd say it's very difficult to see Gray returning unless the defense improves. Then again, the Titans could decide some semblance of improvement combined with his good job last year means Gray deserves another chance. Ask me after the season about Palmer, once we see how Locker does when he returns. I'm not sure how much Reinfeldt/Webster values Munchak, but doubt he goes unless they're ready to ditch both coordinators.
1 year, 8 months ago on The Titans and success rate at midseason
@dragak1981 Yeah, I heard the Cook interview. The offense is so comprehensively terrible I can't blame him or anyone else for being frustrated. Talent is part of it, but right now the offense isn't as good as their mediocre talent. I thought Palmer was likely a 2-year guy when they hired him, and it seems clear the players are struggling to execute his offense. That's on him. DItto Jerry Gray for the defense not being on the same page. Career position coach Munchak can't really fix either problem if telling the players to go play hard doesn't work.
1 year, 9 months ago on Enemy Intelligence: Pittsburgh Steelers
@dragak1981 I'll have to rewatch Brown and Martin to really get a feel for how they played. Maybe a next weekend project. Klug's a situational pass rush specialist; he'd be a more valuable player if the Titans were ahead in the second half and teams had to pass. I wrote this season his production last year was a bit lucky, so I'm not surprised he's fallen off. Griffin isn't very good at doing some free safety-esque things like making plays in space. I was never quite as high on Stewart as most people; he's signed through 2013 with a voidable year in 2014 (don't know void conditions). Given everything else going on, I'm not starting with him.
On offense, I could pretty much re-run the long post I wrote last year after Week 15 about how comprehensively lousy they were without changing things. Jared Cook and Kenny Britt when healthy are your only offensive players who are actually good, while Nate Washington, Craig Stevens, and maybe CJ are useful in the right circumstances. Kendall Wright is your master of garbage time production. Defensively, they have some useful pieces but no top-level players. Those guys can really make a difference.
You can't really make that many major changes during the season, and it's hard to really change personnel. You can tinker at the edges (more Brown, less Spoon), but that's about it.
1 year, 9 months ago on Titans stifled by Vikings, lose 30-7
@SethLeonard Is he? Who knows. I'm not talking to anybody in the front office, and they're not talking to me. It doesn't seem to be in their nature to make quick moves. If they only have one win at the bye week, maybe something happens.
Should he be? I think anybody employed by the team with the possible exception of special teams coach Alan Lowry has to be seriously concerned about his job security, because the Titans have been terrible on both sides of the ball. It's hard for me to see Munchak getting fired during the season, though. The obvious replacements are the coordinators, and both of them are probably on about as hot a seat as Munchak.
@Scott P Thanks for the comment, Scott.
Chris Johnson gives you an element of explosiveness neither Ringer nor Harper has. The other two guys don't really make extra yards, either, so it makes sense to give the ball to CJ. They've tried running both zone and more non-zone plays (I haven't charted it, but they've run more Power-O and that type of thing than I remember them running in the past), but it hasn't helped. My preferred solution would be for them to not even bother to try running at all (I'd be fine if they didn't call a single designed RB run in the first half), but that's not what they want to be.
1 year, 10 months ago on Enemy Intelligence: Detroit Lions
@dragak1981 Thanks for the comment, as always.
I'll be writing more about Locker's play. The overturned fumble I don't blame Washington for. The pick in the end zone was a poor decision-Washington was covered and the safety was over. Locker said after the game he shouldn't have thrown the pass. One short incompletion for Washington looked like a real fastball.
The interior OL being "fixed" was nonsense. This was apparent in the offseason and nothing really changed this week. I'm looking forward to taking a look at the all-22 to see just how bad the run blocking really was. CJ does a good job of making fewer yards look available than really are.
I'm not sold the Pats OL is horrible. I thought the run game struggles were probably more about getting outschemed (and beat on the edges by better players) than anything else, though again that's a rewatch thing. I never had expectations for Morgan as a rusher, so I'm not disappointed.
The Campbell thing, I have no idea what's going on, and Jerry Gray pushes my buttons to the point where I'm never quite sure if he really knows what he's doing or not.
1 year, 10 months ago on Titans routed by Patriots, 34-13
@tel36459 It's certainly possible, but I bet they keep one of the Other receivers (Preston or Kirkendoll?) on the team if they want another body at the position
1 year, 11 months ago on Titans 53-man roster prediction at mid-preseason | August
@Scott P Mariani's injury last night sadly answers that question. Given Reynaud's lack of experience in the Titans' system, though, plus his use this preseason, I don't expect him to see time as a pure receiver.
I wanted to limit myself to three players on each list, though I then cheated by using different position groups for each list. Klug's never played DE for the Titans, that I recall, and I'm not sure he'd be effective there. If they wanted a tweener, it's most likely Leger Douzable.
@duane_allman Yeah, he's really ripping passes. Maybe it was nerves, maybe he was just overthrowing. I haven't seen a lot of people talking about seeing that in training camp. We'll see if it happens again this week.
Eye discipline is certainly something he needs to work on. You did see it a couple times last year. Maybe it's the lack of gameplanning. Again, something to watch this week.
1 year, 11 months ago on Tennessee Titans first preseason game review: Offense | August
@dragak1981 I didn't see anything that made me think either the blocking or CJ would be significantly improved. This game reminded me of the Panthers preseason game back in 2010, which I thought presaged a number of the problems we saw that year we didn't see in 2009.
I think if Hasselbeck doesn't lock on to Williams early, Thomas in his single-high position shuts down the seam route to Cook. As it was, Hasselbeck got the throw down the sidelines fast enough that Thomas wasn't a factor.
That Locker passes looked like vintage Michael Vick-style bullets to me.
I think if the Titans could cure Harper of the urge to bounce everything, he can be sort of decent. As much as I hated LenDale, he made that transition.
@Scott P Tough call. You can get away with a bit of hand-fighting, but Edwards may have crossed the line. That said, you can't trust the refs to make every call you think they should make. In preseason, plays like that are a learning experience-Campbell needs to be ready for a receiver to try something like that and respond to it better.
1 year, 11 months ago on Tennessee Titans first preseason game review: Defense | August
@Mark from Madison Thanks for the report, Mark. Good news about Cook and taking a bigger role; that's something that's hard to tell from a distance. I think he'd really have to blow up for the Titans to pay him, but he'll still be playing a good-sized role this year.
1 year, 11 months ago on 2012 Tennessee Titans preseason positional analysis: TE | August
@dragak1981 We'll see how Locker does. I don't trust training camp numbers. Palmer noted in a media session this week he wants to see how Locker does against other teams, especially in terms of his decision-making.
Unless Lombardi's talking to Bud Adams, and I don't think Bud talks much off the record, I don't put any value on what he said at all.
1 year, 11 months ago on 2012 Tennessee Titans preseason positional analysis: QB | August
@dragak1981 We'll see how things go. He spent a fair bit of time rushing the passer in obvious passing situations, which is when most sacks tend to happen. I'll be looking at least as much for overall improvement in the pass rush as I will be for sack numbers in Wimbley. Double-digit sacks is certainly a possibility, but the Titans could still be a lousy overall pass-rushing team if that happens.
2 years ago on More on Kamerion Wimbley | July
@dragak1981 It's always hard to tell how well rookies will fare. Wright certainly has the physical ability to be better than Washington, but whether he'll be better this year is another question.
I'm not optimistic on Williams, but I've never really been. Certainly any suspension and injury-related limitations on Britt give him more opportunity, and he's cheap enough he shouldn't be in any danger of not making the team. Sooner or later, I need to see something special.
I plan on doing my customary season preview type thing near the start of the year. They can play pretty well and start 2-4. I just hope it doesn't snowball like we saw happen in 2009.
2 years ago on More on Kendall Wright's potential role in the offense | July
@dragak1981 Yeah, the Titans clearly had a price on Finnegan and were willing to pay that much and no more. Still, what do they value on defense? From revealed preference, we see pass-rushing end and safety, plus some but not extravagantly on a space linebacker, but what else?
I noted in Andrew's post on the center pursuit that The Peyton Chase really screwed them over there. I have a new hypothesis about why they were doing what they did on protections last year, though, which shows up in tomorrow's post on how Palmer's adapted his protection schemes. However, that doesn't change my belief on how good Amano is overall or that they have this completely undeserved reputation for developing good offensive linemen.
We'll see if Spoon makes the team. I'll probably do a roster prediction next week.
2 years ago on The Titans' top 2012 financial commitments | July
@dragak1981 I'd forgotten about that McCourty pass and had to go to the FO game charting to look up the play (3rd quarter, 13:54, pass intended for Roddy White but throw behind him and right to McCourty). Falcons were up 13-3 at the time and went on to score to make it 20-3. McCourty would've had the interception around the Titans' 40 yard line, plus whatever return he got.
Overall, per FO data, the Titans had 5 dropped INTs on the year. I'd guess that's pretty close to an average number or a little below. On offense, the Titans benefited from 8 dropped interceptions.
2 years ago on How the Titans intercepted the ball in 2011, part two | July
@dragak1981 I like Klug more than I used to, but I had Mitch King-level expectations. Tidbit from the forthcoming Football Outsiders Almanac 2012: he had 3 hurries to go with 7 sacks, which suggests he was lucky in terms of converting pressure into sacks. He could play pretty much equally well next year and those two numbers would be reserved.
I'm planning on doing a post on Wimbley and how he's gotten sacks the last couple years, now that NFL.com's Game Rewind has the past three years worth of games available. He's better than anybody they threw out at DE last season, but that's not saying much. 8 sacks is probably a good expectation for him.
Morgan, I don't know what to think about him, but I didn't think he'd be a big sack guy when they drafted him.
Thanks for reading, and for commenting.
2 years ago on How the Titans sacked the passer in 2011, part five | July
@dragak1981 Thanks for the comment; we'll see just how high Martin's ceiling is, but a reasonable downside for him is still a very useful player. We'll see about Brown's future and present; I was reading something recently that noted once a coach loses trust in an aging player, it's virtually impossible for him to ever regain that trust. I think Arian Foster's long TD catch and run in Week 7 may have been that moment for Witherspoon.
2 years ago on More on the Titans' rookies, including the Zach Brown puzzle | July
@Mark from Madison Thanks for the comment, Mark.
I actually did have a Taylor Thompson article saved, but it disappeared behind a paywall between late April and now. Pity.
@shawneriksmith Individual teams' DVOA correlate a lot better with their next-year DVOA and wins a lot better than their wins correlate to the next year's wins. See http://www.footballoutsiders.com/info/FAQ.
Obviously, the Texans could get much worse and/or the Titans could get much better. But if neither of those things happens, then your expectation should be the Titans finish about two games behind the Texans, not that the Titans might pass the Texans if they get a little lucky.
2 years, 1 month ago on The Texans were much better than the Titans in 2011 | June
I thought if the money was close to equal, Myers was going back to Houston. When they cleared the money, that was over. Saturday picked a better team; I doubt he goes to the Titans even if they pay him $6 million a year. I don't think Koppen's an upgrade.
That leaves Wells, who signed while we were still in The Peyton Chase. Given the amount of money Peyton was being offered, signing Wells meant not signing Wimbley or any other quality pass rusher. Given that trade-off, I'll take Wimbley over Wells.
2 years, 2 months ago on Are the Titans really serious about upgrading at center? | May
@samperrymd The Titans thought Marc Mariani won both returning jobs when he and Williams were both rookies and haven't felt the need to change. Mariani's not great, but he's been reliable at both roles.
It's not that I think Williams is irrelevant so much that he's caught in a numbers game. The top three are Britt, Washington, and Wright, and the only way I see that changing are if they cut Washington or Wright has a particularly rough transition. Rightly or wrongly, I think the Titans will be looking to justify Hawkins' new contract, plus it's easy for me to see him catching some number of five yard hooks even with the other receiver options. That just doesn't leave many snaps or targets for Williams.
2 years, 2 months ago on How might the Titans target their receivers in 2012? | May
@dragak1981 I have no idea why Cook's targets varied so much. My guess is there are internal consistency and gameplanning reasons, but those are just guesses.
As always, thanks for the comments. There's a lot of speculation in this post, and the Titans could easily choose to go a different direction than the one I have them going.
The problem I had with projecting more targets for Cook is there was absolutely no consistency in how he was thrown the ball over the season. He was targeted a lot the last three games (11, 8, 7), but before that was targeted only once each against the Bills and Saints. Ditto earlier in the year-9 targets against the Broncos and 8 against the Bengals sandwiched a pair of 2 target games against the Texans and Colts.
Hawkins over Damian Williams was partly a matter of the contract, partly it was just easier for me to define Hawkins' role with the team. I don't think either player is very good, nor do I see a big quality difference between the two of them. Even if he doesn't get thrown the ball much, I still expect Williams to make the team.
@MatthewHenry As always, thanks for commenting.
My guess is after The Pacman Experience, the Titans wouldn't bring in Janoris Jenkins even as a UDFA. I agree that the prospect of trading down from 20 is a very attractive one if the right guy isn't there.
2 years, 2 months ago on Titans' draft preview by position: defense | April
Thanks for the comments.
You're right, Scott, Konz is a tough call. I think he's a viable candidate in a tradeback from 20 or a tradeup from 52, but otherwise it's tough to see it happening. Then again, it depends on how much they want to not have Amano start at center. Molk's a possibility, but I'd rather have Saulsberry in the fifth than him in the third.
Andrew, I think Glenn gets drafted fairly high by a team that sees him as a right tackle. At 345 pounds, he's a bigger guy who's not a great mover, which isn't what the Titans have traditionally preferred int their lineman. Larry Zierlein, former Steelers (and elsewhere) OL coach, had a <a href="http://www.thesidelineview.com/columns/draft/scouting-draft-offensive-guards">nice writeup</a> on him and some other offensive line prospects.
2 years, 3 months ago on Titans' draft preview by position: offense | April
As always, thanks for the comments. I tried to make some at least slightly interesting choices, both in terms of who I didn't want and who I wouldn't mind.
Miscellaneous comments: I bet Ingram's off the board by the time the Titans pick. My guess is if Vinny Curry checks out okay off the field, he's gone by #52. I think there's a good chance Janoris Jenkins is off the draft board. As I wrote a little while back, the Titans haven't shown they can develop good offensive linemen lately. I like Still a lot more than Worthy. Poe doesn't interest me that much. I think the Titans need another corner, and expect them to add a veteran still unless or maybe even if they draft one early.
2 years, 3 months ago on Three defenders I wouldn't mind the Titans drafting in the first round | April
@dedkrikit I could've pulled quotes about a half-dozen different coaches and also quoted Dr. Z's riff on the topic from New Thinking Man's Guide (published in 1984), but it was easier, and I thought funnier, to go with all Marinelli quotes.
2 years, 3 months ago on Time to praise the head coach | April
The Dolphins dumped Satele to the Raiders because he kept getting destroyed by 3-4 NTs; think Kevin Mawae in 2009. With the Bills, Jets, and Pats playing or switching to traditional two-gap 3-man fronts and massive NTs, they had to get rid of him. Not really my favorite.
Prepare yourselves for another year of Amano starting, though I'll have more to say about that when I write up the guards positional analysis.
2 years, 5 months ago on 2012 Tennessee Titans offseason positional analysis: C | February
For me, coming up with a fair grade for Cook is a tough evaluation. Until late in the season I didn't see the step forward I was expecting coming into the season. From the outside, it's hard to really know why he wasn't a factor earlier in the season.
If I had to pick a most pleasant defensive surprise, McCarthy would be a strong contender. Given the problems the Titans have had lately with developing linebackers, I wasn't optimistic. As I wrote, I think he looked better because Gray had him doing smarter things than he had Ruud doing. If I had to pick a defensive player, it would probably be either Jordan Babineaux, who wasn't the liability I was expecting, or Jason McCourty, who wasn't a popular pick at starter after Verner's rookie year but who I thought had a fairly strong year.
2 years, 6 months ago on 2011 Tennessee Titans Most Pleasant Surprise: Nate Washington | January
As I tweeted later, twitter is a great medium for tossing out random facts, bad for context, nuance, and explanations. There's a lot to say about Peyton Manning's post-season record, very little of it in that tweet.
Other disclaimer: stuff I tweet is personal observations, not "Football Outsiders says." I say a lot of things that shouldn't be imputed to other people or organizations unless they happen to actually agree with me. Even among fellow FO staffers, I'd expect plenty of disagreement on many things I say.
2 years, 6 months ago on FO: Manning didn't choke | Articles
It occurred to me this morning that when I posted this article I was a little short on analysis and putting his answers in the proper context. Thus, that'll be tonight's post. Short version, Gray learned some.
Reading between the lines, the firing of the assistants was an organizational decision, and something that probably would have happened last year if not for the player continuity and lack of an offseason. With a bunch of guys entering their walk years and coaches who probably more not the right fit than bad, making a change now makes sense.
2 years, 6 months ago on Jerry Gray Talks Turkey | January
@dedkrikit No idea. I remember it not working particularly well in 2001, though.
2 years, 7 months ago on Titans who may be playing their final home game this week | December
To clarify, there are four different things:
1. Star Wars, Episode 2: Attack of the Clones. A flawed movie that was released in 2002.
2. Star Wars, Clone Wars (Vol. One and Two). A series of animated shorts that aired on Cartoon Network between the release of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Genndy Tartakovsky was responsible for these. Non-terrible.
3. Star Wars, Clone Wars. Originally the pilot for the subsequent television series (item #4) but released as a feature film in its own right, and the film the Cowen piece I linked to was referencing. Features incredibly dumb behavior by characters whose only possible justification is "that's how the writer drew it up," which is adequate justification itself for "punching the writer in the face, if I were the kind of person who punched people in the face."
4. Star Wars, Clone Wars. An animated series airing on Cartoon Network since 2008. Some fellow Star Wars fans I know enjoy it, but I found it strictly for kids after watching the first couple episodes.
2 years, 9 months ago on Q/A with Tom Gower of Total Titans
As always, thanks for the comments.
I'm far from ready to give up on Morgan, and I think he's one of the best hopes for improvement going forward. I too wanted JPP, but was on board with Morgan given the alternatives.
The Marks pick I never liked or understood, but your fourth defensive tackle isn't a make-or-break player. Spending a second-round pick on a guy who can only be your fourth DT in his third season and the three guys in front of him are your real issues.
2 years, 9 months ago on How the Tennessee Titans gave up 222 rushing yards | October
Also, no arrests! That's always good.
2 years, 9 months ago on The Titans have some positive things to build upon | October
You know, I don't have field position in the dataset right now, just down/distance and success rate.
Third down runs: 33% (2-6) overall, 0-2 on the non-3&1 runs. Passes: 44% (36% excluding Britt).
2 years, 9 months ago on Statistical tidbits on the Titans' offense through four weeks | October
Your heuristic for evaluating quarterbacks has to change. It becomes not less about what's possible, but about whether a quarterback has to make an unplanned quick decision and what his reasonable alternatives in any unplanned quick decision are.
Thanks to Game Rewind, I just watched the plays.
First one: Colts protect with 8 and Mario comes free after 2.5 seconds, as soon as Collins finishes his dropback. It's only a 2-man route, and Collins' only option is to eat the ball or an immediate quick pass to Wayne.
Second one: Collins pumps on the quick out to Garcon. Could have thrown this ball, but it's not a great option. Smith then gets the sack because he beats the LG. If Collins was expecting pressure, he gets the ball out.
Third one: snap exchange. Not obviously on Saturday, but that's as far as I go. Probably a timing issue.
Fourth one: Center of the OL collapses, Collins' only choices are to throw a pass that's guaranteed to fail, get sacked immediately, or try to make something happen. Granted he's KFC, and trying to make something happens has bad results, but this is on the OL. No downfield shot on Game Rewind here.
Fifth one: Mario Williams murders Dallas Clark and is on Collins quickly. The best option is a quick pass to Garcon in the flat, but Collins doesn't take it.
The snap exchange aside, these are fundamental OL issues that Peyton has been able to hide, but that I'd guess would trouble something like 28 other starting quarterbacks. Have fun.
2 years, 10 months ago on Collins or the OL to Blame for Sacks Against Houston?
The throws short of the sticks were either quick passes designed to avoid pressure opportunities or attempts to get players like Washington leverage against Jaguars defenders and let them produce YAC for a first down. Unfortunately, Britt is the only Titans' receiver who can really do something after the catch with the ball in his hands-Washington has good deep speed, but I don't think he has much short-area burst, and neither do any of the other guys.
I think Washington is also the guy who's done the best job of getting on the same page as Hasselbeck early. If you remember back to 2006, Bobby Wade got a lot of throws from VY for similar reasons.
Also, give the Jaguars credit for doing a good job of playing smart defense-if they'd done what I saw some other defenses do over the weekend, the Titans would've had better success converting those throws.
2 years, 10 months ago on UFR: Titans offense against the Jaguars | September
I had a tough time telling who really was and wasn't open, and NFL.com's version of the game won't have all-22 up until Thursday or so if last year is any guide. I didn't really see Cook wide open a lot, nor did it feel like they were really scheming to get him open. They had a few 3x1 sets where Britt was the 1 and they had him in man coverage, plus Washington got his work in the slot working against the Jags' nickel and dime defenders. Those two and CJ were the only players who had more than 3 targets.