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@jckblr And, Kirksey's hit on Locker... I didn't like it. It was flagged, as it should have been. I expect him to be fined a lot. Could he have been tossed for it? I thought so. Is it an auto-toss? I'm not sure. Since Locker returned to the game, I'm not getting too exercised over it, like I probably would have in a less eventful game.
3 weeks, 4 days ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/injury-riddled-titans-blow-28-3-lead-lose-to-browns-29-28.html
@jckblr As best as I can tell, the illegal contact penalty was called on Jason McCourty. He made contact with the Browns receiver (Gabriel, I think) 5 yards downfield, and the contact continued until about 9 yards downfield, well outside the 5-yard zone. When CBS finally showed the overhead shot after the penalty announcement, you can see it. It was announced on #32 Brandon Harris, but you can see the flag come in late in McCourty's area. Legit call.
I'm not absolutely sure what Morgan did to get ejected. What it looks like he did was join a one-on-one scrum with one player on the ground, itself nothing remarkable, but he might, and I stress this is what it looks like *might* have happened, not what actually did, have intentionally kicked the Browns player in the groin. The camera angle is obscured, but it looks like there's a kicking motion, and that's where a kick would have connected. IF that is what in fact happened, ejecting Morgan was the right call. I, too, would have liked an explanation as to what Morgan did.
The forward progress call... Kruger had him wrapped up from behind, and there was no room for him to go directly forward. I absolutely see why they blew the whistle there, and I think Kruger may have let up a bit to allow the late spin forward. There's a potential player safety issue there, with lower legs at risk if a player is pulled backward from the top at the same time his legs are pulled in a pile.
The OL, yeah, they got beat on the fourth down play. No question about it. Hard to tell from the CBS camera angle, but it looks like they shot the gap to the left of Schwenke, while Warmack just got driven back by the man in front of him. Ugly look, and a testament to the uneven results of investing in the offensive line. I thought they'd be better this year. I think they should be better. They're not.
I'm not going to try to convince your or anybody else to watch this team. They're not super-dreadful, and should beat Jacksonville this coming week. But they're not going anywhere this year and given their continuing mediocrity, I'm not sure when we should expect them to go anywhere.
@dragak1981 Locker's a quarterback who only does well when the first read is well-defined and open, receivers are in the right place and making good plays for him, and the protection is good. The first read hasn't been as clear and open since the Kansas City game, the receivers don't seem to be in the right place all the time, and the protection has been hit or miss at times.
Part of the Locker thing is it's Whitehurst and Mettenberger. Whitehurst has been mostly awful when he's played, and history says every QB drafted in the fourth round or later has been a below-average player, at best, as a rookie.
And don't get me started on the defense. It's been awful for about seven of the past eight quarters, and it's like nobody outside of St. Thomas Sports Park has noticed.
Starting against three playoff teams on the road in their first four games, the Titans were always most likely to be 1-3. It's the second quarter of the season where the schedule gets a lot more favorable. If Locker doesn't play a lot better there, he's toast.
1 month, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/titans-throttled-by-bengals-33-7.html
@dragak1981 The problems on offense and the pass game go well beyond Locker, but his awfulness the last couple games lets them paper over everything else that's going wrong. The Bengals weren't up 10-0 at the end of the first quarter because of what the offense did.
I think I said last year, and I think it said it this year, that the only way Locker gets benched is if he costs the Titans multiple winnable games. Given how the defense has played the last two weeks, I think that counter is still at 0. The Titans are committed to him, so any benching means he's permanently done in Tennessee. That makes the leash longer.
Realistically, the earliest change I see happening is Whitehurst maybe in Week 8 at home against the Texans or Week 10 after the bye at Baltimore. Playing Mettenberger means pretty much giving up on the season, so Week 13 at Houston or Week 14 at home against the Giants.
@dragak1981 I don't think the D played well for more than 2-3 plays in a row at any single point in the game. I don't think "came out flat" is an analytically useful description, but the run D was an issue from the first drive to the last one. Dallas had the ball 7 times in the first half and gained multiple first downs on 5 of the 7 possessions-the ones they didn't were the fumble (good play by TEN, but it came 9 yards downfield) and the end of the half drive.
Locker was terrible, especially in the first half, no doubt about it. I hope to say more about the play-calling, but I'm not sure it was any different in the first half this week than it was against the Chiefs. They just executed last week and didn't this week.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/titans-stifled-in-26-10-loss-to-cowboys.html
@JustinTSmith Very possible. I'd love to get all 53, but know I'm not going to. He's definitely one I could be wrong on.
2 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/uncategorized/tennessee-titans-53-man-roster-prediction-at-mid-preseason-2.html
@Jabout2 Yeah, I took notes on every play but didn't always note who was in coverage and how I'd assign it the way I do in a regular season game for, say, the Football Outsiders game charting project.
I never quite trust PFF (or anybody else really) on some subjective things. I just see the ambiguity and how easily that gets lost, which is why I've always (even before PFF was around, like in 2006 when I really didn't know what I was doing but did it anyway) preferred long narratives to quantifying things into a single number.
2 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/tennessee-titans-first-preseason-game-review-2.html
@Jabout2 Thanks for the comment, and the insight.
Obviously man is the expected call in a goalline situation. Man with a switch option in the right situation seems like a (relatively) common call. What I saw and think, and judging from the outside, all I can do is take my best guess and let you know where I might be wrong.
@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.
3 months, 3 weeks 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.
5 months, 2 weeks 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.
5 months, 3 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.
5 months, 3 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.
6 months ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/filling-out-the-pre-draft-titans-roster.html
7 months ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/titans-sign-olb-shaun-phillips.html
7 months, 1 week 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.
7 months, 3 weeks 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
7 months, 3 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.
8 months 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.
11 months, 3 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.
1 year 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.
1 year, 1 month 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?
1 year, 1 month 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.
1 year, 2 months 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.
1 year, 3 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, 3 months 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, 3 months 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, 3 months 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, 3 months 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, 4 months 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, 4 months 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, 5 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, 6 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, 6 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, 6 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, 6 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, 6 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, 6 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, 6 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.