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One of the the problems this year that hasn't been getting much attention, and that might be a big contributor to the abysmal record, is the poor tackling of the OLBs in the run game. I don't know if the Football Outsiders analytics examine this, but it seems to me that the Titans OLBs should have more tackles given the number of runs that are called against the defense. In the Texans game, for example, I recall seeing missed tackles by Morgan and Wimbley that resulted in big gains by Arian Foster. And when I check the stats from that game, I see that Morgan and Wimbley each had only 2 tackles. That seems like too few tackles in a game where the Texans ran the ball more than 40 times (including QB runs). Have you or Football Outsiders looked at this Tom?
I guess if Morgan, Wimbley and the other OLBs were getting a lot of sacks and QB hurries, these guys could be forgiven for their minimal tackles. But since that is not the case, maybe the inability of our OLBs to tackle is a primary factor that explains why the Titans continue to be playing poor defensively.
4 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/why-is-the-same-titans-team-that-went-7-9-now-2-6.html
Mettenberger's performance was about what I expected. Some bad and some good. I had hoped that he would play lights out, but I didn't really expect him to have that much success. I am very glad he got the opportunity though, and (presuming he doesn't get injured) I think the Titans will be able to properly evaluate him by the end of the season. Sadly, the rest of the team didn't play much better than Zach.
At this point in the season, the most disappointing part of this team is the poor line play, both on offense and defense. I am utterly shocked by the horrific play of the O-line. How can a line that cost so much and include so many high draft picks do so little to create running lanes? With the exception of Lewan, the Titans could replace all of the lineman with undrafted free agents and still open up the same number of holes as they do now. I blamed Munch and Matthews for the failure of the O-line the past three seasons, but I think I owe them an apology. Levitre, Warmack, Schwenke and Oher each seem incapable of consistently run blocking, regardless of who is coaching them.
As for the D-line, with the exception of Casey, again there doesn't seem much there. The inability to stop the run is quite astounding. While the Titans haven't spent the same amount on the D-line, it is very disappointing to see the line gashed time and time again by the opposing running back.
At this point in a piss-poor 2 and 6 season, you have to question how many of the starters on either line should be brought back next year to be starters. Perhaps, Webster's role with the team should also be evaluated before the 2015 free agency and draft.
5 months ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/new-qb-same-result-as-titans-fall-to-texans-30-16.html
That is the end of the season right there. There is no chance of even having a "respectable" record now, let alone a playoff birth. In my view, it is now time for the Zach Mettenberger show to begin in Tennessee. If it was up to me, I would put him in next week (before the bye week) so that he can play against a weak secondary and get some real game experience, before using the last 8 games of the season to audition to be the Titans QB of the future.
I do think there is a huge difference between 3-5 and 2-6. And the difference is that it will help determine when we will get see Mettenberger. If the Titans win with Locker next week and get to 3-5 going into the bye week, Whiz will still think that there is a chance to turn the season around. He will feel compelled to continue to start Locker after the bye. That would be a mistake, in my opinion. We need to see if Mettenberger can be the future for this team. He needs to play in real games to demonstrate that. And by real games, I mean both regular season and before the team has been officially eliminated from playoff contention.
The Titans have a big decision to make at the end of this season. The decision will ultimately define the Whiz era and the next 3 or 4 years of this franchise. The decision is all about the QB position. Whether Mettenberger can be the guy, or whether the Titans have to use their first pick in the 2015 draft to take a QB, can only be determined if we get to see an extended audition of the Mett show. Let the show begin against the Texans.
5 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/late-fg-pushes-redskins-past-titans-19-17.html
It didn't feel like much of a win. If that's the best we can do against the worst team in the league, the next 11 weeks are going to be long. But I am going to focus on the positive today.
And by that I mean, I think credit should be given to the rookies that played well today, or at least didn't screw up. I don't think Lewan got a penalty in his first start at left tackle and he did ok otherwise. You can say what you want about Sankey and his Johnson-esque numbers, but at least he isn't making 8 million a year to get those yards. And on defence, both Huff and Williamson made big plays. Huff got a sack and Williamson recovered a fumble. All in all, I think the injection of youth into the lineup had a positive impact on today's game (particularly on defence) and hopefully this bodes well for the future of this team.
5 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/titans-avoid-another-blown-lead-edge-jaguars-16-14.html
A new low for the Titans. Each week this season beginning with the brutal week 2 loss to the Cowboys, I thought the Titans had bottomed out. Surely, with these players and this new and somewhat proven coaching staff, it couldn't getting any worse. Well, each week I have been proven wrong. The level of incompetence running through the entire organization - from the terrible free agent signings (eg. Wimbley, Levitre, etc.), to the terrible draft picks (Ayers, Gooden, Warmack, etc.), to the terrible penalties, to the terrible play calling - knows no bounds. To me, it is simply unbelievable that this team can find so many unique ways to lose football games. While yesterday's loss should be rock bottom and would be for any "professional" team, I have trouble believing that it will be. The Jaguars coming to town next week provide another opportunity for the Titans to embarrass themselves. At this point, the finger pointing in the locker room has to be at an all time high and the players must be questioning every play called by the the coaching staff on offence and defence. Now, I think it might even get worse before it gets even modestly better.
5 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/injury-riddled-titans-blow-28-3-lead-lose-to-browns-29-28.html
Locker was the problem today. I agree the defence didn't play well either, but they had to keep going back on the field after the offence's three and outs. The defence was just forced to be on the field too often. If the offence could have held on to the ball just a bit, and make a few first downs in the first half, this game would have been much closer. Even with mediocre QB play, the Titans could have won this game.
This is the problem with Locker. He has his moments where he looks like he could be a franchise QB and then he has a pathetic game like this. This might have been his worst, but he has had a lot of stinkers over the past 4 seasons. My fear is that this is what he is. A QB who is similar to someone like Ryan Fitzpatrick. He can go out one week and win a game for you and then the next week give it away.
6 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/titans-stifled-in-26-10-loss-to-cowboys.html
Obviously, out of all of these guys, Coons has the best (perhaps 50/50) chance of making the roster. As for the others, most of them I don't know. But based on some of the tape that I have watched and media evaluations, I would think that Andrews and Gayle are the two most likely to make it into the final 53. Andrews will have to beat out Battle, which might not be too difficult to do if that competition is only about being a running back. But in this case, he would also have to be a pretty good special teams player to jump ahead of Battle. It is certainly possible. As for Gayle, I think he has a chance to make it as a rush OLB/DE on this team. His college production wasn't what it should have been, but he did show flashes. And he also dropped into coverage a number of times each game. He is not going to unseat one of the 4 veterans, but he could hang around as a 5th rush OLB/DE and beat out a guy like Lavar Edwards. I guess it is also possible that one of the WRs stick, but I suspect that there will be a veteran cut somewhere along the way that the Titans will pick up to fill that WR4 or WR5 role.
10 months ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/breaking-down-the-titans-2014-udfa-signings.html
This is an awesome pick in the 6th round. Assuming the knee is healing well and the back checked out, Mettenberger is an instant upgrade over Whitehurst and Wilson. If Locker goes down halfway through the season, all will not be lost this year. After maybe Bortles, Manziel and Bridgewater, Mettenberger was the best QB prospect in this draft, and the Titans only had to spend a 6th and 7th pick to get him. The potential reward far outweighs any risk. In terms of development, he is head and shoulders above guys like Thomas and Savage, both of whom are years away from being anything but 3rd string quarterbacks in the NFL.
10 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/titans-trade-up-to-select-qb-zach-mettenberger-in-6th-round.html
I am not sure about this pick. With all of the running backs to choose from, the Titans picked Sankey? I watched a bunch of tape on the top guys and thought that Mason, Hyde, Hill and Carey were all more consistently effective running backs. They either hit the hole harder, had more elusiveness or were stronger running between the tackles. I know that Sankey is a probably a better blocker than these other guys and is a good receiver out of the backfield. I also know that the Titans already have Greene and Battle on the roster who are similar to Hyde and Hill, so it made sense to draft a smaller, quicker back to go with that group. And I take some comfort in the fact that a guy like Mayock (and some other analysts as well) had him rated as the top RB in the draft.
All that said, after being pleased with the Taylor Lewan pick in the first round and happy to see the Titans trade back in the second round, I am not too excited about this one. I hope Sankey proves me wrong.
10 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/titans-trade-back-select-rb-bishop-sankey-in-second-round.html
I actually like the pick. I admit that it caught me by surprise. But when you think about it, but for the off-field transgressions, many considered him to be the best tackle in the draft. As Webster said, he was ranked so much higher than everyone else on the Titans' board, they had to take him. I don't think the Titans believed he would still be there at 11. And I think we have to assume that Webster checked out his background and the allegations against him, and was satisfied with what he heard.
I am a bit surprised by all of the negative comments that I have seen on twitter and on other blogs about this pick. I am sure many of those same people despised the Oher signing. Lewan will have to start this year, and that will likely be at right tackle (with Roos staying at left). Oher will become the Titans (very expensive) backup swing tackle, unless the new coaching staff really dislikes Roos. I cannot see the point in having Lewan sit on the bench for a year. What a waste that would be.
10 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/titans-select-ot-taylor-lewan-with-11th-pick.html
If the draft fell your way Tom, I think the Titans would feel pretty good. I'd rather have Tre Mason than Hill (because the Titans have two guys on the roster already that are Hill-like), but I would also rather have Hill than Hyde. I am also one of those people who does not see a huge need for an edge rusher in the 1st round (given the 4 pretty good ones they have on the roster now), but I see Barr's talent on film after only 2 years of playing the position and I can see why the Titans would be happy to draft him at number 11.
More than any other year though, I really believe that this year the Titans will want to grab an extra pick in the second or third round, and if that means dropping back in the first round to 16 (Dallas) or 18 (Jets), I think they will seriously consider a first round QB. Don't get me wrong, as I have written on here before, I think it is a possibility that the Titans 1st or 2nd round pick (even if they stay where they are) will be a QB. But I suspect the likelihood of drafting a QB early goes up significantly if the Titans acquire an extra pick in the first three rounds.
10 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/my-2014-seven-round-titans-mock.html
I know you disagree (as does Jim Wyatt), but I think there is a good chance the Titans select a QB with their first or second pick (unless they can trade back and gain an additional pick in the first three rounds). My thinking goes something like this. Given Locker's injury history and the limited evidence, to date, that Locker will become a franchise QB, the Titans need a backup who would be capable of playing fairly early in the season and for a significant number of games. That person isn't on the roster now and he cannot be obtained in the later rounds of the 2014 draft. One thing is clear about Whitehurst, he is not capable of playing a prolonged period of time at QB. He was fine as a backup to a durable guy like Philip Rivers, but I think he was brought to Tennessee to be a teacher of the new offensive system, a mentor and a 3rd string QB. I also look at the fact the Whisenhunt has, to my knowledge, visited only one pro day outside of Nashville and that was in Louisville. I doubt he would have chosen to attend that specific pro day if he didn't have a fairly strong interest in finding a signal caller early in the draft.
10 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/filling-out-the-pre-draft-titans-roster.html
If the Titans don't trade back and acquire extra picks, they will only have 6 picks in this draft. That's a problem for a team that appears to be thin at a number of positions. There is almost no real competition right now for several positions. If you look at the roster (with one or two exceptions) you can identify almost all of the players that would make the team (today) at QB, RB, WR, TE, S and CB. If the Titans coaching staff is serious about competition at every position, these 6 positions have to be the focus of the Titans draft. A few other positions are stacked with competition. DE and DT as well as ILB and OLB are well represented on the Titans roster. I think there are 12 DLs and 11 LBs listed on the roster today. And there are good players in there. Almost every one of those listed has a legitimate shot at making the roster in an open competition. After the free agent additions, I think the Titans will shy away from selecting defensive front seven players in the draft,
While the 11th pick is a wildcard and the Titans could go with any number of players (BPA) if they stay at that position and don't trade back, I think there is a strong possibility that they go QB (if a QB they like falls to them) at 11, or they go CB or S. After that, I see them taking a RB in round 2 or 4, a QB (if not in the 1st round) in rounds 2, 4 or 5, and a WR and TE somewhere in there as well. I am not one who believes this will be a defensive-heavy draft for the Titans, and I expect them to use 4 of their 6 picks on offense.
11 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/head-coach-ken-whisenhunts-history-of-drafting-offense.html
This is a very good signing. The linebacking group seems to be pretty deep (both outside and inside) going into the draft. It makes me wonder whether a rush LB will even be on the Titans' radar when they pick at #11. Until the Phillips signing, a majority of the mock drafts seemed to have the Titans going OLB. I am doubting that now... even if Barr is there, and I am thinking more and more that Ruston is setting this up to do everything in his power to trade back a few spots and pick up a second or third rounder in return and then take BPA (someone like Ford, Mosely, Dennard, Clinton-Hix or Donald). I know trading back is a difficult thing to do, but getting an extra pick in the 2nd or 3rd round would free the Titans up to use that pick or the existing 2nd round pick to select at QB, which I am becoming convinced the Titans want to do in this draft..
12 months ago on Conversation @ http://totaltitans.com/2014-articles/titans-sign-olb-shaun-phillips.html
I am OK with the Oher signing. The twitter universe and blog world seem to be pretty negative on Oher. The money is a bit more than I would have hoped, but Oher has been a good tackle in this league. He is going to get excellent coaching from Bostad and he is going to know that his position is right tackle in Tennessee. If Matthews was going to be his position coach, I wouldn't have much hope for him, but with Bostad coaching him, I am confident he will get better.
1 year ago on Titans sign RT MIchael Oher, release QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
I am having trouble understanding this move. I am not a fan of Fitz, but there is no way that Whitehurst can be seen as an upgrade. With that said, is it possible that this signals something else in Tennessee - that the Titans are seriously considering using the first or second pick in the draft on a QB? That may seem odd, but at this point in his career, Whitehurst really isn't anything more than a 3rd string QB. If they draft a QB early, he would compete with Locker and the loser of that competition would become the backup QB this season.
I might be reading too much into this (maybe it is just that Whisenhunt has always had a personal disliked Fitz), but I am trying to make sense of the decision to downgrade at the QB position.
1 year ago on Titans ink QB Charlie Whitehurst to 2-year deal
I agree that the Titans seem to have big numbers on the d-line and have perhaps hit the saturation point already. I am not sure though they really need too many more outside linebackers. Isn't Wimbley an off-the-ball outside linebacker? That is certainly where he had the most success in his career, and it is where he earned the $6 or 7 million a year contract from the Titans. And what of Morgan? Is he only going to be a situational hand-in-the-dirt defensive end in the 4-3, or is he also going to have a role in the defence as a rush OLB in the 3-4 alignment? And I would think that Brown, Gooden and/or a draft pick would also be in the rotation at OLB. This is why I was a little concerned that the Titans might break the bank to entice Woodley to come on board, and why I am fine with the Titans losing out on him to the Raiders. Six million a year is way too much to pay for a declining Woodley.
Inside linebacker, on the other hand, is bit more of a concern. The group of McCarthy, Fokou, Brown and Gooden doesn't exactly engender confidence in a fan base. Perhaps this will be a draft pick as well, but you would hope that the Titans would at least bring in and sign a two-down run stopper like Spikes or Akeem Jordan at a reasonable price so they don't have to reach in the draft..
1 year ago on Titans add DL Al Woods
The McCluster signing is a bit of a surprise, not the signing itself, but the overall value. I wonder how the 12 million dollars is spread out over 3 years? Another nail in the CJ coffin for sure, but I have to think there is still another RB to be picked up out there - either in free agency or in the draft. Could Anthony Dixon be that guy? I liked him coming out of Mississippi State in 2010, but he replicates what Greene and (to a lesser extent) Battle can do, so I can't see a reason to sign him unless one of those two is released. I guess we will find out tomorrow.
Here's hoping the Titans make a bigger splash on Day 2, and perhaps pick-up an OLB (Woodley?) or RT (Howard?) at a reasonable price; and not at some of the ridiculous prices paid today (such as the Raiders' signing Saffold for 5 years, $42.5 million; $21 million guaranteed).
1 year ago on Titans add Dexter McCluster, re-sign Leon Washington
I see Stingily as the backup swing tackle. And I expect the Titans to sign a free agent as the new starter in place of Stewart at right tackle. If Williams isn't back (and it is unlikely he is going to be offered much in the open market), the 4th receiver could be Preston, with some combination of Mariani, another free agent veteran or two and a draft pick fighting for the 5th and 6th receiver spots.
I think inside linebacker is a huge hole on this team. While they might make due with some combination of McCarthy, Fokou, Brown and Gooden, none of them is an true inside backer in a 3-4 defense. That's why I think C.J. Mosley is a potential pick for the Titans at 11. I also believe that the Titans have to find someone to play nose tackle in this new defensive scheme. Hill, Martin and Johnson are not nose tackles. The two starting DEs in the front 3 seem to be set - Casey and Pitoitua - but the team is missing the space eater in the middle.
1 year ago on The holes on the Titans' depth chart heading into free agency
I am less concerned than you about the Titans' prowess at the guard position. Levitre will certainly be better in his second year with the Titans. His health and the fact that he won't have to play beside the incompetent Rob Turner will automatically result in improved play. As for Warmack, very few rookie guards play above average in their first year in the league. Warmack was hampered as well because he was saddled with playing beside both Turner and Stewart, two players that shouldn't have started for any team in the NFL last year. With a competent centre in Swenke and a new RT, I believe Warmack will become a very good guard this coming season.
1 year, 1 month ago on 2014 Tennessee Titans offseason positional analysis: G
I agree. I doubt CJ is back. He lacks the quick-twitch ability to avoid tacklers, he rarely broke a tackle and he was consistently stopped at the point that he first made contact with a defender. He is not worth 8 million.
I think the Titans bring in a low-cost veteran through free agency to compete for a roster spot (and take Battle's spot), but I also think that they use the 2nd or 4th round pick in the draft on a quick-twitch running back like Tre Mason to pair with Greene and have running back committee next year.
1 year, 1 month ago on 2014 Tennessee Titans offseason positional analysis: RB
I am pretty happy with the coaching staff Whisenhunt is assembling. I was a little surprised that he kept Kaczor as Special Teams coordinator, but almost every other decision has been stellar. And I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on Kaczor.
I guess this is what happens when you hire a Head Coach that has developed relationships and connections throughout the league. The only coaches Munchak could seem to attract were old friends from the Oilers/Titans days or has-beens that no one else would think to hire (and those two groups weren't mutually exclusive).
The Horton and Spanos hires are absolutely outstanding and should result in a vastly superior defensive system next year.
I am really looking forward to free agency and the draft now just see who the Titans pick up to fit the new defence.
1 year, 2 months ago on Titans hire Jason Michael as offensive coordinator
I think this is a very good hire for the Titans. I have a few concerns about his last two years in Arizona, but I think he probably learned from that QB debacle after Warner retired and I believe he will be a better head coach for it.
A few things stand-out for me with respect to the Whisenhunt hire. First, he has had enormous success with most of QBs he's coached. He turned Roethlisberger into a Super Bowl champ. He resurrected the career of Kurt Warren at a time when almost everyone thought he was finished as a starting QB in the league. He also had to do that while fighting off the urge to play the first round pick Matt Leinhart, which is something I assume management for the Cardinals was trying to jam down his throat. And he restored Rivers to prominence, after two consecutive seasons where it looked like he had lost his mojo. His ability to get the most out of these three QBs is impressive and makes me think that he will be able to find success in Tennessee. Second, I don't think the Titans could wait until after the Super Bowl to hire a HC. A decision to wait and hire Quinn would have delayed everything for Tennessee and would have limited the Titans options with respect to the Offensive Coordinator hire. Third, Whisenhunt knows a lot of football people and, for that reason, he likely has the ability to attract some great people to work on his staff.
All that said, I am optimistic about the decision to hire Whisenhunt.
1 year, 2 months ago on Titans hire Ken Whisenhunt as new head coach
I might have gone with Hunter, if only because he was a difference-maker in a couple of games (San Diego and Oakland come to mind). I know he only had 18 catches on 42 targets, but most of the year he was stuck playing catch with an erratic and inaccurate QB. I suspect that most of those incompletions were Fitz's fault, not Hunter's.
1 year, 2 months ago on Picking a Tennessee Titans rookie of the year
That is the right decision. It was time to move on from the Fisher era. A clean sweep needs to be made and a completely new coaching staff needs to be implemented. This should have been the approach the Titans adopted 3 years ago.
Tom, if you are a betting man, who do you think becomes the new HC?
1 year, 2 months ago on Titans fire Mike Munchak
And let's not forget that the Jets traded up to the fifth spot in the 2009 NFL draft to select Mark Sanchez. The Jets ability to accurately assess QBs coming out of college is therefore questionable at best. In my view, Locker has more upside than Sanchez, and yet the Jets took Sanchez at 5 (and paid a huge ransom to do so), while the Titans picked Locker at 8 in 2011 without paying a huge ransom.
I would also point out that the 2011 NFL draft was different from every other draft before or after. The draft was held before free agency, so a number of teams (including the Titans) didn't have the opportunity to shore up their QB depth chart before the draft. That certainly contributed to some teams' decisions to draft a QB early.
1 year, 2 months ago on The Jets on Locker and Ayers
I remember the struggle you had last year and I remember disagreeing with you about your choice for offensive MVP. This year, though, I agree with you. Wright stood out this year for his consistency, his YAC and his ability to get open on third down. I believe that he was a vital contributor to the Titans' limited success this year on offence. I also agree that Washington had a great year and should be in the conversation for offensive MVP. But the one guy you didn't mention and who I think should also be in that conversation is Delanie Walker. I was initially very critical of the Titans decision to sign him and install him as the starting TE, but his 60 catches and 6 TDs greatly exceeded my expectations, and the leadership role he assumed on this team was impressive as well. He proved me wrong.
All that said, Wright is deserving of your MVP vote.
1 year, 2 months ago on 2013 Tennessee Titans Offensive MVP: Kendall Wright
The refereeing was horrific again, with a few ridiculous calls against Pollard and Verner (and others). The Titans likely would have lost anyways but it would have been a closer game. And the defence might have even made the odd stop if the refs weren't seeing things. I was shocked by the absence of a pass rush. There were times when Peyton had 5 or 6 seconds to find a receiver. I don't understand it. Peyton has been hit and sacked by almost every opponent he faced this year. But not the Titans. I don't understand that.
1 year, 3 months ago on Titans routed by Broncos, 51-28
Just a quick comment on the Locker decision that has to be made this off-season. I don't think the Titans can rely on him as being the guy next year. He is (very likely) still going to be on the team, but there is no way that the Titans or any other NFL team can assume that he can play all or even most of a 16 game season. He has been injury-prone throughout his 3-year NFL career. It isn't like he has had a few minor injuries and missed the odd game here or there. Nor has he only had one injury. He has had three major injuries in the NFL. This isn't a new thing for Locker either. He was injured often in college. He was carted off the field in a game in 2007 because of a neck injury. He missed 8 games in 2008. And I think he missed a game in 2010 with a broken rib. He isn't like Brees, Rodgers or Luck in this respect. None of those guys have demonstrated a consistent ability to get injured.
Regardless of whether its Munchak (and I doubt that will be the case) or a new coach, the Titans need to have, at least, a new Plan B when training camp starts in 2014. The Fitz experiment has been a colossal failure. And if there is a new coach, he will certainly find his own quarterback ( a new Plan A), and Locker will be relegated to next year's Plan B.
1 year, 4 months ago on The 2013 Titans are the 2013 Titans
I knew it was a long shot, but I was hoping to wake up this morning and read that Tommy Smith had fired Munchak and replaced him, on an interim basis, with Greg Williams. It didn't happen.
After the home loss to the Jags, the Titans had to win this home game against the Colts. The team couldn't afford to fall to 4 and 6. It was a "must-win" game. So much for that. With six games left, including trips to Denver and Indy, there is no chance of this team winning 5 of its last 6 games (to get to 9-7), which might not even be enough wins to get that last wildcard spot. At this point, I will be shocked if the Titans can better their record from last year. A 3 and 3 record in these last 6 games would be a major feat for this team.
All that said, what's the point of keeping Munchak as Head Coach for the remainder of the season? He has demonstrated in the last 2 years that he lacks the ability to win games against division opponents, as well any of the higher quality NFL teams on the schedule. Perhaps, if he is released today, it would light a fire under the coaches and players, who should fear that they too will be unemployed if things are not turned around. How could things get any worse under a Williams' led team? I don't think they could. I think Tommy Smith should pull the trigger and let Munchak go.
1 year, 4 months ago on Titans start fast, fizzle, fall to Colts 30-27
I think pathetic is the right word. And sad really. It was going to be tough for the Titans to get enough wins this year to make the playoffs, and the two games against a seriously inferior team like the Jaguars were "must wins". With yesterday's loss, the best this team will do this year is 8-8. They are certainly not beating the Colts twice or the Broncos, and with Fitz in there they will be in tough against the Jaguars when they face them again in 6 weeks.
There is something wrong with the coaching staff on this team. Even a moderately capable staff finds a way to win these kinds of games against the worst teams in the league. The Titans haven't been able to do that. It is time for the Head Coach and most of his coaching staff to be let go. Perhaps, if the team is blown out by the Colts on Thursday, Tommy Smith will make that decision sooner rather than later.
As for the QB of the future, I guess come next May's draft, the Titans will have to see if they can find a franchise quarterback. Locker looks like he is made of glass. Even if the Titans were confident that he had the skill-set to succeed (and that's a big "if"), they simply cannot put the future of the franchise on the shoulders of a guy who has had 3 major injuries in the past year and a half.
1 year, 4 months ago on Titans give Jaguars their first win, 29-27
I watched the game live on TV. I was just hoping to be able to see that he wouldn't be any worse than Turner. And I think he proved that beyond any doubt. It was his first game as a rookie and he had to face a very good defence like the 49ers. I think the O-line and Schwenke improve going forward.
1 year, 4 months ago on UFR: Brian Schwenke against the 49ers
You are preaching to the converted with respect to CJ. When I look at him and compare him to Charles, I see two guys that are roughly the same size, have similar speed and have the same experience. That's where the similarities end. With each passing season, Charles has gotten better - a more elusive, stronger and more effective RB and a better receiver. CJ, if he hasn't regressed, hasn't taken those next steps. Everyone seems to have figured out how he likes to run and have developed a formula to stop him. I am not suggesting that the OLine and coaching are blameless. I just thing more blame should be heaped on CJ. I too want Greene to get back in the lineup to see whether he has more success running behind this OLine.
The OLine has issues of its own. My theory is that the play of Rob Turner has been so poor that it is affecting Warmack and Levitre. They are trying too hard to compensate for his shortcomings. I know that doesn't explain everything, but it certainly doesn't help to know that the guy playing right beside you is consistently being overpowered and outplayed by the Tackle in front of him.
As for Fitzpatrick, I don't think anybody seriously thought he would be much of an upgrade over Hasselbeck. But I do think he has the ability to win a game or two (or not lose one as he proved in the Jets game). And he has less wear on his tires, which should mean that he can be a steadying influence on Locker for a couple of more years.
1 year, 5 months ago on Notes from a trip to Nashville
That was a pretty fine defensive effort. And the offence scored touchdowns on all of the Jets' turnovers. This team wouldn't have been able to do that last year. The Locker injury puts a huge sting into this victory. Just as he seemed to be hitting his stride another injury derails him. Let's hope its is more bruise than break or tear.
At this point, there is no doubt that this team is vastly improved in almost every facet of the game... except one. What can be done about the run game? The line has been overhauled, yet CJ is still unable to get many yards. Can we still blame the line? At this point, I am hoping that Shonn Greene comes back soon and takes carries away from CJ. He s a capable back. Maybe that way if the yards per attempt average proves, the Titans can determine that the problem with the running game doesn't rest with the O-line.
1 year, 5 months ago on Titans blow out Jets, but Jake Locker injured
@ThomasGower @Scott P If you are right about this Tom, then this is on the coaching staff and everyone should be fired during the bye week. All of the "ifs" I mentioned are all fixable things and should be addressed by a competent coaching staff.
1 year, 6 months ago on Notes from the all-22 of the Titans offense against the Texans
I agree with all of these criticisms of the Titans offense, yet I can't get over the fact that if Locker and Britt connect on that one pass or if Hopkins doesn't make that incredible touchdown catch in OT, we could be talking about the Titans being 2 and 0. I know the defense has been the reason the Titans have been in these games, but if only one or two things change on offense, the Titans could start putting up some points. Maybe I am being too optimistic. Maybe it is too much to expect Locker not to falter in the face of phantom pressure. Maybe CJ can't just run through the narrow crevices that the O-line is creating for him (like LeSean McCoy seems to be able to do). But maybe neither of those things matter. I think the O-line can be better. Turner can, at a minimum, stop taking stupid penalties. Warmack can play up to his draft position. And the wide receivers can play better (both in terms of pass catching and blocking), particularly if Britt gets his head on straight on game day or is replaced at some point by Hunter (or even Williams). And if any of those three things happen - and I think there is a very good chance more than one of them will - the offense will start scoring enough points to win some games.
I am feeling a bit optimistic about the Titans for the first time in years. I am still not sold on Locker and I am certainly not a fan of CJ's running style, but I think that the rest of the pieces on offense will be able to help both of those guys do enough to win some games this year.
The release of Shaw and Velasco surprised me. I have been a Velasco fan since I watched him play in his senior year at Georgia. I can't believe that the team opted to go with Spencer just to save a little over a million dollars. If Spencer has to play this year, the Titans will regret this decision. I hope he ends up in Denver and gets a shot at the playoffs this year. Shaw was a great special teamer - better than Bailey. Was this decisio based on money too?
I was shocked to see what happened to Mariani. Putting him on IR and paying him almost 600 million (when he will be health in a couple of weeks) is just stupid. It punishes him and probably sets back his development as a football player. It will be difficult for him to sit out two full years and be able to come back as the same player he was in 2011. It also does nothing for the Titans. He is not going to re-sign with the Titans next year. He will go elsewhere after being prematurely shutdown this year. If this decision was just to spite Fisher and the Rams, Munchak needs to go into therapy. But I can't see any other reason for doing it.
1 year, 6 months ago on Tennessee Titans roster cutdown open thread
I agree with you on Quinn Johnson. My hope early on was that the Titans wouldn't use a fullback this year, and would instead carry 4 TEs and rely more on Stevens or Walker to be the lead blocker for CJ. I don't know if that was ever part of the plan, but even if it was being considered, the Walker injury probably killed it. I find myself rooting for Mooney to win the battle for FB in part because he isn't as one-dimensional as QJ, but it is likely that the Titans like QJ's blocking ability more. And as you note, if they keep Battle on the roster, it is less likely that Mooney's other abilities will be needed.
1 year, 7 months ago on Tennessee Titans third preseason game review: Offense
This is the part of the Titans offence that concerns mean the most (well, second most... Locker is still the biggest question mark). I don't believe Delaney Walker can be an effective pass catching tight end. He has done nothing in his first 7 years to show that he is capable of being even a good receiver. He dropped a quarter of the passes thrown his way last year. He only caught 21 passes. He is only 6 feet tall. And he doesn't have great speed. I hope he proves me wrong, but at this point, I would count this year a success for him if he catches 30 balls and blocks well enough for CJ to get to 1500 yards.
I am hoping that Taylor Thompson makes a big jump this year and can be that huge target that Locker can find over the middle.
1 year, 8 months ago on Delanie Walker and veteran tight end receiving breakouts
Tom, do you think there is a chance that Quinn Johnson would be cut because the Titans will rely more on Delanie Walker's blocking abilities? Since Quinn is a one trick pony (who only blocks) cutting him would allow the Titans to keep someone like Collin Mooney, who is probably a better special teams player and could also play a minor role as both a fullback and a running back.
The only other quibble is Robert Johnson. I think the Titans drafted Markelle Martin and stowed him away on IR for a year because they believed that he would get healthy and make the team this year. And now that the Titans seem to be trying Verner as a centre fielder in OTAs, I wonder if that can be seen as further evidence that Johnson's roster spot is in jeopardy.
1 year, 9 months ago on A first crack at the Titans' 53-man roster
Hallelujah! He was a 7th round pick who had a 10 year career and a big payday at the end. Good for him. Too bad he was a better guard than a centre (and the Titans didn't recognize that) and too bad he got paid way more than his abilities would have merited. Another bad signing decision made by Mike Reinfeldt. Where is he now?
1 year, 9 months ago on Titans release C Eugene Amano
Another pick that is a bit of a head scratcher. The Titans have zero depth at DE, yet take a LB that mimics the skill set of another LB that is already on the roster. We will see what happens in the 4th round today, but I think you might be right, the Titans may end up using Ayers more with his hand in the dirt. Let's hope Okafor is still there at 107.
1 year, 11 months ago on Tennessee Titans select OLB Zaviar Gooden with third round compensatory pick
I don't really "get" this pick either. To trade up to take a guy like Hunter, just seems odd given all of the other needs this team has. I would have been a bit surprised had the Titans picked him at 40, but to trade up for him is a head scratcher. All of your points are valid. I would add another. The Titans are desperate to succeed this year. I hate the fact that the Titans are trading next year's draft picks to try to shore up this year's team. If this season is a train wreck, the new regime that will be installed will have fewer options to make the team better next year. I guess every wide receiver on the Titans roster - with the exception of Wright - should be concerned at this point about their roster spot. At most, I would think only 4 of Kenny Britt, Nate Washington, Damian Williams, Kevin Walter, Lavelle Hawkins, Marc Mariani and Michael Preston make the final roster.
1 year, 11 months ago on Tennessee Titans select WR Justin Hunter in second round
Not bad. Hayden scares me because of the massive injury. I like the Swenke and Montgomery picks. But I like Norris' third pick (Kelce) more. I know you disagree, but I just can't believe that in this era of the NFL, the Titans would rely on the short, slow and stone-handed Walker to be the starting TE. I am hoping they take a pass-catching TE somewhere in the first three rounds (even though they didn't have any of them in for a visit).
1 year, 11 months ago on My seven-round Titans mock
@ThomasGower Thanks Tom. It isn't a lot of guaranteed money. I still think it is a bit strange that they have gone out and signed three O-linemen and have kept a guy on the roster (Amano) that, at one point in the past, Munchak must have been really liked. It could be that all of the injuries this past season really spooked Webster and Munchak and they want to be sure they have adequate depth along the O-line this coming season. Or it might even be a bit of a smokescreen to make other teams think that the Titans are no longer interested in drafting an interior lineman at 10. I appreciate the insight you provide in this blog Tom. I always look forward to reading your posts.
1 year, 11 months ago on Parsing the Titans' comments on the guards
I agree. There is little doubt that the Titans will draft a guard. The question is when and whether they will use a first or second round pick on a guard. With that in mind Tom, I have a couple of questions for you. First, did the Titans give Spencer or Turner a bonus or guarantee any of their salaries? And second, in the case of Amano, is any part of his salary guaranteed for this year, did he get some sort of a roster bonus this past March (or later) and what's the salary cap hit if they release him? I know that is more than a couple of questions, but I think the answers will help determine at what point in the draft the Titans select a guard.
Not sure what to make of the Spencer signing. And Amano is still on the roster. Could this be another indication that the Titans will steer clear of OG with its first pick?
1 year, 11 months ago on Titans add Kevin Walter, Chris Spencer
I think CB is a position the Titans will covet in the draft. I thought they would have filled the open CB position by now with a veteran who could either play the slot or take over Verner's spot outside and move him into the middle. The failure to do that suggests that a CB could even be taken early by the Titans. If Dee Milliner is still on the board at #10, I suspect the Titans would find it hard to pass on him. If he is not, I think they will at least use one of their first four picks on a CB.
1 year, 12 months ago on Assessing the Titans' roster after two weeks of free agency: Defense
It would not surprise me if the Titans picked a Tight End on one of the first two days of the draft. I don't see a pass catching TE on the roster and Delaney Walker (averaging 20 catches a year over the past two seasons) certainly isn't a replacement for Cook. And there is no evidence that Thompson can be that guy either. I can't believe that the Titans will go into next season without a better pass catching option at TE in this make-or-beak-year. The tenth pick is likely too early to go TE, but Eifert or Ertz might still be available at number 40.
As for the O-line, I am getting concerned that the Titans have finished adding pieces to it that could have an immediate impact. Amano is still on the roster, and Munchak might still believe that he is worth the value of his contract. While I still think they will draft an OG, I am starting to doubt that OG will be their first round selection, and they may end up waiting to get one until Day 3.
2 years ago on Assessing the Titans' roster after two weeks of free agency: Offense
This was certainly a weak spot this past season. It can't get any worse in 2013. I agree Wilson is an upgrade and Griffin is better at free than strong. I don't know what you think Tom, but is it possible the Titans continue to look for an upgrade in free agency or is the draft the only option now because they will be focusing on fixing other holes in the roster over the next month? Any chance Vaccaro is the pick at #10?
2 years ago on 2013 Tennessee Titans offseason positional analysis: S