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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.
2 weeks 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.
2 weeks, 6 days 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.
3 weeks, 3 days 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 month 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 month, 3 weeks 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.
2 months, 1 week 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.
2 months, 2 weeks 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.
3 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.
3 months, 1 week 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.
4 months, 2 weeks 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.
5 months, 4 weeks 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?
5 months, 4 weeks 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.
7 months, 1 week 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.
7 months, 1 week 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).
7 months, 2 weeks 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.
8 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?
8 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.
8 months, 1 week ago on Assessing the Titans' roster after two weeks of free agency: Defense