Tuesday
Oct162012

A Look Ahead

With the high from the Steelers win long faded away, I decided to realistically look ahead at the next 3 games schedule to see if this Titans team can continue down this path to becoming a playoff hopeful. This road won't be easy. Jake Locker is still out for at least one more game. Chris Johnson has not proven that he can be a consistent threat to run yet. Kenny Britt is mentally struggling to keep focused on the field. The offensive line has issues with repeated mental mistakes that lead to sacks, runs for losses, and penalties. The lack of true leadership on this team (including the coaching staff) is shocking at best. Finally (sort of), is the defense that has a scheme they either can't understand, don't have the personnel to implement, or just don't believe in. 

October 21st

@ The Bills come in with a 3-3 records, but with victories over the Browns and Chiefs it is not a very strong 3-3. However, they are coming off a huge victory over the Arizona Cardinals (who might be overrated too). This game comes at a time where the Titans have extra time to heal and put together a solid scheme. This is a winable game for the Titans even though the game is in Buffalo. For the sake of argument let's call this a win.

October 28th

vs. The Colts are hot and cold, but one thing we can all agree upon is that Andrew Luck is the real deal. This game will be a good pushing off point in the AFC South for who can make an attempted run at the Texans. The Colts defense has improved, and this should be a very good matchup to see if the Titans coaching staff has a clue on how to motivate the team. Again, for the sake of argument let's call this a win.

November 4th

vs.  The Bears are an enigma. I have trouble figuring out which team will show up in their games. Cutler is very good when he is on, but has a tendency to go flaky at some point in the season. We can hope that this game will be one of them. The Titans traditionally play very well against the NFC. However, I think this game will be a struggle for this current Titans team. For the sake of argument let's call this a loss.

If these items hold true, the Titans will be 4-5. That isn't as bad as it sounds. With 7 games remaining in the schedule, this record is still a good platform to make a run at the playoffs. Although to make this run, the Titans coaching staff must have worked out the running game struggles and get Jake Locker back on the field playing with confidence. On defense, they must have a better plan. "Bend-don't-break" doesn't work. It's like playing the Prevent Defense on every down.

Finally, this season is not over by a longshot, but that light you see at the end of the tunnel could very well be an oncoming train.

Sunday
Oct072012

Something Must Be Done NOW, and Yes Firing Someone Is An Option

A little over an hour ago I watched the Titans be absolutely destroyed by an up-and-coming Vikings team. The score was an overwhelming 30 - 7, but that wasn't the worst part.

Let's look at some of the numbers on Offense:

Passing

Hasselbeck: 26/43 200 yds 1 TD 1 INT 

Smith 3/5 34 yds

TOTAL: 234 yds 1 TD 1 INT

Rushing

C. Johnson 15 att 24 yds 1 fumble

Babineaux 1 att 10 yds

Hasselbeck 2 att 10 yds

Reynaud 1 att 8 yds

TOTAL: 18 att 44 yds 1 fumble

Receiving

Wright 9 rec 66 yds

Cook 5 rec 37 yds 1 TD

Washington 3 rec 29 yds

Britt 2 rec 23 yds

Others 10 rec 79 yds

TOTAL: 29 rec 234 yds 1 TD

Many of these passing numbers were when the Titans were horribly behind, but even then the offense was at best ineffective, at worst inept. There were inopportune penalties, crushing turnovers, and the overall inability to show any sort of consistency. The offensive line is one of the worst parts of this team. Too many times there are multiple defensive players in the backfield. Too many times the offensive line had mental mistakes. WHY? We have 2 Hall of Fame coaches that got there by being top offensive lineman, but our line is disjointed and undisciplined. The only shining light right now is the rookie, Kendall Wright. He plays with passion on a team that is full of the passion-less.

The play-calling has no imagination and is completely predictable. The blame has to lie with 2 people, Offensive Coordinator Chris Palmer and Head Coach Mike Munchak. Although I am a huge fan of Muchack, he is the head coach and has the final word on the direction of the team. On the other hand, I do believe that OC Palmer is a major reason this offense is 25th in the league in scoring points. This isn't a case of not having the proper personnel. Let me repeat that so I am clear... THIS ISN'T A CASE OF NOT HAVING THE PROPER Personnel! I am of the strong opinion that Chris Palmer and Mike Munchak are on shaky ground.

All that being said, this isn't the worst part of the team. Defensive Coordinator Jerry Gray has taken quality players and designed a scheme that has given up the most points in the league, 181 points. That is a whopping 36.2 points per game. Granted, 14 points in the Houston game were scored on interception returns. However, this is completely unacceptable if this team has a whisper of a chance at salvaging this season. The defense has been completely out of position, lost all semblance of fundamentals, and cannot get off the field on 3rd down. Players like one-time Pro Bowler Michael Griffin have made so many mental mistakes at crucial parts of the game, that they look like they are stealing their paycheck. Our defensive backs have been torched for 285 yards and 2 TDs per game. The league is talking about something we've known for several seasons now. Our defense cannot stop a TE. We are consistently torched by TE's with only above average talent. Our defense has been completely misused and the fault, once again, lies with the coordinator and the head coach.

Finally, to get this team back on track, we need drastic, hard decisions to be made. One or both of our coordinators need to be shown the door. Other position coaches should possibly follow. Offensive line coach Bruce Matthews, and secondary coach Brett Maxie both should consider bringing boxes into their offices so they can pack quickly. Also, Head Coach Mike Munchak is on very uneasy ground. I believe the only thing saving the jobs or Munchak and Matthews is their history with the team.

 


 

Friday
Apr132012

...on my mind...

I have neglected this for far too long. I promise to make extra efforts to put something on here every day. So without further delay...
 
My Titans thought of the day...
 
With the Titans failure to sway Peyton Manning and failure to land any of the big defensive line free agents, the Titans have had a less than impressive off-season. It almost seems that this team (and city for that matter) are not a desireable location for current players. However, the players (and coaches) that have been on the Titans have made middle Tennessee their home even after leaving the organization. I hope that this is only a misperception on my part, but I can't shake the feeling.
 
That being said, we have signed many other players (specifically defensive line help), but I won't go into their detail here (you'll have to listen to the podcast for that - Episode 210). Since most of the big names have been signed and the rumored trade with the Eagles for Asante Samuel has yet to come to pass, I must focus my energy on the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft. The Titans have needs in the following areas, DL, CB, S, OL, and WR (not in any particular order). In the upcoming days I will lay out some of the potential draft picks and why we should or should not draft them. If you have any preference or favorite college player you think will be a fit for the Titans, let me know.
Wednesday
Sep212011

Postgame: Titans vs. Ravens; Pregame: Titans vs. Broncos

Titans vs. Ravens

Let's look at some of the numbers for this game:

Titans

 - Matt Hasselbeck: 30 com - 42 att - 358 yds - 1 TD and 1 INT

 - Chris Johnson: 24 att - 53 yds

 - Kenny Britt: 9 rec - 135 yds - 1 TD

Ravens

 - Joe Flacco: 15 com - 32 att - 197 yds - 1 TD and 2 INT

 - Ray Rice: 13 att - 53 yds; 5 rec - 53 yds - 1 TD

The numbers obviously show that CJ is not 100% in the grove yet, but also show that Matt Hasselbeck has hit a nice stride by throwing the ball to Kenny Britt. Also, it shows that the offense is willing to go with what the defense is giving them. A huge complaint from the last few seasons is that the coaching staff had a plan and stuck with it no matter what. Now that the coaching staff has changed (and apparently more flexible), we can more quickly adjust to situational play.

Something that the numbers doesn't fully show is the defenses ability to shut down both running and receiving. Granted that the Ravens aren't the most prolific team in the passing game, but still it was nice to see the defense step up in this game. I have to give a big thumbs up to the move of Cortland Finnegan to nickelback on 3rd down passing situations. He is a beast across the middle of the field, and more than once dislodged or redirected the ball. Huge kudos also to Karl Klug. He was someone that I had serious doubts about, but he shows me that he is truly serious about excelling in the NFL.

As far as the rest of the game, I had some serious heart problems when I saw Bironas miss that first FGattempt. This was well within his range, and I felt like he still hadn't hit regular season form. However, he came back later to make up for his misstep. Also, the new kickoff rules has seriously inhibited the return game. SinceMariani is such a threat, no one is even allowing him the chance for a return.

Titans vs. Broncos

This game will be the real crucible for what we can expect out of the Titans this season. We will find out if the Jaguars game was an anomaly or the Ravens game. The Titans defense will get added pressure from the Broncos passing game. Last year Kyle Orton made the Titans defense look silly, but this year under new Defensive Coordinator Jerry Gray, the Titans are only allowing 172 yards a game (3rd in the NFL). The Broncos rushing game is not the quality of the Ravens, but with Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGehee they can certainly be a threat. The Titans rushing defense, although only 14th in the league against the run, was much improved over week 1, and have shown that they can shut down the best of what the league has to offer.

Look for the Broncos to challange the Titans with quick screen passes transitioning into the deep ball throughout the game.

Look for the Titans to try to get CJ on track against the Broncos 28th ranked run defense, but don't discount the Hasselbeck-to-Britt hookup.

Also, I know we have been calling for Jared Cook to have a breakout game, but he has yet to fully deliver. Withthe huge catch he had against the Ravens, I think Hasselbeck will show more confidence in his ability and will look to get him the ball more often.

Listen to the podcast for more...

Wednesday
Sep142011

Titans @ Jaguars Aftermath / Titans vs. Ravens - Do We Have a Chance

Jaguars 16 Titans 14 ...painful words to type, but not as painful as watching how the Titans performed in the game.

What I saw:

 - 4 straight special teams plays with penalties

 - CJ: 9 attempts for 24 yards

 - 7 drives that were 3 and out

 - defense gave up 1st down yardage on countless 3rd downs

 

Offense:

Positives

 

  1. Kenny Britt (5-136-2TDs) - Shows mid-season form. 2 TD receptions; 1 showing his speed and the other showing his hand strength and footwork
  2. Nate Washington (6-67) - He was the go-to guy when we needed a first down
  3. Matt Hasselbeck (21-34-263yds-2TDs) - He showed confidence in the pocket and when he didn't get help in the running game, he showed that he could keep us in the game.

 

Negatives

 

  1. The running game - CJ was more than just contained, he had nowhere to go. Many times there were Jaguars in every hole and every gap. The offensive line was surprisingly overmatched.
  2. Failure during the clutch - Matt Hasselbeck threw off his back foot, threw to the wrong place, and ignored that we only needed a FG.
  3. Damian Williams - If he keeps dropping passes, he will find himself on the fast track out of the NFL.

Defense:

Positives

 

  1. Akeem Ayers (7 total tackles) - He showed a real hunger for attacking the ball, and tracked down the runner from behind
  2. Barrett Ruud (14 total tackles) - He was able to deliver the tackles more than anyone else on the team.

 

Negatives

 

  1. 3rd down defense - How many times did we get the Jags in 3rd and long, but we allowed a third-rate QB to throw for the 1st down.
  2. Gerald McRath - too many missed tackles
  3. No true sense of sticking with a scheme

 

This was heartbreaking to watch, and until the Titans can fix at least one of the major issues, I don't see them winning a single game.

Titans vs. Ravens

The Ravens were supposed to have a tough game last week against the Steelers, but absolutely crushed them. The Titans were supposed to have a close game, but by many thought to have the edge. Other than the score, the Jags were completely control of this game. Unless this was a complete anomaly on both parts, this could go very wrong for the Titans.

Listen to the podcast for more...