Tuesday
Jan132015

My Thoughts on 2015 Free Agency - Running Backs

Let me start by saying that this position, more than any other, has more questions about the direction. The running game never got started this season, and most of this can be linked to both the offensive line and the fact that this team was playing from behind so much they couldn't afford to run the ball.

What We've Got

When Shonn Greene came over for the 2013 season, there was some hope that the Titans days of "Thunder and Lightening" was back (with Chris Johnson at the time), but Greene has never materialized as either a great supplement to CJ2K (rushing for on 295 yards in 2013) or as the season opening starter (392 yards in 2014). He was never a short yardage threat, and has been a general disappointment.

Bishop Sankey was supposed to be a promising 2nd round pick, but from the little we were able to see from him, he seemed to be over matched by the faster, more powerful linebackers of the NFL. He was only able to amass 569 yards on 152 attempts with a measly 2 touchdowns. He might still have a place on this team, but with his current body of work I can only speculate that his role with be supplemental at best.

Dexter McCluster came in this season with fans (and coaches) salivating as how to use his many talents. However, for some unknown reason, his role was limited. He only got 131 yards rushing and 197 yards receiving. That is even less than pedestrian numbers. The Titans coaching staff were not able to get a game plan that included McCluster in the way the fans or, dare say, Dexter himself would have liked. He will be another option in the 2015 season. Let's just hope the coaches can find something for him to do.

Leon Washington is a free agent, and I don't believe will be a part of this team for 2015. His underwhelming performance in special teams, and being just another warm body in a mediocre backfield has sealed his fate.

Antonio Andrews is someone that the fans and media were excited to see if he had anything to show. He went to a local university (Western Kentucky University, a little more than an hour north of Nashville), but we never saw what he could do.

Potential Free Agent Acquisitions

Demarco Murray and Justin Forsett are free agents, but will either be re-signed by their team or have the franchise tag applied. Forsett is especially critical for the Ravens with the untimely departure of Ray Rice.

Mark Ingram is an intriguing possibility. There was high hopes when he left college, but he has never attained a 1,000 yard season. Unfortunately, his career has been marred with injuries, and unless he is medically sound he should not be a option.

Stevan Ridley is another injury victim that might be an option. Although he has posted a 1,000 yard season in 2012, his injuries could preclude the Titans from taking a chance on him.

Conclusion

There is not much out there that will excite the fan base. So, this will be yet another season where the Titans will search through the depths of the draft for a hopeful.

Todd Gurley (Georgia) and Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin) are primary targets for the 1st round. Since the Titans have more pressing needs, they will most likely be gone when the Titans are ready to pick a RB. I predict the Titans won't be ready to draft a RB until the 3rd round at the earliest. Also, the role of the RB has been greatly reduced with the new NFL rules that grant extra protection to the QB and WR. 

We can only hope that Bishop Sankey has more to offer than his first season.

Monday
Jan052015

My Thoughts on 2015 Free Agency - Quarterbacks

QB

Overview

With the impending departure of Jake Locker, the uncertain future of Charlie Whitehurst, and the not fully tested potential of Zach Mettenberger, there is a real need to ensure this position (above all) has the right personnel for both the short term and long term. I truly believe that if Jake Locker were to remain healthy and have a consistent offense to work within, he could be an asset to any team. The Titans have been patient, and can no longer take a chance he can possibly make it through a season.

Charlie Whitehurst is another story. He is efficient, but doesn't take enough chances. He has a passable arm, but doesn't seem to trust his receivers to make the play. When it comes down to it, I'm not sure the Titans should retain him as the backup on the depth chart, and I don't believe he will stay around for anything less. 

I don't believe Jordan Palmer is even remotely on the radar for the Titans, so I won't even comment on his potential here.

Here are some potential fills for the roster at QB:

 

  1. Matt Hasselbeck - He's currently 39 years old, and just might choose this opportunity to retire in the offseason. Then again, he just might get a new 1-year deal with the Colts. I believe this would take him to the end of his career either way. I would love to re-sign him as the backup, but I don't believe he will be available or willing to deal with the Titans due to his history with the team.
  2. Brian Hoyer - He showed something this season and beat out "Johnny Football" as the 2014 season began. As a starter he went 7-6, 242 comp 438 att 3,326 yds 12 TDs 13 INTs. Not great numbers, but with his 6 season in the NFL he might be a capable backup to Mettenberger.
  3. Many other QBs are out there, but I just don't see them as a good fit or they will not be available when free agency opens. Michael Vick, Mark Sanchez, and Kyle Orton are retreads that just don't fit into the team, and Colt McCoy won't be available.

 

I firmly believe that Zach Mettenberger is the future of this team, but believe that we are better served with a different back-up. In addition, with the number 2 pick in the draft, I think it needs to be used to trade for more picks. So, most likely both Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston will be gone after a trade out of the #2 spot. Picking up someone like Brett Hundley (UCLA) or Dak Prescott (Mississippi State) in the later rounds might be the better option.

Finally, the QB market is just full of the "has been" and "never was". Even with the fact that Wisenhunt has been portrayed as the QB guru, virtually all of these QBs should be left to another team. Now is the time to build this team through youth. 

 

Monday
Sep082014

Next Day Thoughts: Titans 26 Chiefs 10

With great anticipation and nervousness I prepared myself for the opening of the 2014 season on Sunday. So many questions would have answers becoming clearer.



  • Would Jake Locker step up into the player we think he can be?

  • Would this defense look like the one that couldn't stop an opening drive in the preseason, or would they finally show us Ray Horton's plan realized?

  • Who would step up in the running game?

  • Would Ryan Succop show us he is better than both Bonani and Coons?

  • and so on...


After the game on Sunday we can only hope this wasn't as illusion.

Jake Locker was more than efficient (22/33 266 yds 2 TD; 6 car 14 yds). He did a nice job of finding the open receiver on 3rd down. He was also smart in the times he chose to take off and run. Locker still needs to work on his accuracy a little. In the first half he was throwing the ball too high and in the second half he tended to throw it too low. That being said, in both cases he threw it where his receivers could get to the ball.

"Runningback by Committee" seem to really work for the Titans. Shonn Greene led the way with 15 carries for 71 yards. Whether it was Dexter McCluster, Bishop Sankey, or Greene, the result tended to be the same... positive yards, in chunks.

On offense, what impressed me most is how we were able to sustain drives at key points in the game. Although, our 3rd down percentage was only 43% (7/16), we got it when we needed it. I will say that we need to convert some of those field goals into touchdowns. If this game would have been closer, that could have been a serious issue.

On defense, I can't believe that I'm saying this, but it didn't feel like the team was out of position. We got fantastic play from our defensive backs, especially Jason McCourty (2 INTs) and outstanding play from bubble players like Derrick Morgan. Shutting down Jamal Charles and making the Chiefs regret giving that big contract to Alex Smith were just 2 of the good things that made me happy on the day. However, the biggest thing to me was getting the Chiefs off the field on 3rd down. The Chiefs were only 8% (1/12).

The special teams came up huge too (with one exception and even that was saved). Ryan Succop came up huge with kicks of 36, 31, 46, and 47. I bet he was laughing the entire time. Brett Kern came up huge in the right moments, pinning the Chiefs deep on the 2 yard line at one time. Quite possibly the biggest play of the game came when Leon Washington fumbled kickoff and Coty Sensabaugh was able to jump on it to keep the ball in our hands.

Next up, can the Titans make us believers by beating the Cowboys.

Thursday
Sep042014

2014 Season Thoughts

It's funny when you look at all the NFL pundits and how they review the upcoming season (for any year). Every single one of them for the most seasoned ESPN/NFL Network/ to the smallest of podcaster () have a varying degree of guesswork on how various teams and players will perform when it comes to game time. I realize that most of the time my speculation is not nearly as accurate as someone like a Peter King or Adam Schefter, but with the information I have available to me, my speculation (guesses) can get closer and closer.

That being said, here are my "lesser expert" predictions:

Players

Jake Locker will begin to turn heads with his play, and will quickly lead the Titans offense into one of the top scoring ones in the league. I believe by week 3 he will be talked about on a regular basis on several sports networks. However, by week 12 the Titans will be on the edge of missing the playoffs, and they will start to say he can't lead the team into the playoffs (much less the Super Bowl).

Shonn Greene will be replaced by Bishop Sankey by the bye week. However, neither Greene nor Sankey will get a 1,000 yards this season. However, the Titans' running backs will show flashes of great things in the passing game with both Dexter McCluster and Biship Sankey catching 50 balls each by the end of the season.

Justin Hunter will have his breakout year and catch 18 TDs on 75 catches.

Kendall Wright will continue his steady improvement, and be a primary target for Locker on 3rd down.

The defense will start off the season struggling against both the pass and the run, but by midseason the run defense will be corrected. However, the Titans will continue to struggle in the passing game. Wreh-Wilson will lose his starting role, and a miriad of players will be used to fill in. However, Wreh-Wilson will regain the role by the end of the season only because the Titans don't have a suitable replacement.

Michael Griffin will rejuvinate his career and have at least 8 interceptions on the year.

Team

The Titans will struggle to fill the seats in the first half of the season, but by the end there will be new hope in the fanbase and the sellout streak will continue.

The team will make the playoffs in the last spot, but be eliminated in the first round.

The Titans will see some of the worst home weather in team history, with several games having snow.

The team will begin preliminary discussions about a new stadium.

 

 

Friday
Aug152014

Preseason: Titans @ Saints - 1st Series Thoughts

1st Series Defense

Saints win the toss and Bonani kicks it into the back of the end zone.

Michael Griffin made a nice break on the ball and almost had a nice interception. However, if McCown had thrown that ball ahead of the receiver it would have been six.

Coty Sensabaugh was beaten on a 3rd down play where there was an all out blitz.

Nobody has an answer for Jimmy Graham.

Missed tackles are plaguing the Titans 1st team defense.

Saints score a TD when the Titans defense cannot put enough pressure on the QB.

No one on the 1st team defense seems to be afraid for their job.

1st Series Offense

Mariani makes a nice return to the 38.

Shonn Green had a punishing run.

The Saints defense seems to know how to play the 3-4 and the Titans didn't.

Offense looks sharp.

McCluster had a nice catch

Denard Walker fumbled the ball/incomplete pass. I don't like what I seeing from Walker lately. He hands are a real question.

 Saints penalties help the Titans.

Another BEAUTIFUL catch by Justin Hunter in the corner of the end zone. TD Titans.