Editor’s Note: We’re very lucky here at Black&Teal to be part of Fansided, a wide-reaching network of blogs for every NFL team (as well as a huge selection of NBA, NHL, MLB, and other blogs as well). We’d be dumb not to take advantage of these resources, so welcome to our new feature: Enemy Intel. Each week, we’ll be checking in with the staff from the Fansided blog representing the Jaguars’ opponent for that the week.
This week, we’ll be talking with Brandon Clark, former Black&Teal writer and now editor/lead blogger for TitanSized, Fansided’s Titans Blog (the blogging equivalent of Nick Saban coaching Alabama). A huge thanks to Brandon for taking the time to update us on what’s going on in Tennessee as we head into the regular season.
BLACK&TEAL: All of a sudden, the Jaguars and Titans are in very similar situations. The incumbent quarterbacks are gone and we’re left with game managers and a rookie in the wings. First thing’s first: How does Matt Hasselbeck make the Titans a better (or worse) team in 2011 than they were in 2010?
TITANSIZED: I think that Hasselbeck makes them better than they have been at the position in recent years. Hasselbeck’s play throughout the pre-season showed he can lead the offense, despite only being in the system for a month. He went 21/35 while still working on timing issues. I can easily see him being a strong point for the team, surprisingly enough.
B&T: Is Jake Locker capable of overtaking Hasselbeck without an injury or the Titans being out of contention? Has he looked more like 2009 Jake Locker or 2010 Jake Locker thus far?
TS: I’ll admit I started the season as a doubter. You saw my rookie QB rankings going into the draft, Locker was somewhere around 4. I just felt he needed a year to get the ‘David-Carr’ out of him after playing behind Washington’s awful offensive line. However, Locker has shown flashes of greatness amidst consistency. We’re not talking about a guy who looks good then looks bad. We’re talking about a consistently productive guy that shows every few plays that he can be special. There’s greatness in his future, for sure.
B&T: What effect did the Chris Johnson lockout have on the team? Will he be 100% on opening day? What kind of season are you predicting for CJ2K?
TS: It seemed to have a final effect of explaining to young guys that the NFL is, first and foremost, a business. I think some were confused at first, but everyone is resting easy, especially Johnson.
I hope I never predict 2,000 yards for any RB. That’s too steep an order, but Johnson once again predicted he’ll get 2,000. When pressured about it, he maintained that was his goal. The good news is that he mentioned playoffs as his first goal. All reports indicate that he has gotten up to speed on the new offense and that he remained in great shape. How that translates to pads is anyone’s guess.
B&T: Mike Munchak was quite the dark horse to replace the long-tenured Jeff Fisher in Tennessee. How has he been received by the team and local media thus far?
TS: He’s loved, but aren’t all new head coaches until they lose? (Great answer, Brandon. -AH)
B&T: Predictions Time – How do you think the AFC South breaks down by years end? What do you think the Titans regular season record will be? What do you think the score of this game will be?
TS: This game -17-13 Jaguars. I just don’t see Johnson carrying nuances of the running game into the first week, add that to MJD dropping 15 lbs to be more explosive and new Titans MLB Barrett Ruud being the opposite of new Jaguars MLB Paul Posluzny in that he can’t stop the run. I just don’t think it bodes well for Titans fans.
Titans on the season -I’m expecting 8 wins, roughly. The season now seems to depend on whether or not Manning has this mysterious third neck surgery. I wish the man the best, but everyone who’s not a Colts fan would love to know what the division looks like without Manning…… as well as laugh at the Colts run game.
With Manning for 12 games
I don’t mind McCown, and I think he can do well. I just think Garrard really was the best option for 2011. Without Manning for at least 8 games then the division is up for grabs, officially. The Texans once again play the media darling and fail….that’s my prediction.