Why the Tennessee Titans are in trouble
By Zoltan Paksa
To be honest with you I have great respect and a touch of apprehension about the Texans and the Colts for the ’10 season. Indy has Manning and Houston has a promising team on its way up. I agree with Terry; these 2 teams are the frontrunners for the divisional title. But what about the 3rd team; the Titans? Everyone predicts and says the Jaguars will most likely will be 4th in the division; and have no chance to catch anyone. I disagree, in my opinion, the Jaguars are no worse than 3rd. Tennessee Titans are in a rebuilding phase and may need for to the franchise. Strong words I know. Let me back my words about why I think the Titans may be the last place team in the AFC South for 2010.
I think the main problems for the Titans are personal issues and personnal baggage stories. Last year they almost collapsed after that bloodbath in Foxborough on Week 6 (0-59); which was the 6th consecutive loss of the season. Owner Bud Adams ordered Jeff Fisher to change out Kerry Collins for Vince Young – which was reportedly against Fisher’s will. So the fact that Vince Young is the worst winningest QB in the league and goes 8-2 record in the last 10 games makes Jeff Fisher look silly. Jeff Fisher knows Vince Young can’t handle pressure as evicenced by a big egg he laid against the Chargers in Week 16 on the LP Field (8-21 for just 89 yards with 2 picks- the good old Vince Young showed up for that critical game). But at least everyone thought Vince Young has matured. Then he had a “misdemeanor assault citation” at a Dallas strip club; which may result some game suspensions from commissioner Roger Goodell before the season starts. It raises the question; is he still that moody guy he was when Fisher benched him in ’08? Is he matured enough during the years? He is not someone I would trust to lead a team to a championship.
Then if that alone not would be enough problem; Chris Johnson; who finished with over 2000 yards last year; hit the drum; about how much he wants to get paid. Well maybe he should get his –I’m sure “King’s ransom” kind of money- and he will get it; but he raised that issue when the LP Field and most of Nashville was under water because of the flooding. And we saw the picture (for those who have not seen it http://slanchreport.com/2010-articles/march/chris-johnson-has-terrible-taste-in-cars.html) about the stupid things CJ spends his money right now (And people are shocked why 70% of NFL players are going to bankrupt after 2 years of retirement…by the way poor Mark Brunell was the latest victim of that process; and he isn’t even retired yet. We wish you all the best from here Mark!) . So I don’t exactly understand why he want to get paid now. And I’m telling you Chris- RBs who reach the 2000 yards mark most likely will finish the next season with less productive statistics. You want to get paid now; and then record a 1300 yard season (Which is great for any back except…you) you will look foolish/greedy. Maurice Drew asked for the big check but he performed in the level of a freshly well-paid RB in ’09. But it is your call; to break the bank after 2 years in the NFL. Frankly, Vince Young and Chris Johnson are not very trustworthy.
Other than these 2 guys; there was an arrest of this year’s 1st round pick; DE Derrick Morgan. Well it was speeding- so not a big deal; in fact; the Titans now can have him cheaper then they could get him without any problems with the law; but let’s say it- it was not a good start. Plus I think Derrick Morgan needs to prove himself after a very poor showing in his last college game against Iowa (You know; where he was non-factor in all game long… Except when he chased Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi to another 1st down…). Derrek Morgan has bust potential all over him, in ability and attitude. I think DE position with the departure of veterans Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse; might be a weak point for the Titans in 2010. I know they got William Hayes; Jacob Ford or Justin Babin; but that is not as big threat for offensive lines as for example KVB and co was in the last couple of years. No pass rush, no reason to fear the Titans. As Jaguar fans we know.
I think other parts of the defense might be a problem for Tennessee. Keith Bullock is gone; so let’s see what the Titans have now at the linebackers. Steven Tulloch is a great MLB; but he gets most likely 2 new starters next to him. I have no problem with former Eagle Will Witherspoon as a weak side LB; but who will play on the strong side? 2nd year LB Gerald McRath is suspended for the first 4 games because of violating the league’s performance enhancing drug policy (more off the filed troubles….). 3rd pick Rennie Curran must step up as a starter there until McRath can’t return; which is a pretty big challenge. That is another area; where the Titans will be targeted in ’10 by other teams. More attirude problems and more performance holes.
I think the main problem for this team is not lacking of talent but the issues the playmakers creating around themselves. I think the Titans locker room is not one any coach or owner or a fan can wish for its team. I am not expecting another 0-6 meltdown this year; but if the season turns to be a not so good one; (I mean finishing less than .500) it will produce a major rebuilding like the Jaguars had to do. I even think Jeff Fisher can leave or will be asked to leave the Titans if things don’t go well in 2010. This year is a make or break for Vince Young too. Titans must see and decide; if he is the franchise QB or not for Tennessee. I think Jeff Fisher thought last year; that he is not…
When I look at the Titans, I see a mess! I see more question marks then the Texans and the Colts. I will go even further; maybe because of the different issues of the key players (I think about Chris Johnson and Vince Young particular); I see maybe more uncertainty then the Jaguars have right now. Maybe of course I’m wrong about that. But all the respect I have for the Titans; when it comes to chances how the race for AFC South will end; I’m really not convinced why their chances are better for that 3rd spot then the Jaguars. The Tennessee Titans are in for a real bad year and possibly many more to come.