Sunday, January 25, 2009

Time to Move On?

I hate giving up on a player. I always fear he'll blossom into a superstar somewhere else, leaving one kicking and screaming for being such an idiot! I am at this point with Vince Young. Word is that Jeff Fisher wants Kerry Collins back as his starting QB in '09. OK. Fine. Bring back Chris Simms as well since he fits the Collins mode and has started nearly as many games as Young. But then Young has to go. Don't let this drag out. Don't let him be a distraction. Don't keep wondering, "I wonder what VY could do?" Turn the page, package him up, get what you can get for him...The reality is, if Jeff Fisher and Mike Hiemerdinger really do want Kerry back as the starter next season, they've already turned the page on Vince.
Now back to my original concern. Who are the top QBs in the game today? Manning (both), Brady, Big Ben, Rivers, McNabb, Romo(?); all with there original team. Then the Young Guns, Flacco, Ryan, Cutler. The fact is, guys just don't get traded and work out somewhere else. A few have good years; Rich Gannon, Randall Cunningham. Some fall through the cracks; Brett Favre in Atlanta...but keep in mind he never played there. It's time to make a move....

Monday, January 12, 2009

Where to Now? One Man's Opinion...

As the Titans season ends with a thud, it's time to look at this group, by unit, and see what is next. This is just one man's opinion, but here goes:

Coaching Staff: There is a knee jerk reaction to say, “There goes Jeff Fisher again….not able to win the Big One”, but I have a real problem with this assessment. He did not fumble twice inside the 15 yard line. He didn’t hurt his ankle. He didn’t fall down or blow a coverage. What he did do was take a team that no one thought was a serious division contender and break Indy’s death grip on the AFC South. The staff is outstanding and will probably lose DC Jim Schwartz soon. LB Coach Dave McGinnis is a possible replacement there.Mike Heimerdinger got a ton out of an offense with one explosive player and a 36 year old re-tread QB….Mike Munchak (O-Line), Ernest Byner (Backs), Jim Washburn (D-line), Chuck Cecil (DBs) and Alan Lowery (Specs) are all very good. This staff is tremendous.
Grade: A

Quarterback: Huge question mark. Can Kerry Collins, 2676, 58.3%, 12/7, 80.2 rating, really do anything else? This may as good as it gets for him, and he can only slip from here. It’s time to see what VY can do with Dinger, CJ and a new weapon or two outside. It’s really the only option. Let Kerry test the market, and make him reasonable offer and a chance to compete for the job…if he goes…so be it…Don’t be afraid to see if there are any potential sleepers late in the draft.
Grade: B-

Running Back: Chris Johnson, 1228, 4.9, 9TD, 43 rec. 1 TD, is an elite player, but potentially injury prone. He had problems early in his career in college and we got a glimpse of that in the playoff game. It was also glaring how pedestrian LenDale White, 773, 3.9, 15 TD, 5 rec., is. Really just ordinary. Ahmard Hall, 13 rec. 2TD, is solid at FB. Will Rafael Little do anything? Does Chris Henry make the team? Ganthner?
Grade: B+ (but very top heavy)

Wide Receivers: Number 1 priority in the off season. Justin McCareins, 30/412, 0 TD, really brought nothing to the show. He’s a UFA and I’d let him go. Brandon Jones 41/449, 1 TD, is also a UFA. I wouldn’t hurt myself trying to keep him, but I’d make an offer. Justin Gage, 34/651 19.1, 6 TD, finished strong and has a role, but still not a number 1 guy. Lavelle Hawkins, 7/68, needs a look if his head is right and is ahead of Chris Davis and Paul Williams. TJ Houshmandzadeh (CIN) is the top UFA out there…Bryant Johnson (SF) or Antonio Bryant (TB) are worth a look. Draft may have 4 first round WR. Crabtree, Maclin, Harvin, Hicks all ready to jump right in…may need to move up from 28 to get any of them…
Grade: C-

Tight End: Bo Scaife, 58/561 and 1 TD, should be a priority signing. Along with Owen Daniels (HOU) and LJ Smith (PHI), one of the top 3 UFA TE’s. Alge Crumpler did not produce any where near expected with 24 rec. and 1 TD.
Grade: B

O-Line: One of the real strengths of the team, all the way across the front. Young, under contract and the one grizzled vet, Kevin Mawae, is an All-Pro. Roos and Stewart also All-Pro, Jake Scott is very solid and Eugene Amano is a comer. And Leroy Harris is tremendous depth and ready to step in for Mawae when the time comes, or compete with Amano. Group only allowed
12 sacks.
Grade: A+

D-Line: Got to get the Big Fella resigned…heart and soul of this very good group. Haynesworth had 75 tackles and led the team with 8.5 sacks. KVB had 4.5 sacks, but was dinged most of the year and at 5.6 mil, he needs to be in there. Young ends Jacob Ford, 7 sacks, and Dave Ball, 4.5 sacks are ready, and William Hayes shows promise. Tony Brown led the way with tackles for loss w/ 10 and QB hurries w/ 24 and is a horse. Jason Jones is a star in the making w/ 5 sacks and that huge game against Pittsburgh. Jevon Kearse’s return was mixed, with 3.5 sacks and some good pressure at times, but really, from an overall production standpoint, he was outplayed by Ball and Ford. And Kearse made 2.6 mil while Ball and Ford made $900,000 combined.
Grade: A

Linebackers: Another area of strength, with very good players under contract. Keith Bullock led the team with 120 tackles and has earned his 7 mil cap number. David Thornton (93) continues his steady play and is a team leader, and quality guy and in the 4 mil. range. Steven Tulloch (98) is a tackling machine and a huge value at under 600k. Ryan Fowler (27) is excellent depth, and a very good special teamer, but may be vulnerable at 2.5 mil. Only 14 solos, low % for a backer. The young guys all made nice special team contributions. All of these guys are under contract as well…
Grade: B+

Safetys: Chris Hope had an amazing year making the Pro-Bowl and being 3rd on the team with 93 tackles and adding 4 interceptions. He has earned his 4 mil. and is valuable to the room as well. Michael Griffin led the team with 7 ints. and was a first alternate for the Pro Bowl. Continues to improve and should be a mainstay for years. Had a few beats and missed tackles, but those will disappear with experience. Donnie Nicky is a solid special teamer and Vincent Fuller, though listed with this group, is the nickel. Fuller also excels on special teams and had 43 tackles, 35 solos.
Grade: A

Corners: Courtland Finnegan is a bonafide star and led the team with 20 PD and chipped in 5 int., while making 79 tackles. Nick Harper had 80 tackles and 17 PD and is very solid, but was picked on at times. Eric King seemed to be emerging until getting injured, and it remains to be seen how far he can go. Chris Carr was fine when called upon, but it more valuable as a returner. Depth may be an issue here, but everyone is under contract except for Rey Hill did not contribute this season.
Grade: B

Special Teams: Rob Bironas and Craig Hentrich are both UFA. Bironas should be more of a priority as Hentich is in the late stages of a great career. Bironas missed 4 FG this year, all 40-49 and had a 51 yarder. The miss in the playoffs was tough, but he has that kick more times than not. Hentrich averaged 42.8 with a 36.5 net. He had 27 kick inside the 20, w/ 13 touchbacks…a few more than you like. The return game was excellent with Chris Carr. Carr averaged 28.1 on KO Ret. Including a 55 yarder and 10.1 on Punt returns w/ a 44 long. No TD, but it seemed close at any time. Fearless returner.
Grade: B+

When looking at these grades, keep in mind, this team had the best record in the NFL. They are not a dumpster fire. The offense has questions, the defense is one of the best in the league with one HUGE free agent.