Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Enigma that is the Tennessee Titans

Remember the days when Randy Moss was renowned for his big play ability? Or how about the time when Chris Johnson was a man among boys running between, outside, or over the tackles with ease? Or perhaps the days when the Tennessee Titans were known as a "juggernaut" defense shutting opponents down?
Those days are long gone as evidenced by the recent 6 game skid by the Tennessee Terribles. Nothing they do looks good anymore. They can't run, they can't pass, they can't play defense, and they can't win.

Wide receiver Randy Moss #84 of the
 Tennessee Titans is separated from the ball by
Chris Clemons #30 of the Miami Dolphins
The acquisition of Randy Moss was SUPPOSED to free up space for Chris Johnson to run wild, however, that has not happened. Instead, Moss has put up some of the worst numbers of his career and the Titans have fallen apart. Take this into consideration; since the Titans claimed him November 3rd, Moss has had weeks of 1, 0, 3, 1, 0 in terms of catches. Moss' last game against the Indianapolis Colts demonstrated the ineptness of the Titans playcalling by watching Moss go without a target for only the second time in his career. I refuse to believe that after a year in which Moss had 1264 yards and 13 touchdowns on 83 receptions, he has since fallen into the realm of irrelevance with 375 yards on 27 receptions and 5 touchdowns. Granted, the issues that the Titans have had at quarterback have not helped Moss's case, but not all of this blame can be laid upon the psychologically brittle Vince Young. The point here is that the Titan's play callers MUST find a way to get the ball into Moss's hands if they want any chance of becoming relevant.
Johnson just can't "get away this" year.

Another member of the Titans who has a big mouth but has yet to follow up on all his talk is Chris Johnson. The NFL's leading rusher from a year ago with 2006 yards and 16 total touchdowns is simply "underperforming", if one can even call it that. Johnson ranks 3rd in the NFL in rushing yards and 5th in the NFL in rushing touchdowns. The biggest problem Johnson has faced is that opposing defenses are stacking the box against him resulting in 1.2 ypc less than he had in 2009. To put that number into perspective, had Johnson maintained the same average ypc that he had last year (and the talent is definitely still there), he would have 1445 yards rushing instead of the 1137 he currently has, and would rank 1st in the NFL in that category. Johnson has also taken a hit in the receptions category due to opposing defenses focusing solely on him. While his receptions should be close to his 2009 total of 50 (he currently has 37 with 3 games left to go), his yards have fallen off from 503 to 187. Most of these problems are again linked with the Titan's play calling and the lack of Vince Young's presence on the field (Kerry Collins is well...Kerry Collins).

It has been an embarrassing season for
Vince Young and the Tennessee Terribles.
That brings us to perhaps the most important and interesting piece of the Titans, Vince Young. Young has had one of the most interesting seasons that I can remember. After being injured earlier in the year by the Jacksonville Jaguars and sitting out the next game, Young had a temper tantrum after the Washington game and threw his shoulder pads into the stands. He then decided the best way to handle that charade was to text Jeff Fisher an apology. Needless to say Jeff Fisher was not impressed. Young also injured his thumb during that game and is now on injured reserve and out for the year, but we haven't even talked about any stats yet! Some might say that Vince Young is imperative to the Titans success and while that may seem true, that is not necessarily the case. Young was 5-5 as the titans starter this year, all other quarterbacks are 0-3. However, Kenny Britt had his best game (7 catches for 225 yards and 3 touchdowns), Chris Johnson averaged 5.2 ypc with Collins under center, and Jeff Fisher has had many more nights of uninterrupted sleep without Young. Young may be the answer for the Titans in the short-term, simply because he has a massive contract and he gives the Titans the best chance to win in my opinion, but he's also been a cancer for the team and Jeff Fisher over the last few years and I believe it's time that the Titans look for a replacement...Andrew Luck anyone?

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