The Tennessee Titans are now heading into game five of the 2009 season, and so far it hasn’t been pretty. The defending AFC South champions are 0-4, a stark contrast in comparison to last season’s 10-0 start. As far as players go, only one notable starter was lost during the offseason when All-Pro DT Albert Haynesworth signed with the Washington Redskins during free agency. The rest of the Titans D-line has stayed in tact, along with the O-line, which upgraded when former Indianapolis Colts G Jake Scott was added to the roster. The Titans secondary also remained rooted, bringing back three pro bowl players in CB Cortland Finnegan, S Michael Griffin, and S Chris Hope. They also added a couple of impressive rookies to the roster with CB’s Jason McCourty and Ryan Mouton.
So, just what is with the obnoxious monkey hanging on the backs of the men in baby blue?
Fans and analysts alike have no problems blatantly verbalizing their opinions on the matter. The two most popular arguments are for a change at the QB position, and the lack of aggression by the defense, specifically in the secondary-the former being the most obvious disaster.
To reiterate just how bizarre the contrast is between the Titans defense this season and last, the 2008 defense ranked number seven among all NFL teams, giving up only 4.6 yards per play and creating 28 fumbles. The secondary was tied for 6th place with the Pittsburgh Steelers, recording 20 interceptions and allowing only 23 points per game.
Just four games into the 2009 season, the Titans secondary is tied for last place (31) against the pass, allowing 282 yards per game. They are ranked 26th in points allowed per game, with 27, and have only three interceptions against opponents.
It’s pretty easy to see the demarcation between the two seasons, but if for some reason you’re still asking yourself what’s so bizarre about it all, I’ll tell you again-all of the players in the secondary returned from last seasons roster. Some of the Titans players have been quoted as saying that there have been “miscommunications” between one another on the field, but logically that makes no sense. Why this season, and not last? All fingers point to new defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil, who took the place of Jim Schwartz in the offseason after he took the job of head coach for the Detroit Lions.
Ask Titans head coach Jeff Fisher however, and he’ll tell you he doesn’t plan on taking over Cecil’s position-but don’t be surprised if he becomes more involved with the defensive play calling decisions.
As far as the QB argument goes, it’s nothing new. Anytime a team plays poorly, there is clamouring for a change at the position, particularly by the fans. Making a change at the QB position is not the answer to any of the Titans woes.
While Titans QB Kerry Collins has been known to be inconsistent during his 14 year NFL career, he is a proven veteran. VY, on the other hand, has also shown inconsistencies and an inability to handle the pressures of the pro game. Having VY sit behind a proven veteran was the right choice, and he should benefit in the long run.
Tonight, the 0-4 Titans face the 4-0 Colts in a Sunday night football AFC South division rival showdown at LP Field. ( 7:20 CST) The Titans/Colts rivalry has always been an aggressive one, and if there is any team that could invoke aggression from the Titans D, it would be Peyton Manning and company.
If the Titans don’t win this one, they may as well hang up their season.
*Note- Look for my bi-weekly column in the sport’s section of the Daily News Journal on Wednesdays, where you’ll find my opinions on the Titans/Colts game.