Who do the Tennessee Titans miss the most?

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The offseason ushered in the departures of three significant contributors to the success of the 2008 Tennessee Titans.

Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz left to become the head man of the winless Lions, DT Albert Haynesworth departed for the financially greener pastures of Washington and last but certainly not least, return man Chris Carr joined forces with the hated Ravens.

With one game in the books, let’s take a look at how the Titans fared without the presence of the aforementioned individuals while also pondering which of the three losses will serve as the greater hinderance to the Titans’ attempts of succeeding in ’09. 


Chris Carr

The struggles of the return game have been a recurring theme for the Titans through five preseason games and one regular season contest.

Designated Chris Carr-replacement Mark Jones was undone by a lingering hamstring injury that led to his dismissal. Rookies Jason McCourty, Ryan Mouton and Javon Ringer, while displaying intriguing skillsets at their natural positions, also failed to impress on punt/kick returns.

Against Pittsburgh, Ringer again looked less than adequate on kickoffs. On punt returns, a rusty Cortland Finnegan had his share of mishaps. Of course, that’s to be expected from a guy who prior to Thursday Night, hadn’t returned a regular season punt since 2007. 

Chris Carr was an unheralded hero for the Titans in ’08. He didn’t take one to the house, but his solid returns often led to solid starting field position for the Titans last year.

All of the attention has been on the loss of Albert Haynesworth but in my mind, replacing Carr is going to serve as the toughest task for the Titans in ’09.

Jim Schwartz

While Schwartz is taking on the Herculean task of trying to right the ship of the putrid Detroit Lions, former NFL bad-boy Chuck Cecil is manning the fort as the Titans’ new defensive coordinator.

Cecil’s first game as D-coordinator was filled with mixed results. There were times when Cecil’s presence was felt as the Titans sent a few blitzes in the path of Ben Roethlisberger. During the waning stages of the game as the Titan defensive line tired, the lack of a blitz or two allowed Ben the time to operate as he led to Steelers to an overtime victory.

During his days in Nashville, Schwartz relied heavily upon front four pressure while eschewing the urge to blitz for the most part. Of course, that’s not a bad strategy when you have a behemoth such as Albert Haynesworth disrupting the opposing offensive line. Without Fat Albert, Cecil is probably going to need to blitz a whole lot more than Schwartz did.

With Chuck at the helm, I’m expecting the Titans to still have a pretty darn good defense. We just have to be a little patient as Chuck suffers through his growing pains while earning his stripes as a defensive playcaller.

Albert Haynesworth

Against Pittsburgh, I saw a defensive line that was playing with a chip on it’s shoulder as a result of trying to prove to the world that they can succeed despite the absence of Albert Haynesworth. They were constantly after the quarterback while also punishing the Steeler running game.

Even without #92, there’s still a lot of talent remaining in the cupboard. Talented second-year players Jason Jones and William Hayes continue to make strides while developing into pretty good NFL players. Combining with vets such as Jevon Kearse, KVB and Tony Brown, the Titan d-line is still a talented bunch.

Under Jim Washburn’s tutelage, I expect the Titan defensive line to continue to play solid football despite losing Fat Albert.

Your turn, guys. Carr, Schwartz or Haynesworth: Who do the Titans miss the most?  

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12 Responses to “Who do the Tennessee Titans miss the most?”

  1. TT Says:

    Definitely Carr… Return game was just pitiful…
    I know everyone is annoyed/frustrated with how well Pittsburgh’s offense moved the ball at the end of the game, but sometimes the other team just makes plays. Look at the game as a whole – defending superbowl champs scored 10 points through all of regulation (and, for them, that’s NOT due to missed field goals or other stupid special teams failures). 10 points is pretty dang good if you ask me. Our defense didn’t remotely lose that game for us.

  2. cld12pk2go Says:

    No question. Carr.
    We had plenty of talent at DL to win without Al.
    The horrific ST play easily lost us the game.

  3. cld12pk2go Says:

    No question. Carr.
    We had plenty of talent at DL to win without Al.
    The horrific ST play easily lost us the game.

  4. Shawn Smith Says:

    Definitely Carr and definitely Carr in the Pittsburgh game. Playing a tough defensive team like that, field position is everything…no offense to Ringer or Finnegan, but Carr would have probably given us ~5-10 more yards per possession…that would have been huge especially considering the field goals missed (another 5-10 yards closer and those kicks would have been easier).
    I never though Schwartz was that great a defensive coordinator…when there wasn’t any talent on the D, the Titans were near the bottom of the league in defense with Schwartz…after draft picks and free agent signings were spent on the D, the Titans were near the top of the league with Schwartz. Although Cecil made a couple of bad calls in the last game, I think he’ll end up a better coordinator than Schwartz in the long run…
    And, we do not miss Al…I keep hearing other people mention how Albert commanded double teams. Well, Jason Jones/Jovan Haye/Tony Brown were double teamed a lot in the last game along with the DEs…would Albert fared any better? Probably not much…plus, the DL did a great job against the run. They just couldn’t get any pressure at the end of the game.

  5. Morgan Says:

    Im gonna have to go against everyone and say Fat Albert because of the winning drive last game. When the titans had Al up front pushing the pile we didnt have to blitz. You were lucky to see the titans blitz more than 7 times a game last year and they seem to be trying that again without the same results. I thought for sure this year would be lots of blitzing because we dont have a power pusher in the middle to flush the QB out to the De’s. There is no question you will see alot more blitzes this year because Haynesworth is gone which opens up more zones for the QB to throw into. I dont think the D will do worse than last year because Haynesworth is gone, I just think it makes you play a different style of ball game. That is my reasoning for saying big Al, yet I do agree with everyone that the departure of Chris Carr hurts the team badly.

  6. Markus Says:

    Of course we miss all 3…Schwartz would NOT have called a 3-man rush /prevent D on 3rd and 13…but he also could not have done anything to make the line less tired. Al is a big-time DT and he IS missed. Carr is missed b/c we have no one else.
    The outcome came from sloppy ST, plain and simple. We wouldn’t be having the convo if Bironas makes 1 of the 2. Or if Britt plays D on Polamalu (rookie mistake). Like any good team, they will learn, adjust, and move on. We should have won the game but didn’t, so what. I think that even if we had the aforementioned 3 people, the result would have been the same. Carr would have been a bigger impact player, but he doesn’t kick. Let’s hope things are fixed before we face a MUCH improved Texans squad. Expect a 17-13 game…hope we have 17.
    Good game and I hope we see them in January! GO TITANS!!!!

  7. Strangely Enough Says:

    Carr. Field position killed them. They need to sign someone who can return punts.
    The defense played about as well as they could have. They definitely did not lose that game. They made Pittsburgh pretty much one dimensional on offense. More pressure would be nice, but so would catches for first downs by wide open receivers…

  8. Scott Says:

    Bring back Bobby Wade. I have been harping on this all preseason. I just can’t believe that Fisher started the season without a proven returner on the roster. Carr was so important to the Titans’ success last year. That was a boneheaded decision by Fisher to cut Jones.

  9. Drexel Perry Says:

    As always, thanks for commenting guys.
    I’m definitely in favor of adding a guy such as Wade or Miller to help out on returns. However, at this point, Fisher wants to go with the guys who are currently on the roster.
    Hopefully, the return game will improve over the coming weeks.

  10. ross Says:

    as much as finnegan will get better at returning punts the more he does it i dont wont to see him or any other player who will see a good amount of playing time returning it makes them vulnerable to injury we need a guy whos job it is to return and not do much else.

  11. Jim Says:

    They missed Vince Young winning the game at the end for them!

  12. The Tennessee Titans miss Chris Carr « Total Titans Says:

    […] we’ve said on several occasions on Total Titans since Carr’s departure last March, losing the valuable returner/fill-in CB […]

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