Titans are thinning the herd

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Every time one player encounters adversity it creates opportunity for someone else. That’s how it’s been going in the Titans’ offseason, training camp and preseason so far, in a synergistic sense, as the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Each time a player misses practice, he falls two practices behind someone else — the practice he missed and the one somebody else gained.
After nearly three weeks of camp, it’s become much clearer who has the inside track for many of the roster spots, usually because of poor play by and/or injuries to others.
Tackle: Mike Otto has missed a lot of time with a knee injury and has far less reps in the battle for the backup tackle spot, which has narrowed the competition to Dan Loper and Seth Wand. I’ve got to confess I’ve never been a fan of Wand’s. How good can he be when he was cut by the team with the worst o-line in the league? Loper, on the other hand, can play every position on the line but center.
Tight end: Jamie Petrowski seems to have taken himself out of contention by missing multiple practices with leg injuries. It appears that Troupe, Scaife, Hartsock and Cramer will be the four tight ends, with Petrowski and Wallace on the outside looking in.
Quarterback: The two rookie QBs didn’t last long, leaving Vince Young and Kerry Collins as the first two QBs. Tim Rattay hasn’t had a particularly good camp and needed to outperform Collins by a wide margin. His only other hope is for the Titans to keep three QBs.
Receiver: Jonathan Orr is in serious danger of being cut. Orr spent all of last season as a gameday inactive and has also missed a lot of time since camp opened. Justin Gage hasn’t performed well at all and doesn’t look to make the team as is also the case with Joel Filani. I don’t see any way David Givens can play at even a low level and will start the season on either the PUP list, or more likely, IR. Moulds, Roby, B. Jones, R. Williams, P. Williams and Davis all seem pretty certain to make the roster.
Running back: I don’t recall a time when the Titans went into a season with more than three backs. I haven’t seen Ganther or Moore do anything to make the Titans want to change that this year.
Cornerback: Michael Waddell needed to have a great camp; instead he’s missed more practices than he’s made. Andre Woolfolk is now on IR. Ryan Smith hasn’t looked too good and the other six corners appear to have been given roster spots by default.
Linebacker: See above. Toone, Allred and Nande look like they’re giving the other six contenders jobs by default.
Defensive tackle: Antonio Johnson is on IR with an ACL, giving Randy Starks, Rien Long and Jesse Mahelona all a better chance to make the team, after Albert Haynesworth and Tony Brown. Long has missed a lot of practice time as well.
Defensive end: Same story, second chapter. Jacob Ford was just placed on IR with a severed Achilles’ tendon. KVB, Odom and LaBoy should have three spots locked down, with Sean Conover having the inside track for the fourth DE spot, ahead of Josh Savage.
Safety: Although he’s had a decent camp thus far, Lamont Thompson is skating on some very thin ice. It’s my belief that Calvin Lowry and Vinnie Fuller both are, or will end up, ahead of Thompson. Chris Hope will once again be the starter at strong safety with Donnie Nickey and Bryan Scott competing for the backup spot. Give the edge to Nickey for his special teams play.
All team rosters must be trimmed to 75 players on August 28 and to 53 players by September 1. I fully expect the Titans to pick up at least one player off the waiver wire at that time. DE and DT appear to be the most likely positions for that to occur.

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4 Responses to “Titans are thinning the herd”

  1. Garo Dykstra Says:

    Great article.

  2. jrtitans Says:

    Great positional analysis. How come Total Titans was moved off a direct link on the website?
    Let me ask about a couple of positions since I agree with just about everything here.
    Tight ends: Can Petro be placed on the Europa exemption team? Are they really going to keep Troupe?Looks like Cramer is being considered a backup FB–whatever they want to call him –he should stay.
    Receivers: Probably wont happen but I was thinking Ealy/Gage over Roby/Roydell.
    Cornerbacks/Safeties: Can you expand on this more? Who are the starters? Are Thompson and Hill gone? Does Sharp make the practice team?
    Backs: I was counting on Ahmad Hall to do that blocking for Vince and Im not sure about the running back by commitee approach. I thought Dontrell did well but not impressed by more White injuries or delays.

  3. Andrew Strickert Says:

    Hey, jr. I’ll give you my thoughts/opinions to your questions.
    All the teams were moved off those links. On the left side of all the pages now, click on “Teams”, which gives you links to all the sites.
    Petrowski can’t take the exemption, since those players were assigned by the league. DE Ulrich Winkler (from Germany) was assigned to the Titans’ practice squad by the league office, but Petrowski can make the squad the regular way if no other team claims him for their regular roster.
    Troupe is by far the most athletic and gifted true TE the Titans have, and he should easily make the team, unless his injury is worse than we’re being led to believe. When Cramer was at Carolina, they listed him as a FB/TE. The Titans have him listed as a TE on the roster and as a FB on the depth chart. He’s actually a H-back, or as Norm Chow calls it, a F-back.
    I currently rate Moulds and Jones as the starters, followed by Roby and R. Williams, and then P. Williams and Davis. If they keep a seventh, then Gage, Filani, Orr and Ealy would be in a dogfight for it. I’ve heard somebody say the Titans are trying to keep Ealy under wraps so he can sneak through waivers and go to the practice squad. That’s not hard for me to believe.
    Hill and Thompson should both make the team. Thompson’s good game against the Patriots, combined with Lowry’s inconsistency, keeps Lamont in the lead for the starting FS job. Right now, I see the starters as Finnegan and Harper at CB, Herndon at NB, Hope at SS and Thompson at FS. The backups at corner look to be Griffin, Hill, and King. Smith may make the team or the practice squad. Waddell is probably history. The backups at safety will probably be Nickey, Fuller and Scott. Sharp seems to have a real good shot at the practice squad.
    One problem with the RBBC approach is that the Titans have four backs that each has a different and distinct style. White is the grinder you want to carry the ball on first and second down and third and short. Brown is the best third-down back and Henry is a guy to give White an occasional blow and be used in situations. Moore is a change of pace guy who might stick or go to the practice squad. Ganther should be cut and I doubt if he’ll be signed to the practice squad.

  4. Football Fan Says:

    Seth Wand isn’t bad – the Texans just can’t identify talent. It’s a good sign they cut him.

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