Titans Pro Bowlers compete for LDE spot on all-time Tennessee team

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This ought to be a very interesting discussion. Three Titans left defensive ends have garnered Pro Bowl honors and we’ll have to choose the best one.
Jevon Kearse (twice), Kevin Carter and Kyle Vanden Bosch were all selected for the Pro Bowl in years when they played LDE.
Each of them were talented enough to play more than one position, so there’s a possibility that you could still select all three for our all-time Tennessee team. Carter also moved inside to play LDT, especially in 2004, when it was his primary position. Kearse and KVB each moved to the other end of the line and earned Pro Bowl honors again as RDEs.
The main drawback to naming all three to the team is that each of them played their other position primarily for one year only. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t vote for a guy to the team if he only played his position one year. But, when we’re talking about guys who played at a Pro Bowl level, that changes the conversation.
I’m going to enjoy all of your thoughts on what could be our best discussion yet.
In our last poll, we completed the offense with the selection of Jon Runyan as the right tackle.
The Tennessee-era all-time team so far:
QB Steve McNair
RB Eddie George
FB Lorenzo Neal
WR Derrick Mason
WR Drew Bennett
WR Kevin Dyson
TE Frank Wycheck
LT Brad Hopkins
LG Bruce Matthews
C Kevin Mawae
RG Benji Olson
RT Jon Runyan
P Craig Hentrich
With the exception of Mawae, all the players selected so far were part of the “Glory Days” period of 1999-2003, when the Titans had a regular season record of 56-24 (70%), the best in the NFL, with four playoff appearances, two conference championship games and a Super Bowl.

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12 Responses to “Titans Pro Bowlers compete for LDE spot on all-time Tennessee team”

  1. Titans Pro Bowlers compete for LDE spot on all-time Tennessee team | GOT FANATICS! Says:

    […] This ought to be a very interesting discussion. Three Titans left defensive ends have garnered Pro Bowl honors and we’ll have to choose the best one.http://mvn.com/nfl-titans/2008/06/19/titan… […]

  2. I.jason Says:

    Gotta go with Kearse for two reasons: 1) He was drafted a Titan, and 2) Super Bowl.
    Other than that, I’d go KVB.

  3. cld12pk2go Says:

    Kearse

  4. Garland Says:

    KVB has to be the right end lined up next to Albert. So Kearse gets the nod at left end. Hey, wait…that’s our line this year! At least we don’t have to look to the glory days for these guys.

  5. Tom Gower Says:

    Immediate overall defensive improvement from pretty bad to not too bad and then pretty awesome gets Kearse the vote in my book.

  6. kevin b Says:

    THE FREAK !!!

  7. Garland Says:

    But Tom, you could say the same thing for KVB. He came along at a time when the defense was quite bad and played a big role in turning that around. Jevon did it with raw talent and Kyle did it with heart. I think the example he sets cannot be overemphasized.

  8. Tom Gower Says:

    Garland,
    Short answer: compare 1998 to 1999. 1998 wasn’t a great defense-in particular, it was a mediocre at best pass defense. 1999 was a significantly better defense, particularly with a much-improved pass D. Kearse’s added dimension is a big deal of that. 14.5 sacks, tops on the team by a lot. The ’99 team was great in TO margin-they intercepted more passes, but not particularly high for the league, but they forced a lot of fumbles-8 by Kearse, again tops by a lot. KVB was great his first year, but the defense was lousy, just like it had been the year before. The improvement that happened was a team improvement-adding Thornton and Hope, #32 turning into a really good player in 06, Big Al’s 2007 season.
    Is it a little unfair on my part to judge KVB and Kearse because of the quality of their teammates? Yeah, maybe. But there’s no way the Titans make SB34 without Kearse, and it’s really hard for me to say KVB had the same kind of team impact.
    And the “heart” thing bugs me-most guys out there are busting their butt all the time, or as much as they can give an incredibly physically demanding job. Not that KVB’s a slacker or anything, but he’s more physically gifted than lots of people seem to give him credit for, and he’s been healthy as a Titan, which he wasn’t as a Cardinal.

  9. jrtitans Says:

    not Carter

  10. bobcomu Says:

    As good as Kearse was I dont think that he has the effect on his teamates that KVB does. With his work effort rubbing off on the rest of the team they all benefit, and as great as he was this is the first year Kearse has even bothered to show up at voluntary workouts.

  11. Joshua Says:

    KVB is a better RDE than left, and I don’t recall Kearse being as effective on the right as he was on the left his rookie year, so I would go with Kearse at left and KVB at right.
    Oh, BTW, I too am tired of every successful white DE being called ‘high motor’ – Schobel (Bills), Kampman, Jared Allen, and KVB, I have heard them all be described this – maybe they are, I don’t know but they are also athletic, especially Vanden Bosch. It’s like black players can’t have a high motor and white guys can’t be athletic. Anyway, KVB is quick, but even quicker coming of the right side.
    It’s funny, he played RDE in college and Odom played LDE in college, but in 2006 they insisted on them playing the opposite. Switching them worked wonders for our D.

  12. Andrew Strickert Says:

    Great points, Joshua! White DEs being called “high motor” is kind of like white WRs being labeled as “possession receivers” – it’s like white WRs can’t be fast and athletic and black WRs can’t run good routes and have good hands. Don’t you hate those stereotypes?
    To tell you the truth though, I don’t recall Schobel, Kampman or Allen being referred to as high motor. The only guy other than KVB I’ve heard that said about in the last few years is Patrick Kerney, who also happens to be white.
    I don’t have any problem with the “high motor” tag being placed on KVB. I’ve heard a lot of people around the league refer to him that way and everyone who’s ever been to a Titans training camp practice has witnessed the reason for that. He doesn’t just go all out on every play during games, he’s the same way in practice, even when the heat index is over 100 and he’s just going through routine drills.
    As far as Odom is concerned, the Titans played him at LDE in his first year (because they had Carlos Hall at RDE). Then in his second year, 2005, they moved him to the right side, then moved him back to LDE last year. Wonder what would’ve/could’ve happened if they had left him there on the left side and plugged KVB in at RDE in 2005?
    Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

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