Some thoughts on Titans DT Jovan Haye


Thanks to Tom for his recent article reviewing the Titans included in The Sporting News’ rankings of the best players at their positions.
While I have some of the same misgivings as Tom about those rankings, it was good to see that The Sporting News ranked new Titan Jovan Haye as the nineteenth best DT. It’s good to know they think highly of the player who will be depended on to help mitigate the loss of TSN’s top-rated DT, Albert Haynesworth. Being ranked nineteenth among the 50-some odd starting DTs in the league, in the top 40 percentile, isn’t too shabby.
Here’s what TSN had to say about Haye:

Haye is a true one-gap player. He’s undersized but uses his athleticism to get free on stunts and twists. He is coming off a down season in Tampa Bay, but look for a nice comeback in the Titans’ active front under line coach Jim Washburn.

Nothing profound there but I’m glad they pointed out the obvious, but overlooked, fact that he’s a one-gap DT. It reinforces the point that nobody is replacing Albert, a two-gapper. Haye, Tony Brown, Jason Jones, Kevin Vickerson and Sen’Derrick Marks are all one-gap DTs. None of them should be asked or expected to be a two-gap DT. While this will therefore be a somewhat different d-line, it will be middle linebackers Stephen Tulloch and Ryan Fowler who will miss Big Albert the most.
For some reason, I’ve heard some people say that Haye isn’t a good run-stopper. I haven’t seen enough of Haye to agree with that and if that is indeed the case, I’ll have to watch him for a while to make my own mind up on that notion.
The reason why it will take some convincing is that I remember too well that he gave Jacob Bell fits when the Titans lost at Tampa Bay two years ago. Looking up the stats, Haye had ten tackles, seven of them solo, with one sack. He played very well stopping the run in that game and was generally a pain in the butt for the Titans that Sunday afternoon.
It should be noted though, that was the best game stat-wise in Haye’s brief career. I am reluctant to say that Haye is indeed good at stopping the run, based simply on one game. But Haye’s performance in that game is one that’s embedded in memory.
The important thing for me to remember is that as long as Haye maintains his gap responsibility he’ll be doing exactly what is required of him.
One final thought on Haye – I don’t read anything into the fact that the Buccaneers didn’t attempt to re-sign him. After Jon Gruden’s departure, the new management in Tampa has made a lot of personnel changes on the team, including letting former Titan Kevin Carter go.

2 Responses to “Some thoughts on Titans DT Jovan Haye”

  1. Scott Says:

    I like the Haye signing and, like you, I don’t read anything into Tampa’s failure to re-sign him. Tampa has, in my view, made a number of questionable personnel decisions since the new coach took over and letting Haye walk is just one of them. And while Haye’s numbers were down in 2008, most of that was likely attributable to his injury situation. There are a number of solid starters in the NFL that have seen their stock fall because of a season of nagging injuries. A healthy Haye should help the Titans.
    I think the fact that the Titans now have a slew of one-gap penetrators does mean that the middle linebacker position will become much more important to the team. That is why I was hoping the Titans would have picked up Laurinaitis or Maualuga in the draft. They did not, so Fisher must have a lot of faith in Tulloch.

  2. Andrew Strickert Says:

    Thanks for your comments, Scott. The Titans certainly had some good choices to select from in the draft but I believe they’ll be OK at MLB with Tulloch and/or Fowler.

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