Archive for July, 2009

Titans training camp report, 07-31

July 31, 2009


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Kerry Collins hands off to Chris Johnson, who follows Ahmard Hall, on the Titans’ first day of training camp.
Photo by Andrew Strickert for Total Titans.
 
I took a lot of pictures today and have spent several hours going over them. I’ll try to post new ones frequently in the next few weeks, especially pictures of the new guys. Anyway, I spent too much time enjoying them when I should have written something sooner about today’s practice. Not that there was much to write about, but I know that’s what you’re curious about.
 
It was a great day for football. Great weather and it was good to be back out there watching the Titans.
 
OK, so I didn’t go there today expecting a lot. There’s usually not much to see and nothing to get excited about, so I definitely didn’t have any high hopes dashed.
 
It was a slow day. Some special teams work, positional group work and some throwing and catching of the ball. Yawn.

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The 53-man as training camp opens

July 31, 2009

UPDATE: I accidentally left off two names from the earlier list, so updated post.

It’s time for a slight diversion from our position analysis series.  The Titans opened training camp today.  Aside from the body and mind shape aspects of training camp, the other big deal is trimming the roster from the current 80 players to the 53 it needs to be come Thursday in Pittsburgh.

You may recall that, before the draft, I did a post on whether or not the Titans had room for all their draft picks.  In that post, I did a preliminary stab at identifying which players had a good chance to make the opening day roster.  With camp opening, it’s time for me to play Jeff Fisher and take my first real crack at who will be among the fortunate 53.

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Tennessee Titans Positional analysis: DE

July 30, 2009

As we continue the journey towards the start of training camp, it’s time to take a look at what should be a position of strength for the Tennessee Titans: defensive end.

Experience, youth and depth are three integral qualities that are well-represented within the ranks of the Titan DEs. You have veterans such as Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse, emerging youngsters Jacob Ford and William Hayes and last but not least, a guy such as David Ball who provides great depth.

In the next segment of our positional analyses, let’s answer the following questions: Are great things in store for Ford and/or Hayes? How will KVB and “The Freak” perform during contract years?

My answers to those inquiries and more…after the jump.

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Tennessee Titans positional analysis: Nickelback

July 29, 2009

We continue our preseason positional analyses by looking at nickelback. It’s a bastardized spot in that it’s not officially recognized as a position. It’s a hybrid and the players who man the position are categorized as cornerbacks, defensive backs or safeties, not as nickelbacks, at least not by the NFL.
 
A good case in point is Vincent Fuller, who has been Tennessee’s nickelback for the last four years. You’d think that he’d be called a nickelback by now but he’s still officially listed as a safety. But I don’t have a problem calling him a nickel.
 
I’ve been impressed by Fuller ever since the Titans selected him in the fourth round of the 2005 draft. When all the other rookies reported to the team, they were each issued a playbook specific to their position. Fuller was given two playbooks, one for safety and one for corner. Jeff Fisher wasn’t concerned about Fuller’s ability to learn two playbooks, saying that Fuller was the smartest man in the building.

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A history lesson for Albert Haynesworth

July 28, 2009

A few days ago, while dealing with the boredom of the timeframe prior to the start of training camp, I spent some time reading an interesting article about former Tennessee Titan/current Washington Redskin Albert Haynesworth.

What stood out to me was “Fat Albert’s” not-so-kind words about Titan management. In addition to his frustration over the Titans failing to add an extra $1 million to their offer to him last summer, Haynesworth also made the following statement about the team’s tendency of not re-signing defensive linemen after the completion of their first contracts:

“I lasted longer than any defensive linemen that’s ever played for [Tennessee coach] Jeff [Fisher],” Haynesworth said. “They want to pay offensive linemen all this money, but they think they can just get by on the defensive line. That’s fine, that’s their business. Whatever…

In light of Albert’s “angry” words, let’s take a look at how the team has fared as a result of their decisions to allow promising defensive lineman to venture to greener pastures.

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Tennessee Titans positional analysis: Center

July 27, 2009

We continue our look at the Titans going into 2009 training camp with the third and final entry on the offensive linemen, this one on the men in the middle.

Yes, that’s men.  As is true at both the tackle and guard positions, the men who started most of the regular season and in the postseason return.  The difference is, there’s only one center at a time while there are two each of guards and tackles.  For the second straight year, Kevin Mawae started most of the regular season but didn’t make it to the end of the season.  What can we expect out of him this year?

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Tennessee Titans positional analysis: OG

July 26, 2009

Generally speaking, consistency at the offensive line is a very good thing, and somewhat of a necessity for a productive offense.  That makes the success of the Titans’ offense in 2008 somewhat of an anomaly.  Teams, even successful offenses, replace linemen most every year.  But, even when they do, they have a solid tandem or side they can rely on-after all, there are 4 offensive line relationship pairs but you can generally rely on at least one of those making it through the offseason intact.

Heading into 2008, though, that wasn’t the case for the Titans, as the departure of Jacob Bell (the Rams, via free agency) and Benji Olson (wherever he wanted, in retirement).  Jake Scott had been acquired in that same free agency process, as Olson’s presumptive replacement, while Bell’s replacement would come from somebody already on the roster.

Fast forward a season, and, as is the case with most positions on the Titans’ roster, the 2008 starters return and Titan fans can feel pretty good about them.  Beyond those starters, though, there’s more uncertainty than there was this time last season.

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Tennessee Titans Positional analysis: TE

July 25, 2009

Next up in our series of positional analyses is the tight end position.

In my opinion, this is one of the team’s strongest areas. With veterans Alge Crumpler and Bo Scaife and youngsters such as former third rounders Craig Stevens and Jared Cook, the Tennessee Titans appear to be stacked at this spot.

As the onset of the 2009 NFL season slowly approaches, let’s take a stab at addressing the following questions: Which TE will have the best season? Are Scaife’s days as a Titan numbered? Can Algernon perform at a Pro Bowl level again? Is this Jared Cook kid for real?

My thoughts and answers to those questions and more are after the jump.

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Tennessee Titans positional analysis: OT

July 24, 2009

We continue our preseason positional analysis with the offensive tackles.
 
For the last several years, the Titans have kept four OTs on the roster but that may change this year. It’s likely they will keep an extra tight end and very possible they’ll keep an extra quarterback and/or running back. A tackle, in my opinion, could lose a roster spot due to that.
 
Look at recent history when there were four OTs – most of Daniel Loper’s playing time was at guard, not tackle. And Mike Otto was active for only one game in his first two years. So having a fourth tackle is certainly more of a luxury than a necessity.
 
Here’s my take on the tackles currently on Tennessee’s roster.

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Tennessee Titans Positional Analysis: FB

July 23, 2009

Since Drexel just took a look at the running back situation, let’s follow that up with a look at those guys’ backfield mates, the fullbacks.

Well, make that part of the time backfield mate.  Per the data collected by Football Outsiders and available in Football Outsiders Almanac 2009, the Titans had only a single back in the backfield 59% of the time, and almost all of the time that lone setback was either Chris Johnson or LenDale White.  That’s actually slightly more multi-back sets than the Titans had run the previous two years, but even still, the Titans’ fullback will be spending the majority of the offensive snaps sitting on the bench.

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