Archive for August, 2009

Personnel decisions are looming for the Titans

August 31, 2009

Tomorrow, September 1, is the first cutdown day in the league, as each team must trim its roster to 75 players.
 
Some players probably won’t be getting a good night’s sleep, worrying about what might be. Which Titans will get the first visit from strength and conditioning coach Steve Watterson, who performs the duties of the Turk in Tennessee?
 
Titans GM Mike Reinfeldt tells this story from his rookie camp. On cutdown day, he kept hearing knocks on doors around his, with the Turk telling players to go turn in their playbooks. Reinfeldt’s door was one of those knocked on, but the knock was for his roommate. Then came another knock a while later and Reinfeldt thought he was being cut as well. Turns out it was someone telling him he had made the team and to move his stuff to another room down the hall.
 
My final training camp depth chart lists the players I have confidence in making the roster, along with sixteen on the bubble. Those names remain the same.

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Tennessee Titans vs. Cleveland Browns: Hits and Misses

August 30, 2009

In their penultimate preseason game, the Tennessee Titans came up short as they were defeated by the Cleveland Browns 23-17 last night.

After struggling against the Cowboys on national television last week, the Titans bounced back with a much better all-around effort in what was billed as the team’s dress rehearsal for the regular season that, believe it or not, is a little more than a week away.

Here are a few of the positives and negatives that I took away from Saturday’s contest.

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Titans-Browns open game thread

August 29, 2009
This thread is for your comments before and during the Titans-Browns game tonight.
 
The good news for Tennessee is the return of center Kevin Mawae and middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch to the starting lineup.
 
Head coach Jeff Fisher has traditionally used this game as the dress rehearsal for the regular season and most of the starters should play into the third quarter. If you haven’t done so yet, check out Drexel’s preview of tonight’s game.
 
Following are the injury scratches and lineup changes from Titans Online.

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Titans vs. Browns preview

August 28, 2009

In their next-to-last preseason game, the Tennessee Titans will face off against the Cleveland Browns at the “Dawg Pound” tomorrow night.

The last time these two teams played against one another was in December 2008, as the Titans clinched the AFC South division title with a convincing 28-9 victory over a helpless Browns’ squad.

Let’s take a peek at a few things that I’ll be keeping my eyes on during tomorrow’s matchup. 

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Final Titans training camp report

August 27, 2009

DizzyBat2009.jpg 
The dizzy bat race is a highlight of every Titans training camp. Photo by Andrew Strickert for Total Titans.
 
The Titans’ 2009 training camp was physically the easiest I’ve ever seen. In practices open to the public, there were only two two-a-days and only one occasion when the players were in full pads.
 
With that in mind, you wouldn’t expect there to be as many injuries as the Titans have received. Most of the injuries have been hamstrings though, which can happen in shorts just as easily as in pads.
 
One thing that is troubling about the injuries is that they have created opportunities for some younger guys but none of them have taken advantage of the situation. Several receivers and defensive backs, in particular, have missed time with injuries, opening doors for younger players (Hawkins, Edison, Williams and McCourty.) Most of the injured players have returned to practice and the younger guys who were getting more snaps are now getting less again.

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The 53-man as training camp closes

August 26, 2009

Well, I did one as training camp opened, and after the first preseason game.  I didn’t after the second preseason game, but only because Andrew wrote about the real training camp depth chart, so that means it’s time for another stab at the 53-man roster, with some additional focus on the 45-man active roster, something I neglected in my previous roster picks.

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Should the Tennessee Titans sign another WR?

August 25, 2009

The last 24 hours or so have been anything but kind to the Tennessee Titans at the wide receiver position.

Chris Davis was jettisoned from the roster as a result of either his injury issues, a recent DUI or a combination of the two occurrences. To make matters extremely worse, prized free agent signee Nate Washington injured his hamstring in practice and according to reports, will miss the rest of the preseason and his status is in doubt for the opener against Pittsburgh. 

With the departure of one receiver and an injury to another, should the Titans bring in some outside help at WR?

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Tennessee Titans positional analysis: Special teams

August 24, 2009

As training camp winds down, an important day approaches. September 5 is the date NFL teams must trim their rosters to 53 players and I’d like to use much of this special teams analysis as an evaluation of where some players stand in the formulation of the (almost) final roster.
 
Of course, three special teams players are guaranteed a job. You can’t win without a kicker, punter and snapper, so you can count on seeing Rob Bironas, Craig Hentrich and Ken Amato for another season.
 
Actually, Bironas signed a new four-year contract in the offseason and Hentrich re-upped for two more years. This is the final year on Amato’s contract.
 
Hentrich looks better after losing close to thirty pounds, which should help his chronically ailing back. Rookie A.J. Trapasso has helped share the load in camp and I hope (for the team, not for his sake) that he’ll be available this season if or when Hentrich’s back acts up again.

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The Tennessee Titans’ running woes: Panic or patience?

August 23, 2009

Since the days of Eddie George plowing through opposing defenders, the running game has traditionally been a staple of the Tennessee Titans’ offensive attack. Last year was no different, with rookie Chris Johnson and the plump version of LenDale White causing nightmares for the opposition.

Through three preseason games, the Titans’ vaunted smashmouth attack has been anything but dominant. The team is averaging a paltry 72 yards per game and their 2.8 yards per carry is the worst in the league.

Contrary to their nicknames, the explosive Chris Johnson has yet to dash to daylight, and the now-slender LenDale White has been getting smashed consistently.

Of course, it’s only preseason, but should we be getting concerned about the Titans’ uncharacteristic running struggles?

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Titans fall flat in 3rd preseason game, lose to Cowboys 30-10

August 22, 2009

The Titans reached the halfway point of the preseason tonight against the Dallas Cowboys in the first football game in Dallas Cowboys Stadium.  The Titans proved to be most accommodating visitors, falling 30 to 10 in a thoroughly desultory performance with fewer bright spots than you’d hope for a team playing their third preseason game against one playing their second.  For more of a blow-by-blow account of the game, please check out the liveblog.

One of those bright spots came early, as the Titans held the Cowboys to a 3 and out on their first possession.  This wasn’t a harbinger of things to come, at least not for the Cowboys.  What was a sign of things to come was the Titans doing the same on their first possession, the first of seven possessions in which they failed to tally a single first down.

Beyond that first drive, though, the defense had no such problems staying on the field, as the Cowboys’ second and third possessions totaled 31 plays, or more than the offensive had in the first three quarters.  Though the third drive ended in a missed field goal and not in the end zone, the tone for the game was struck.

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