On the bench, unfortunately.
Forced into action shortly after signing as a free agent due to Nick Harper’s broken forearm, Roderick Hood emerged as an immediate playmaker for the Tennessee Titan defense. Hood accounted for three interceptions in three games as the starter opposite of Pro Bowler Cortland Finnegan.
As of late, however, Hood has been missing in action as the veteran Harper has reclaimed his spot in the starting lineup. Last Sunday, Pierre Garcon torched Harper on a consistent basis while Hood was on the sidelines as a result of being declared inactive for the third consecutive game since Harp’s return.
Memo to Jeff Fisher: It’s well past time to re-insert Hood into the starting lineup.
Don’t get me wrong: Harper is a solid vet who has been an adequate player in this league for years. However, due to his advancing age (35) and nagging injuries, Harper is no longer what he used to be.
Unfortunately for the Titans, the opposition is starting to become aware of Harper’s limitations as well.
Former teammate Peyton Manning picked on Harper all day long on Sunday, giving Pierre Garcon the Marvin Harrison treatment by targetting him consistently as a helpless Harper attempted to cover him. On a day when Pro Bowlers Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark accounted for a combined 73 of the Colts’ 270 passing yards, the unheralded Garcon emerged as Manning’s premier weapon by hauling in 6 grabs for 136 yards.
When you have a Pro Bowler such as Finny at one corner back spot, it’s anything but rare to see an opposing QB repeatedly test the CB on the other side of the field. Therefore, it’s nice to have a guy such as Hood on the other side, who, while giving up a play or two, also has the ability to make the opposition pay by making a play or two as well.
With Harper in the lineup, you have a player who, while still adequate in run support, is a liability when asked to hound even the Pierre Garcons of the NFL world in man-to-man coverage.
Of course, we can chalk this up to yet another example of head coach Jeff Fisher’s loyalty to his veterans, even if their time has passed.
Look no further than Bud Adams having to step in and practically name Vince Young as the starter, much to the chagrin of Fisher, who was more than content with trotting Kerry Collins out on the field even after the New England debacle that left the team at 0-6.
Unfortunately, Fisher’s loyalty may be rearing its ugly head again, as Justin Gage gets healthy and inevitably forces promising rookie Kenny Britt to the sidelines in the coming weeks.
With the team at 5-7 and their playoff hopes all but mathematically dashed, why not give the playmaking Hood a chance to replace an ineffective/aging Harper in the starting lineup?