David Stewart is the Titans best o-lineman. Photo by Andrew Strickert for Total Titans
Now that the season is over, it’s time to review the players’ performance over the last three months. We’ve been doing that, of course, on an ongoing basis but not yet for the entire season.
These grades are only for offensive plays and do not include players’ performance on special teams, which will be in a separate article. The grades are followed by comments based upon my observations over the course of the season.
It all starts with the guys up front, so we’ll start there.
Offensive line: They paved the way for Chris Johnson’s record setting season and allowed only 15 sacks. That doesn’t mean they were all great.
David Stewart: A
Big Country was without question the best player on the line in 2009. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see him named to the All-Pro team again. Whatever it is that Chris Johnson buys for his o-linemen, Stewart ought to get two of them.
Jake Scott: B
He’s got to be the most underrated guy on the line. Maybe it’s because Roos and Mawae, and Stewart to some extent, get most of the recognition. Scott just doesn’t get all the credit he deserves. O-linemen don’t get much love but Jake deserves at least some more appreciation.
Michael Roos: B-
I’m surprised he was named as a Pro Bowl alternate this year. He simply did not play as well last year as he did in 2008, when his honoraria were justly deserved. There’s something to be said for reputation and name recognition.
Eugene Amano: C
He used to be considered the weak link in the line but he definitely wasn’t in 2009. I wouldn’t mind seeing him resigned to a new contract but the position still could be upgraded.
Kevin Mawae: D
It’s been a tough season for the elder statesman. It was painful to watch him and you almost felt sorry for the guy because he just couldn’t get the job done like he used to. I wonder how much of his decline was due to the arm surgery which kept him out of action until the end of training camp.
Leroy Harris: C
The thing that impressed me the most about him was his spot start replacing Stewart in the 49ers game. Although Harris hadn’t played tackle since high school, line coach Mike Munchak was more comfortable with using him at an unfamiliar position than with using one of the backup tackles. Harris seemed to hold his own in that game and in his other start, when he replaced Amano against the Jets.
Overall grade for the offensive line: B-
Quarterbacks: Who could have foreseen the mid-season QB change and the resulting reversal of fortunes?
Vince Young: B
For whatever reason, when given the opportunity VY started playing better than he ever did before and I liked what I saw from the new Vince. Not only did his play improve, but he lit a spark the Titans desperately needed.
Kerry Collins: C
Although he wasn’t the reason the team started so terribly, he wasn’t the solution to correcting the problem either. Still, he had a decent year and I hope he’ll return as the backup this year.
Overall grade for the quarterbacks: B-
Running backs: At the beginning of the season, we thought the Titans would have a two-back system. How silly of us.
Chris Johnson: A+
A franchise record 2,006 rushing yards and a NFL record 2,509 yards from scrimmage constitute a pretty good season.
LenDale White: C-
See above for the reason why LenDale didn’t get more carries. It’s on LenDale that his yards per carry average dropped from 3.9 to 3.5, the lowest of his career.
Ahmard Hall: B-
This grade would be higher if he didn’t have fumbleitis. Mike Heimerdinger was wise to let Big Sarge do his thing as a blocker and limit his touches.
Overall grade for the running backs: A
Tight ends: We expected to see a changing of the guard this year, or at least seeing it started in motion. As it was, Jared Cook and Craig Stevens didn’t see enough playing time to earn a grade.
Alge Crumpler: B
He could’ve been included with the o-line, as he’s virtually an extension of it. I give Alge an A as a blocker and C as a receiver.
Bo Scaife: C
I don’t remember ever seeing a franchise player have less of an impact. Bo did contribute 47 catches, one for a touchdown.
Overall grade for the tight ends: B-
Receivers: For the first time in years a rookie wideout finally contributed. If not for him, the receiving corps would have been among the very worst in the league again.
Kenny Britt: B
The first-round draft pick began contributing in Week One, started six games and had two games with seven receptions. A pretty solid rookie campaign. I think the future is bright for Britt.
Nate Washington: D
The offseason free agent acquisition led the WRs in
yards, scores and drops.
Justin Gage: D
If there’s one thing consistent about Gage, it’s his inconsistency.
Overall grade for the receivers: C-
So there they are, my grades for the offense in 2009. What do you think? Where was I too harsh or too lenient in my grading?
Next in the series will be my grades for the defense.