I don’t know what it is, but something about the Tennessee Titans makes them utterly forgettable to me. If you asked me to name the 32 teams in the NFL in less than a minute or be dropped into a shark tank, I’d be Samuel L. Jackson for sure, because they would be the one team I couldn’t name. They always seem to go under the radar every year, winning enough games to stay out of lottery contention, but not enough to actually matter. Even last year, they went 9-7, but barely were talked about in the final stretch of the season. Part of that probably lies with the domination of their division until recently by the Colts. But now, even with Manning leaving and the Colts reaching mid-90s level of terrible, another team has taken the mantle, leaving the Titans to languish in the background.
All of this could change; in fact, it could change as soon as today, if Peyton Manning decides to sign with the Titans after meeting with them all day yesterday (side note: I know they are trying to sign him, but I really couldn’t spend 8-10 hours with the same people all day. Maybe I’m just anti-social like that). And if Peyton does sign, and he is still as good as advertised, maybe I’ll remember who the Titans are. If not, Vince Young is still on the team, right? No? Oh. Dang.
This is the Tennessee Titans retrospective.
Team Highlight: As I’m looking at their schedule from last year, it’s occurring to me why they are the Invisible Team to me. Out of their nine wins last year, they did beat three playoff teams. However, one was a division rival who had already wrapped up the division (and were being quarterbacked by Jake fucking Delhomme) and the second one was the Denver Broncos. So, by way of ho-hum elimination, the best win of the Titans season was their first, against the Baltimore Ravens. This was before the Ravens made it clear that “losing a letdown game after an exhilarating win” was on their Interests list on Facebook. The Titans forced 3 turnovers and Kenny Britt caught 9 passes for 135 yards and a score. So that was fairly impressive. It’s really sad, though, that in the Titans best win of the season, Chris Johnson’s longest gain from scrimmage was 7 yards. Ouch.
Team Lowlight: You don’t want to be the team to lose to a winless team. You especially don’t want to be the team that lets Donald Brown get 161 yards on the ground. And you REALLY don’t want to be the team that loses by two touchdowns while only allowing 287 total yards of offense. Yet, the Titans were all of those teams in one week, against the lowly Indianapolis Colts. The saddest thing is that the loss was the Titans’ 7th of the season, and if they had beaten the Colts, they would have made the playoffs. Now that’s the sort of tragedy that would even make Shakespeare go “Come on, man, that’s just sad.” Or something vaguely more Elizabethan.
Team MVP: Again the problem is that no one shined on this team. No one player made me take notice. In fact, the only thing I really noticed looking at their stats was, “How the hell did Chris Johnson get a 1000 yard rushing season?” Then I saw that Nate Washington got 1000 yards receiving and 7 touchdowns, and I noticed his name is Nate. FINE! NATE WASHINGTON IS THE TEAM MVP!
Needs: Part of what I noticed when looking at the stats was that no one got a lot of sacks on this team. Obviously the dynamic pass rush that existed a few years ago is gone, and they need a top defensive end to get that back. It’s possible that they’ll find a prospect in the draft, but if they can get John Abraham as a stopgap until their pick gains experience, I’d go for it. Even with Finnegan gone, the secondary is okay, although they could use some help at safety. They resigned Jordan Babineaux, but I really don’t think he’s part of the solution.
What’s in a Titans fan’s Liquor Cabinet: This is easy. JD, baby.
Except not the real JD, because that would be too in-your-face and aggressive. So instead, they want something smooth and easy, something you probably won’t notice is there. So they’ll be drinking JD Honey, and I’ll be making fun of them behind their backs.
Jango Scale of Scandal Likelihood:
Like I said, Vince Young isn’t on the team. I don’t expect anyone to do anything stupid with Mike Munchak injecting each player with discipline shots. Chris Johnson can’t hold out for a second year in a row (although if there was a way, he’d probably figure out how to do it). So it should be a relatively quiet offseason in Nashville.
Entirely too Early Prediction for 2012: Here’s what I’m afraid of. I’m afraid that Hasselbeck is really done. I’m afraid that Jake Locker isn’t ready. I’m afraid that the Colts will get better, the Jaguars will get better, and the Texans will stay good. I think Chris Johnson will have a good year, but I’m just not sure everything will come together for them. 8-8.
Tomorrow, Ben will cover the Texans to see if they can overcome the disastrous decision to cut Matt Leinart.