My son was born two weeks before the 2013 season began. I was a proud father and a hopeful sports fan. Finally, in the third year of our Munchak, this was going to be the Titans’ year.
They’d prove how overrated the Texans are. They’d finally defeat Andrew Luck and his fellow demonspawn. And they’d surely defeat Jacksonville, BECAUSE JACKSONVILLE.
I’m sorry, son, but the Titans dropped their first game against the Texans, one of their only two wins. They didn’t defeat the Colts, and Andrew Luck remains undefeated against the Titans in his NFL career. And they managed to give the Jaguars their first win of the season in Week 10—YES, JACKSONVILLE.
I’m sorry, son, but we’re Tennessee Titans fans.
Philip Rivers has been a bane to the Titans his entire career. He’s picked apart the formidable secondary, eluded volatile pass rushers and kept his Chargers ahead in every meeting of their career, extending a San Diego win streak over Tennessee dating back to ‘92. Week 3 would have been no different.
But Jake Locker flipped the coin, landed on tails and decided he wouldn’t get hurt that day. He threw 299 yards, had over 60 on the ground (and a TD) and completed 7-of-9 passes with two minutes left, including a 34-yard scoring throw to Justin Hunter to pull ahead 20-17 with 15 seconds left.
The Titans offense clicked with Locker on the field, making plays. Despite the once-potent Chris Johnson relegated to a supporting role (where that greedy fuck belongs), the Titans were able to make due with strong play from the offense and a defense forcing turnovers. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
EVERY SECOND HALF OF EVERY FOOTBALL GAME THEY PLAYED THIS SEASON. The Titans were in 12 games decided by 8 points or less, winning only half of them. There were many factors in place, but the most important was the second half defense by the Titans’ secondary.
With both Jerry Gray and Gregg Williams on the defensive coaching staff, the squad was split between two alphas with their own styles. We all know Williams and his penchant for attempted murder on the field, but Gray, now the Vikings’ Secondary coach, isn’t quite as intense. This translated on the field in the worst way.
Whenever playing from a lead, once the second half started, the Titans defensive backs would revert to a soft zone defense, allowing quarterbacks like Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson and that shit-heel Andrew Luck to carve them up. The loss to the Broncos was particularly terrible, considering they lead 21-20 at the half then allowed 31 points. Awful, awful play.
I think the popular notion was that Alterraun Verner played out of his mind, which is why he got that big Free Agent contract from the Buccaneers. But I’m hesitant to say a corner is the best, especially when he’s not that great of a cover-guy and is playing opposite one of the best cover-guys in the game in Jason McCourty.
No, Old Man Pollard earned the MVP nods this season. He brought a sense of urgency and intensity, matching that Gregg Williams style of hard-hitting football. The entire secondary unit benefitted from his play.
Bernard Pollard notched 99 total tackles and 3 interceptions, providing an edge missing from quiet players like Michael Griffin and McCourty. Verner will be missed, but Pollard’s extension was the necessary move for the Titans going forward.
What was I, a drunk Titans fan, yelled at the TV this season?
“GOD DAMMIT FITZ YOU HARVARD BITCH THIS ISN’T A GAME OF FOX-TAIL. Oh well, so long as they don’t sign an even shittier back-up, like John Skelton.”
The Titans sign John Skelton.
“THIS IS WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE JACKSONVILLE.”
Forced Pop Culture Comparison
You know how Lost’s first season was pretty intriguing, almost exciting? And the second season kicked that up a notch with some weird pseudo-science shit and ultraviolet maps? Let’s compare that to Locker busting out the pocket with bombs to Kendall Wright, and Jurrell Casey and Zach Brown rushing the quarterback, and Verner and McCourty shutting down receivers.
Now let’s compare the third season of Lost on up to the Titans, where everything fell apart, nonsensical choices were being made, and it ended in a clusterfuck so disappointing that people can’t help but gag.
I know it sounded like a stretch at first, but find me a more apt comparison and I will buy you a beer.
Ken Whisenhunt, Ray Horton and the new coaching staff are nothing to slouch at, so this should give both offense and defense a shot in the arm. The special teams was bolstered by the resigning of Leon Washington and acquisition of Dexter McCluster, a strong improvement compared to one of the league’s worst return units last year.
With Kenny Britt departing, the Titans can focus on developing their young receivers in Wright and Justin Hunter, but they need a better run-blocking system in place with capable tight-ends.
Both Shonn Greene and CJ have proven to be inconsistent at best and busts at worst. Depending on what they decide to do with their line, and who if any of these two backs they decide to keep, their season could be over before it begins.
Also, if we can give Jack Locker an adamantium skeleton a la Wolverine, that’d be great.
An Entirely Too Early Prediction for 2014
I expect the team to stick firmly around the 8-8 mark for the next couple years until the offensive line can get its shit together. They’ll do better than the other shit-heaps in the conference, but will still be chasing the Colts for that playoff spot.