As the 2009 season begins to take shape, there are a few trends that may be emerging. I believe there are a few players who are on the verge of being exposed. In some instances, these players “are who we thought they were.” We didn’t really think they were great. However, they may have been kept afloat by winning teams. They might be “good old boys” with a strong fan base and an entourage of media lackeys (image — Ed Werder and Tony Romo; Chris Berman and Brett Favre).
I’m not going after Favre and Romo in this edition. After all, that’s too easy. “Back Foot Tony” has never won a playoff game and his idol “Back Foot Brett” hasn’t won more than one playoff game in a season since 1998.
I’d rather start with a guy who was on top of the world in 2008, and appears to be doing just fine right now.Naked to the World. Kerry Collins – QB, Tennessee Titans.
I know. Collins could be considered easy pickin’s as well, but unlike Romo and Favre, the Titans of 2008 were not a media creation. They didn’t open a fancy new stadium. They don’t get by on the antics of their owner or retirement drama. The Titans are a meat and potatoes bunch of guys who make an occasional deep run in the playoffs. Of course, the problem for the Titans is that whenever they have a very good team, the Baltimore Ravens have a better one. And besides, Collins has nice numbers so far.
Collins, though, is about to come undone. Against the Steelers, Collins played well enough to win. He was 22-35 with a touchdown and an interception. In Week 2, in a loss vs. the Texans, he was 21-33 with two touchdowns and an interception. The Titans also scored 31 points. So, what’s the problem?
Tapping out at 12. In the three games of four games before this breakout, the Titans had not managed to score more than 12 points. Against teams that are capable of loading up to stop the run, the Titans are having a tougher and tougher time moving the ball.
3rd and Long is a GOOD THING. The Texans allowed 24 points by halftime. In the 2nd half, they had no intention of loosening up their defense. In fact, the only points Tennessee could muster in the 2nd half was on a draw play on 3rd and 11. The Texans loosened up because of the down and distance. The Titans were backed up to their own 9 yard line. Chris Johnson took a draw (for the 2nd time in the game) to the house — 91 yards. That’s not going to happen every week. I bet it won’t happen again this season unless the Lions come calling.
First Place Schedule. The Titans have already lost to one first place team on their schedule. They’ve also lost at home to a division rival that doesn’t play in Indianapolis. That’s not good. The Titans are not going to surprise anyone this season.
Here come the Jets. The Titans couldn’t beat the Jets in 2008 at home. The Jets look like an improved bunch and they’re led by a man who knows exactly how to beat the Titans. They even have a safety in Kerry Rhodes who can twist Chris Johnson around the same way that Ed Reed did in last season’s playoff game. Kerry Collins is not going to be able to pass his way out of this mess and Chris Johnson is going to be faced with fewer and fewer options as the season progresses.
If the Titans drop to 2-5 or 3-7, don’t be surprised if the fans wonder why a 37-year old quarterback is leading this franchise. After the Jets, the Titans will face a Jacksonville Jaguars team playing for Jack Del Rio’s job; the Colts and the Patriots. Last Sunday was the time to get it together. By the time the bye week arrives, we’ll know all we need to know about this team.