Last year’s top team in the AFC is 0-6. Last year they did not lost 6 games, and went their first 10 without losing one, so what happened?
1) The Defense
Any Titans fan could have told you this a few weeks in and any fan with a pulse could have told you this after New England’s adjective-defying whooping. Injuries to Cortland Finnegan, Michael Griffin and others have not helped, but this team misses Albert Haynesworth more than it would like to admit. They are not getting the pressure on the QB they were last year, especially up the middle, and as a result their DBs have been having to play out of their minds just to keep guys covered. Add on top of that the injuries to the secondary and it is no wonder they are so vulnerable through the air. They could not stop Tom Brady or Peyton Manning and they frankly could not stop JaMarcus Russell, whichever QB the Browns decide to start or Jeff George.
2) The Passing Game
For the first few games, Kerry Collins looked ok early, but over the past few weeks he has turned in some of the worst performances in the league. This stretch included failing to complete a pass in the 4th quarter in a close game against the Jets, less than stellar protection and just bad decision making. The time has come to make a change, but I am not sure if Vince Young is the cure to what ails them. He will not come in as the ballyhooed QB he was a few years ago when he first got the starting job, but as the young kid getting his second shot. He did not put up great numbers in his first stint, but did nothing but win, and that is something that the Titans could use right about now.
This might be out of their control, but their early schedule has been brutal with teams like Indianapolis, New England, Pittsburgh, the upstart Jets, and everyone’s preseason darling Texans. That is brutal. It gets a little easier but they have an absolutely brutal schedule this year. This team was not prepared for the rigors of a 1st place schedule this year and they are showing that. A 5 win season would be an amazing finish, but Titans fans should really look more in the 3 range. The Titans are not as bad as their record, but certainly are not among the top half of the league.
HOW TO FIX IT
Titans fans, it is your lucky day because I am here to fix your team. Here’s what you do:
1) Start Vince Young
Look, I know he isn’t a pure passer, but he wins games and it gives offenses something to really think about when he drops back. They can pretty well guess what Collins is going to do, but Young gives them another dimension. He will help the ground game too. Let’s face it; it’s not like Kerry Collins was keeping the safeties out of the box. Get Vince in there, call plays for him that can build some swagger and keep handing the ball to Chris Johnson and “The Prince of Patron” Lendale White. The running game is still your strength, so build on it.
2) More blitzing
I am usually not a huge proponent of blitzing, but when you need pressure on the QB, it is sometimes necessary. You have 2 excellent LBs in Tulloch and Bulluck; why not throw one at the passer more often. You were struggling because you were not getting pressure on the QB and your defensive backs have struggled, so why not trying to rush them up the middle like Haynesworth did. I am no film expert and I do not know if this will work, but it seems like it will help out the defense. You can’t make your secondary get healthy faster, so do what you can to help them up front.
3) Get Healthy
Ok, easier said than done, but the point is that it will help a lot. I know this is small consolation for Titans fans, but it is time to start looking at next year and the draft. Don’t tank it, but do not be afraid to keep guys healthy. Do not put Chris Johnson out there when he is questionable. Keep your core good and work on your defense and wide receivers through the draft.