The Tennessee Titans are looking at what should be an interesting offseason. To start everything off, there is a major quarterback controversy. People may think I'm crazy for even calling it that, especially after the season Kerry Collins had as he led us to a 13-3 season, and the 1st seed in the playoffs, but I look at it in a different way.
Vince Young was benched due to an injury he received in the season opener against the Jaguars. Collins came in and immediately made a difference, dumping off a pass to Bo Scaife on a third and long that Scaife turned in to a long gain, a play which helped Tennessee go on to win the game 17-10. Later on in the week, reports came out that Young was suicidal when he left his home without his cell phone.
I found these reports very stupid, and they were indeed false. He had just went to watch football with friends and left his cell phone. It ended up being no big deal, but Fisher eventually went on to name Collins the full-time starter. We all know what happened next, as the Titans ended up being 13-3, but here's my point: Collins isn't as good as his numbers or record show.
Collins ended up with pretty solid numbers, 12 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, if you include the playoffs. But when looking closer at the games, you'll see that Collins throws way too high on most short passes and has a tendency to overthrow receivers. I've had people use the excuse "Well it's not like Young could do better." I beg to differ.
I didn't see Justin Gage going up for passes like he did for Collins, and Young didn't even throw high as often as Collins. The receivers didn't try as hard for Young as they did for Collins. Is that a trust issue? I don't know. Collins is a veteran, and the receivers may definitely have more trust in him, but that's really not an excuse to not help our your young quarterback.
People are acting as if Collins is some sort of god, and it's quite stupid. He's definitely done nothing to show that he should be the starter next year. The success of the offense was due to Chris Johnson, who in my opinion is the second best running back in the NFL behind Adrian Peterson.
Collins played exactly like Young did last year, it's just the fact that the wide receivers played harder for Collins than they did Young. Maybe they got better in the offseason, or maybe it's the trust issue like I said. Either way, Collins still has done nothing to prove he should be the starter.
Gage and Scaife have emerged as threats at wide receiver and tight end respectively, so if Young gets another shot, it should be easier. I know some people are thinking "There has already already been a report that Collins was named the starter, useless argument." That report is a bunch of crap, and I won't think otherwise until Fisher says it himself. It is way too early to be naming a starter.
Now that we're past the quarterback issue, lets look at who we need to resign and who we need to look at in free agency.
Top 3 priorities to resign:
No. 1: Bo Scaife, Tight End.
Scaife showed rapid improvement from previous years and emerged as a serious threat to defenders. This helped the whole receiving team get better as they had better shots at getting open. Scaife has emerged as a top tight end in the league, and should definitely be resigned.
No. 2: Rob Bironas, Kicker.
Bironas has shown he's one of, if not the best, kicker in the NFL. He has very good accuracy and very good leg power to go along with it. The Titans have always had good luck in finding kickers, but Bironas is not one you want to let go. He's a guy you can count on to win you the game at any time.
No. 3: Albert Haynesworth, Defensive Tackle.
I know, I know. You're all thinking "Why is the best defensive tackle in the league so low on your list, and below a tight end AND a kicker?"
You all have good reason to wonder that, and here's why: He's going to cost a lot. Personally, I feel we can let him go and still do fine.
Would it be a loss? Yes. But Jason Jones, Dave Ball, Tony Brown, Kevin Vickerson and Jacob Ford all proved to be very good replacements along the d-line, and I feel they can fill in the hole quite well. However, Haynesworth is still a great player, and deserves to be on the top priority list.
Top Free Agents To Look At (I'm not ranking them, simply because the needs are all pretty big):
Terrell Suggs, OLB, 2008 Team: Baltimore Ravens
Keith Bulluck is getting old, and we need to find a replacement. Suggs would definitely fill that void. While I LOVE Bulluck, I think we should trade him while we can get something good for him. His production is starting to go down a bit, but he still gives it his all, and his contract is almost up. We need to get something good for Bulluck while we can. Suggs is the person that can replace him.
Devery Henderson, WR, 2008 Team: New Orleans Saints
Henderson would fill the "extra speed" need we have on this team, as the only true "speed" guy we have on this team is Chris Johnson. He's never been a go-to threat for the Saints, but he's scored at least three touchdowns in each of his four seasons, and had a career-high 793 yards this year. Justin Gage is a good possession receiver, and Henderson would go along nicely with him as the speed receiver.
Jeff Saturday, C, 2008 Team: Indianapolis Colts
While I think Leroy Harris looked decent filling in for Kevin Mawae against the Ravens in the playoff game, grabbing a top-of-the-line center would definitely help. All signs are that Mawae is coming back, but he's old, and he's had some injury problems in the recent years.
I believe the Colts will do everything they can to get Saturday back, but we have plenty of cap room and could offer him a good sum of money. If we were to get him, trading Mawae wouldn't be a problem.
Top Draft Needs
Cortland Finnegan emerged as a star along with Michael Griffin in what was a deadly secondary for the Tennessee Titans in 2008, but the No. 2 CB is what has been the problem. Nick Harper was the normal starter, but he was slowed by injuries, and was beat quite often later in the year. Eric King looked decent, but not starter worthy, and got knocked out for the year by injury. Chris Carr even played some at the CB position, but we need to keep him as a kick returner.
Top 3 Possibilities:
Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois
DJ Moore, CB, Vanderbilt
Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State (Least likely, as he'll probably be a top 10 pick. )
If we can't get Terrell Suggs, grabbing an outside linebacker in the draft would be key. We drafted Stanford Keglar out of Purdue last year in the later rounds, and while he's looked o.k. on special teams, I don't think he's the guy you want taking over. Collin Allred played o.k. in the preseason, but just like Keglar, I don't believe he's a guy that could start and be very productive.
Top 3 Possibilities:
Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest
Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State (Will most likely switch to LB )
Clint Sintim, LB, Virginia
While I believe getting Devery Henderson is very much so possible, I also don't believe he's a player at the top of the list for us to get. If we don't end up grabbing him, there are plenty of receivers to chose from in the draft. Justin Gage has emerged as a No. 1 receiver on the team, and a great possession guy, but what the Titans need is a threat down the field. There are plenty of those players in this draft.
Top 3 Possibilities:
Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland
Well, that about does it for this preview of the Tennessee Titans Off-Season. I will have a review of it after the draft, and see if anything I said ended up becoming true. Thanks for reading.