Ranking the Running Game, Pt. 27: Tennesse Titans
Part 27 of a 32 part series, a running back position analysis of each franchise. This off-season the Titans are coming off their first playoff appearance since 2003. The Titans faced the Chargers in the Wild Card game. The game was a tale of two-halves, in the first half the Chargers were shutout had three yards rushing and managed only 3 first downs. The game was virtually over when the Chargers went for the touchdown on fourth-and-goal on their first drive of the fourth quarter.
LaDanian Tomlinson hopped over a pile of Titans’ defenders, came up short and then extended his arms over the goal line with a second effort to give the Chargers a 17-6 lead. The Chargers intercepted Vince Young two possessions later, sealing the Chargers’ first playoff win since 1994. Making the post season for the Titans wasn’t a small feat when you look at the AFC South division. The Colts won 13 games, the Jaguars won 11 games and in third place were the Titans with 10 wins.
Even the last place Texans were tough, how many other last place teams won 6 home games? A return appearance to the playoffs is far from guaranteed. The development of QB Vince Young bears watching with the firing of former offensive coordinator Norm Chow. Mike Heimerdinger was brought back for a second stint to run the offense. He held the Offensive Coordinator job from 2000-04. Heimerdinger, who left Denver in order to have play-calling authority with the Titans.
He was very effective in his last term with the team helping Steve McNair to an MVP season in 2003. He is now charged with developing Vince Young, who regressed in his second season after being named the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2006. The Titans have a huge need for a No. 1 Wide Receiver and are in need of a shakeup at the position for Mike Heimerdinger to be able to open up the playbook and enhance Vince Young’s development. The Titans’ needs are DT, WR, OG, DE and CB. The Titans’ as a team rushed for 131.8 yards per game.
· LenDale White: 6’ 1” 235 lbs, 303 Att, 1,110 Yards, 3.7 YPC Avg, 7 TD’s
· Chris Brown: 6’ 3” 220 lbs, 102 Att, 462 Yards, 4.5 YPC Avg, 5 TD’s
· Chris Henry: 5’ 11” 230 lbs, 31 Att, 119 Yards, 3.8 YPC Avg, 2 TD’s
· Quinton Ganther: 5’ 9” 218 lbs. rookie free agent from Utah
The Titans had one of the league’s most conservative offenses in ’07. The team preferred to let LenDale White wear down defenses and place Vince Young in favorable down-and-distance situations. I’m expecting the attack to more aggressive in Vince’s second full season as the starter. Chris Brown had his moments but he is now a member of the division-rival Houston Texans.
Chris Henry, a change-of-pace back; who served his 4 game suspension, then showed very little vision or instincts but the coaching staff feels that these things will come in time. The Titans need to draft a running back but not in the 1st round. 1stround targets for the Titans are WR’s James Hardy, Limas Sweed and Andre Caldwell. In the event the Titans want to fill their need at DE possible targets are Calais Campbell, Derrick Harvey and Lawrence Jackson. A DT is needed in the middle rounds like Marcus Harrison.
The question for the Titans: Is this the year Vince Young is paired with a No.1 Wide Receiver?
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