College students around the United States are starting and finishing their finals this month and in the collegiate spirit I present you with “Testing the Starters: Tennessee Titans Edition.” We’ll discuss grades for some of the skill positions of the Tennessee Titans in 2009. Feel free to discuss and debate, I encourage your input. Enjoy.
Nate Washington: B
Washington isn’t a #1 starter but definitely will be a contributor. As a #3 receiver last year in Pittsburgh, he put up 631 yards and three touchdowns. He led the Steelers in yards per reception.
Justin Gage: B-
Gage is a deceiving player. He only had 651 yards as a #1 wideout, but with only 34 receptions he’s very explosive. Gage average almost 20 yards a reception and had six touchdowns. He might play better with Washington on the other side of the field, but only time will tell.
Bo Scaife: B+
Scaife is the go-to-guy in the passing game. As a tigtend, Scaife is a great play action weapon. If the Titans get there running game going, Scaife becomes more valuable.
Kenny Britt: ?+
The Titans finally picked up a receiver in the first round. This isn’t the kind of article that acts like it can predict what a player will do before he plays a down in the NFL. Good luck to you, Britt.
Kerry Collins: C
Collins offers game management skills. His job in the Titan’s offense is to not turn the ball over and covert third and longs. He isn’t the future of the team, but he’s okay in the meantime.
Vince Young: D+
There are two options for VY to have a future. He could bury his nose into the playbook and makes great strides in football knowledge. On the other hand, the Titans could install a simple offense like he had in college. Something has got to change or he can forget ever being a starter again.
Chris Johnson: A-
If he hadn’t been hurt in the middle of the divisional playoff game last year, Johnson might have been playing in a Super Bowl. Look for this kid to make great strides in his second year.
LenDale White: C-
White is most productive on dive plays when he only needs to gain 2-3 yards. He doesn’t run well in space and can only be productive in a running back tandem. He won’t have as many touchdowns in 2009 as 2008, but he’ll still produce in short yardage situations.
Offensive Linemen: A
The Titan’s O-line is a talented group that can both pass protect and run block. With Kevin Mawae, Jake Scott and David Stewart on the right side of the line, the Titans could run Chris Johnson on a stretch play to the right every down.
I hate to grade this group as one, but the pieces aren’t as important as the puzzle in this case. They lost Haynesworth and their Defensive coordinator, but with their veteran leadership and enthusiasm, expect them to be successful. We won’t see many new faces in this squad, so don’t expect much change.
Tennessee Titans: B
The Titans are a playoff caliber team, but need more stability in the passing game to be more productive. Whether that means Vince Young or another young quarterback, the Titans are a couple pieces away from being a power house.