Adjusting The Playbook: The 2009 Tennessee Titans

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Adjusting The Playbook: The 2009 Tennessee Titans
(Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

No one likes to leave things up to chance, but there are question marks written all over this season for the Tennessee Titans.

The Titans playbook is up in the air with Vince Young's chances at starting.  As a quick, young, quarterback, Young is expected to be more agile than co-quarterback Kerry Collins, who is nearing 40. 

So can the Titans risk losing Young by not letting him start, and having Collins injured while he attempts a decent running game if the team is unable to rely on rookie receivers?

Based on last year's figures, the team is averaging just over 23 points a game, not necessarily a record-breaking per-game point score. 

But as division champs, they were ranked seventh overall in rushing yards at 137 yards.  The passing game suffered at 27th in the league last year.  In addition, the team ran for twice as many touchdowns as they passed for last season. 

Chris Johnson had an average of almost five yards per attempt to go along with nine touchdowns. LenDale White is right behind him with 773 yards and 15 touchdowns.  These are the men who need the ball, and the Titans coaching staff has to recognize that, and design plays that feed them. 

New running backs coach Earnest Byner, formerly of the Washington Redskins, has an excellent track record and will push the talented Johnson and White to their greatest potential.

Last year's passing plays fell short, as wide receiver Justin Gage gave decent, yet inconsistent performances. 

The classic mistake here is to focus too much emphasis on new wide receiver Kenny Britt, who is a rookie and should be forced to prove himself reliable before becoming the focal point of the Titan playbook.

Even learning the playbook can be difficult and pressure-filled for a rookie, and that's without performing it. Jeff Fisher told a Tennessee newspaper, "Their (rookies') minds are spinning right now because of all the information we've given them.”

The biggest change may be the movement from a passing game to a running game, and the key use of talented running backs.

I've called Jeff Fisher the best coach in football for a reason. Considering he concentrated on defense in his early coaching career, he will put his skills to the test to compensate for the loss of Albert Haynesworth in the defensive line.

Fisher will be aided by new defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil.


The defensive end of the Titans isn't promising right now, and the playbook will need to utilize Kyle Vanden Bosch, a sack leader for the team, to step into Haynesworth's gap.

The 2009 Titans will be all about settling on a quarterback, improving their defense, meticulously training new receivers, and knowing their strengths, as they currently lie in running backs.

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