"Well, there's always next year."
It's the universal statement and rallying cry for the undermanned and underachieving all over.
For some organizations, it's wishful thinking. For others, it bears a certain air of legitimacy.
Ideally, the Tennessee Titans fall into the latter category—if they play their cards right.
But first, they must come to grips with the grim realization that their season is, in fact, lost. Trouble is, it's not a player's (or coach's) inherent nature to roll over and concede defeat. Pride is as much a vice as it is a virtue at this point.
And in situations like these, that could be bad.
To be 2-3 or even 1-4 would merit the normal "what's best to win right now" aesthetic. But to be 0-5 means two things:
1. You're going to be a spoiler at best, and
2. With nothing to lose, why not try out new schemes, players and philosophies?
Devil's advocacy would pinpoint coach Jeff Fisher's job security as the most obviously vulnerable. But given his unofficial "Dean of NFL Coaches" title and normally stable history with the team, his seat looks to be, well, not hot.
Considering the hard and fast facts of the AFC South, the Titans would be wise to experiment. This year, they're not going to scare anybody.
Mr. Fisher, time to bench the one-year-wonder Kerry Collins. Whether he's better than Vince Young is irrelevant—it's not like it's 1996 and he actually has an upside. It's time to shake things up. Worst-case scenario, you draft another play-maker in what looks to be a quarterback-rich draft in '10.
Mr. Fisher, time to show the over-the-hill Alge Crumpler to the door and give the uber-talented Jared Cook a shot. Time to see just what promising rookie wide receiver Kenny Britt has.
Time to make the most out of a season that was arguably lost in week two. As pathetic as it may sound, there's something to be said for "losing with a purpose." Just look at the 1-15 1989 Dallas Cowboys.
Yes, they were hapless, but they were loaded with raw talent, on a mission, and knew they'd compete again in a very short time. They harbored no illusions that they would actually compete that year.
Three Super Bowls (in four years) later, no one in Irving, Texas, was complaining.
Given the talent and youth on the 2009 Tennessee Titans, there's never been a better time for experimentation.
This year, the promising palate of a season has thus far served nothing but lemons.
Time to make lemonade