Worst Team in Football? Tennessee Titans Defy Logic with Colossal Slide

Bryan Hollister@too_old_4stupidAnalyst IOctober 20, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11:  Kerry Collins #5 of the Tennessee Titans looks on during the NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts at LP Field on October 11, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Colts defeated the Titans 31-9.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Somebody tell me Vince McMahon is behind this.

A professional wrestling script is the only logical reason I can come up with for why the Tennessee Titans have gone, in the span of one season, from a team that was a legitimate challenger for the Super Bowl to arguably the worst team in football right now, a team that will be lucky to have the same personnel and staff come next season.

Notice what I said: not the best team not to win a game.

The...worst...team...in...football .

The jokes have already started around Nashville:

How do you keep a Titan from coming in your house? Put a goal line in front of your door!

The Tennessee Titans have been listed by Las Vegas bookies as seven point underdogs against the bye week.

Richard and Mayumi Henne have been hired to coach the defense; they evidently know something about disguising coverage . They will be introducing the new Falcon defensive scheme against Jacksonville, with balloon coverage on passing downs.  

Fort Collins, CO police have declared the Titans season a scam and criminal charges are expected to be filed.

And finally....

Somewhere Pacman Jones is smiling and making it rain .

And this is from fans .

Damage control is in full bloom: Jeff Fisher and Bud Adams have both spoken publicly about Fisher's job, with Adams stating that he will not be making any changes midseason, and Fisher is attempting to simultaneously take responsibility for the breakdown and declare his eagerness to get back to work on Tuesday.

Comes off a little bit overzealous, if you ask me.

Fisher has already stated that putting Vince Young back in as starter if opportunity arose is not out of the question, but to hear former Titans wide receiver Drew Bennett talk about it, that would be the worst thing to do; according to Bennett, Young doesn't have the mentality to lead this team when they are winning, much less at 0-6 and headed for disaster.

Skills he has, said Bennett, but VY had his shot and he blew it by demonstrating an unhealthy propensity to pout and break down mentally when faced with adversity.

To paraphrase Gloria Stienem, it seems that Bennett feels the Titans need Young like a fish needs a bicycle. 

I mean, come on; 20 of 22 starters returned from last years 13-3 team. Albert Haynesworth, who is currently enjoying the monstrosity of a contract he wrangled out of the Redskins, and rewarding them with sub-par, mediocre play; and Justin McCariens, who is currently a free agent with little prospect of being picked up, are the only two players not to come back.

Neither is truly missed, but the team is playing like they were the keys to victory last year.

The offense stayed under the tutelage of Mike Hiemerdinger, the architect of the Titans "miracle" year of 1999, and a decade later, the offense that helped the Titans go 13-3 in 2008.

Oddly enough, there has been nothing, absolutely zip, from or about defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil, who took over the suffocating defense from Jim Schwartz when he departed to Detroit and promptly turned it into a sham of a unit.

But even that is a little unfair; Cecil was the defensive backs coach last year, with the same crew of corners and safeties he has—or at least had, before injuries starting taking them out one by one—this year. Did they all of a sudden forget how to communicate?


No, the Titans problems go much deeper than simple communication issues between coaches and players, or even between players and players. Communication problems don't just crop up out of nowhere.

Something happens in the relationship that makes it hard to get your point across, nearly impossible to read and react properly to the other person, and makes you shake your head and say publicly "I don't know what is going on, but there's no reason to point fingers because this is a team problem" while privately pointing the finger at the other guy for screwing things up.

Sounds almost like a marriage going down the tubes.

Maybe the team should spend the bye week in the Dr. Phil house and get their issues out in the open.

Because whether they deny it or not, they have issues.

Kerry Collins can say all he wants that he has seen this before and knows how to handle it, but that doesn't mean he has it under control. In fact, Collins' record should indicate to him that when this starts happening, he needs to have his real estate agent on speed dial.

Vince Young, for all his considerable athletic prowess, just isn't cut out to be a top tier NFL quarterback. Sorry, all you kool-aid-drinking VY fans out there, but facts are facts. If he were the answer, then his two appearances in the last two games would have showcased more than throw, almost get intercepted, hand off, hand off, kneel.

Either the Titans don't trust him to handle things even when it doesn't matter any more, or they are so worried about the effect of failure on Young that they are being overly protective, but either way, he won't get to achieve his NFL dream, folks; at least, I fear, not in Tennessee.

Kenny Britt, Nate Washington, and Justin Gage have dropped more passes than they have caught; I don't care who you have throwing it, if the receivers can't—or worse, won't —catch the ball, then it may as well be Joe Schmuckatelli off the street throwing it.

Britt can be excused to a point because he is a rookie wide receiver expected to produce big time for the Titans, and Nate Washington can be given the slightest bit of slack for having to deal with the obvious culture shock he is experiencing, but Justin Gage shouldn't be dropping passes like he is.

For that matter, none of them should; they get paid too much money to not be reeling in everything thrown their way.

The defense has two rookies on the corners that look like they just learned about American Football last week, and still have that "new helmet smell" around their locker.

I have never seen more dumbfounded looks on a football field than I did in Sunday's humiliation in my life. Every time a pass was caught, these two guys acted like it was the first time they had ever seen it happen.

And I used to coach 12-year-olds, so I know confused when I see it. If you want dumbfounded looks, that is the place to find them.

Don't get me wrong, I loved my boys, every one of them. But they were 12. Dumb looks are considered an art form at that age. In the NFL, they should be as rare as an eagle on a municipal golf course.

Keith Bullock just looks sad, legitimately sad, like he is mourning the loss of a favorite pet. He is too shocked to allow even a little bit of emotion to show in his interviews, and you know, just know , he is ready to rip someone's head off and do unmentionable things to the corpse.

Again, nothing at all has even been mentioned about Chuck Cecil.

But what caused the breakdown? Who said what or did what, or didn't do what, that has caused this utter and complete collapse?

Is there a possibility that all the talk about a "Terrible Towel Curse" has had some negative effect on the Titans? After all, there are those who would gladly point out corroborating evidence of other teams who have disrespected the Steelers symbol, only to pay dearly for it.

Don't get me wrong; I truly don't believe that Myron Cope's ghost is haunting the Titans sidelines wreaking havoc at every turn, but athletes are some of the most superstitious people on the planet.

And the mind is a powerful thing.

Could it be that the Titans have subconsciously decided that they screwed up big time with their rather unsportsmanlike antics last December, and the guilt is so overpowering that their play is affected before they even take the field?

Could they be secretly questioning themselves while at the same time displaying all the confidence in the world while on the practice field, thus masking the fact that they are just not feeling it?

Once again, my limited experience in youth leagues has shown me that there is a marked difference between practice and play; practice can look amazing, with everyone blocking, running, and covering exactly as they are supposed to.

But come game time, they act like they don't know which end of the football is up.

Is it too far-fetched to think that this is exactly the phenomenon affecting the Titans? Have they gotten it in their heads that they are gonna lose, and just go through the motions?

Their on-field attitude would certainly confirm that.

Whatever it is, they have an extra week to find a good headologist to help them figure it out. For those wondering, the difference between headology and psychiatry is that while a psychiatrist might try to convince the Titans that their problems were all in their head, a headologist would acknowledge the problems and provide them with the tools to address them. (Who said science fiction is useless? Terry Pratchett fans will know what I'm talking about .)

The Titans have only had three losing seasons since coming to Nashville. Oddly enough, they haven't been able to string more than two winning seasons together since beginning play on the east bank of the Cumberland River. And as recently as 2005, they went 4-12.

So it could be worse. But it couldn't be much more surprising.

Oh, did I point out that there hasn't been much talk at all about Coach Chuck Cecil?


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