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Titans Offense: Receivers the Problem, Not Norm Chow

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Titans Offense: Receivers the Problem, Not Norm Chow

Former Tennessee offensive coordinator Norm Chow, whom the Titans fired last week, was destined to fail in Nashville.

The offensive genius came from USC, the marquee school that became a national dynasty in the pass-happy Pac-10. Sure, he had great running backs before coming to Nashville, but he also had great passing games as a complement.

That is something Chow didn't have in Tennessee.

Further, Chow didn't have a stellar running attack with the Titans, either. Tennessee ended the regular season ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing with 131 per game, but the team also was first in rushing attempts with 34 per week. When you run the ball that many times, you're going to rack up yardage, albeit incrementally.

The true tell-all in the running game lies in the yards per carry category, where Tennessee ranked 20th in the league with a ho-hum 3.9 a touch. This is one of those rare times the popular numbers are misleading.

As far as the aerial game goes, it's clear part of the blame lies squarely on much-heralded quarterback Vince Young, who had almost twice as many picks as scoring throws and a poor 71.1 passer rating during the regular season.

But an equal part of the blame, which negatively affected Young's numbers, belongs to a receiving corps that dropped scads of passes.

Who knows how much better Young's numbers would have been if Roydell Williams and the wideouts had sticky hands?

With the lack of talent at the receiver position and a sketchy quarterback, there was no way Tennessee was going to make any significant offensive headway in 2007. In the NFL you must have a strong talent to make it big, and Chow simply didn't have the tools with which to replicate his magic from USC. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have raised the already high bar thanks to their arms and their targets, and Tennessee simply failed in that area.

Was Chow part of the problem? Definitely. After all, the Titans ran the ball too much with their less-than-stellar backs. But it makes one wonder what would have happened to Chow if Tennessee had a couple of strong, reliable receivers.

It also makes one wonder if new coordinator Mike Heimerdinger will succeed if the Titans' receiving corps is neglected during the offseason.

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