When people think of the Tennessee Titans, the first name that comes to mind is Chris Johnson.
Beyond that, the only common players are names of the past in Albert Haynesworth, Vince Young and Eddie George.
But the Titans of today have silently assembled a strong team, a force to be reckoned with in the AFC.
With the acquisition of Matt Hasselbeck to accompany a mediocre receiving core and a premier running back, Tennessee’s offense might finally have what it takes to break through.
The team’s defensive schemes have always worked, and it’s not unusual to see the Titans among the NFL’s top defensive teams. But since their Superbowl appearance at the start of the decade, the team has lacked one thing, a consistent quarterback.
Now, with a veteran at the helm, the Titans are looking to right the ship and get back to the big game.
First, though, they’ll have to make the playoffs.
With the AFC South in shambles (Peyton Manning’s plaguing injuries, Jacksonville’s quarterback situation, and Houston’s horrid defensive unit), Tennessee is primed to make their first playoff appearance in two years, when they had the number one overall seed in the AFC before losing to the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round.
But who was their quarterback?
While Kerry Collins is a veteran, his statistics are nowhere near to those of Hasselbeck.
With a Superbowl appearance under his belt, Seattle’s main man put up strong, consistent numbers on a lowly offense.
He played in the NFC West, which is known for its lackluster offensive talent and strong defensive rosters—it’s not easy for any quarterback to succeed in that division; in the past decade, only Kurt Warner (playing for the Rams at one point and the Cardinals at another) has put up better numbers in the division than Hasselbeck.
His frequent injuries can be accredited to a poor offensive line, but the truth is, Hasselbeck’s best years came when he played with an elite running back.
Shaun Alexander, during his three year span of dominance, was the leading force of the offense; Hasselbeck just kept the ball moving when he had to, and took the back seat to the real star.
In Tennessee, the veteran will have another opportunity to do just that.
Running back Chris Johnson is on the verge of history, if he continues to put up similarly outstanding numbers.
But he can bring the Titans out of the basement and into the light of day. He can make a contender out of this team.