Congratulations Michael Phelps

I figured it was a more intriguing headline than “Titans vs. Raiders pre-season game notes”. It’s been awesome following Phelps for the last week. I have never watched this much swimming in my entire life. I haven’t gone swimming as much as I’ve watched it this Olympics. So really, congrats to that dude. He just had me standing in front of my television yelling “Go baby! USA!” in an empty house. Pathetic maybe, but also patriotic. Plus, he listens to Wayne to get pumped up before races. How cool is that? Um, music video cameo please? The only thing about that guy I don’t like is that he’s a Ravens fan. That just makes me sick…

If you can’t already tell, I don’t have a whole lot to say about last night’s game, other than that it was ugly. Coming off of the rushing clinic the Titans put on the Rams last week, it was clear that Heimerdinger wanted to establish the passing game straight out of the gate against a good Raiders secondary. Unfortunately, Vince Young couldn’t get on the same page with his receivers, as he overthrew, underthrew and flat out missed them for most of his time on the field. It was just a small sampling, but his performance last night was a clear example of why so many have been skeptical about Young’s ability to succeed in the NFL. Since it was a nationally televised game on Fox, there was a lot of talk about what we have heard around here for quite some time: “Vince has worked on his footwork all off-season” and “Heimerdinger has Young stepping up in the pocket more to throw off of his front foot”, but it sure didn’t seem like it. Time and time again replays showed Young throwing off his back foot and with his hips open wide. To be perfectly honest, I thought he looked terrible and yes, I am a bit worried. Listen, the guy has tons of potential. He is a winner, and he always has been. What he lacks as a more prototypical quarterback, he makes up for with his feet and his ability to stretch out plays. What worries me though is that these bad habits he has adopted throughout college and the NFL (i.e. bad passing form, inability to lead the receiver, knowing that he is the best athlete on the field and taking that for granted) are now catching up with him and hindering his progress as an NFL quarterback.

I did think that our receivers played well when there was a catchable ball thrown their way. Bo Scaife (3-40) played a really solid game, and I think Crumpler’s presence will actually open up the field a lot for him. He catches well, blocks well and has a nice rapport with VY from their days at Texas. Justin Gage was solid as usual. He knows how much is expected of him this year and to this point, he has given Titans fans every reason to believe that he can lead this group. Lavelle Hawkins continues to impress, hauling in two passes for 70 yards, including a 51-yard touchdown catch that he went up and got and broke away from two defenders on his way to the end zone. He also returned two punts for 16 yards and two kickoffs 48 yards. I think Heimerdinger is going to do all he can to find a way to get the rookie onto the field. Chris Davis and Biren Ealy (3-70) came up in the clutch as they both made nice grabs on balls thrown by Ingle Martin on the final drive that led to the game-winning John Vaughn field goal. Ealy and Martin are playing for spots on this team, so it was nice to see them step up. The staff is going to have a hard time cutting this roster down.

Chris Johnson was probably the highlight of the night again (outside of the Hawkins TD), rushing for 46-yards on eight carries. He looked sharp in waiting for his blockers and getting up field. Johnson has made no secret of the fact that he wants to be the Offensive Rookie of the Year, and so far, I haven’t been more impressed with any of the other rookies from this draft class. It has become quite apparent that Johnson will play a huge role in this offense, and the more he plays, and plays well this preseason, the better off he will be when it’s time to play on Sundays. I’m looking forward to seeing him then.

On a side note, Darren McFadden did look rather good last night (6-44), and if there is anyone that can give Johnson competition for the award, I imagine it will be McFadden.

Other than that, it was a pretty slow game. The team had more penalties than Fisher would like (10-72), but they didn’t turn the ball over and had two takeaways to boot. I don’t know if we learned a whole lot last night, but that is why they play these preseason games. There are a lot of kinks to work out during this time, so to see some of those as “works-in-progress”, and still come out with a win is a plus. The next preseason game is Friday at Atlanta. We’ll see if the Titans have learned from any of their mistakes then. See you at the Georgia Dome…

LINKS

If you really want to watch

Titans aren’t worried about offense

Titans solidify big piece of secondary

Whatever you say Fish…

Hawkins makes nice catch / Ingle hopes to catch on

Topics: Alge Crumpler, Atlanta Falcons, Biren Ealy, Bo Scaife, Chris Davis, Chris Johnson, Cortland Finnegan, Darren McFadden, Fox, Georgia Dome, Ingle Martin, Jeff Fisher, Justin Gage, Lavelle Hawkins, Michael Phelps, Mike Heimerdinger, NFL, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams, Tennessee Titans, University Of Texas, USA, Vince Young

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  • jwhelan

    I will look forward to your blog post on women’s individual pursuit cycling semifinals…

    Chris “Olympics” Johnson? Chris ‘lympics Johnson? Chris “Gold Medal” Johnson? 

    While I don’t disagree that Vince didn’t not play poorly (pardon the quadruple negative), I think, “our receivers played well when there was a catchable ball thrown their way” is a stretch. I didn’t think Gage had a particularly good game, when Vince lofted that ball (I think to McCareins) after pump-faking he didn’t really fight for it in the air, Hawk gave up downfield on a free play, Gold Medal Johnson dropped some balls coming out of the backfield, and Paul Williams must have some really “interesting” pictures of Mike Reinfeldt, because that dude can’t play football. 

    I just think the passing offense as a whole sucked. It is frustrating, but i think we only need to be average throwing the ball to be a very good team. So while we’re not there yet, we don’t have far to go. Scaife did make some nice catches though.

  • gnbishop

    if vince puts up similar numbers to last year, do you think we are a playoff team?

  • jwhelan

    that’s a good question…

    one scenario: Vince, under a new O.C. and throwing to two new starters (Crumpler and McCareins), struggles early on. Our defense and rushing attack keep in us in games, and a healthy VY only has to make a few plays for us start off 3-1. He gets more comfortable with the offense, and come playoff time no wants to play us: brutally physical on both sides of the ball, with a quarterback that can make plays no one else can. -in this scenario VY really wouldn’t have to have a lot more tds than last year, maybe 15 including rushing tds

  • jwhelan

    scenario 2 (hater edition): Vince struggles early, tries to do too much on the field, gets banged up again, becomes even more ineffective, chants of “INGLE! INGLE! INGLE!” heard at LP, Titans miss playoffs.

  • jwhelan

    my favorite scenario: our rushing attack is so good Vince is under no immediate pressure, develops a solid connection with crumpler, and on our 10 year anniversery we’re back in the superbowl.
    —-

    but to anwser your question: if Vince throws 19 ints I dont think we make the playoffs

  • gnbishop

    i’m definitely a fan of three as well. scenario one would work too. the less pressure we put on vince in the beginning of the season, the better he will develop that rapport with the receivers, esp. crumpler (who i think will do wonders for vy’s progress). again though, if we can control the clock and the line of scrimmage, we’ll stay in most games while not asking vince to do things that he isn’t able to do yet.

    what do you think about “solid gold”? chris “solid gold” johnson? eh, no, maybe? i’ll credit sarah with that one, although it was used in a completely different context. or we could call him the “24th olympiad”. just throwing some of these around.

  • Vinsanity10

    Yeah, I like scenario 1, I definately think that’s plausible. If people remember, we started out the 99′ season winning close ballgames, and the offense didn’t scare anyone but was just good enough to squeak out a win. However, as the season went on we started erupting in point production and putting up some gaudy numbers on O, so let’s hope this season will produce similar results, minus  the whole coming up a yard short to lose the damn super bowl. 

  • gnbishop

    it’s kinda eerie how similar the two teams are isn’t it. two mobile qb’s that do nothing but win (although steve was farther along as an nfl qb at that point), two starting rb’s that average about 3.5 ypc but somehow are productive and get the job done, two great te’s that are as consistent as anyone in the league and two defenses that really set the tempo of the game. i guess we had mason, but after that there wasn’t really a receiver to speak of. funny enought that the coaching staff is pretty similar too (minus williams).
    we’ll be alright. we might not make the super bowl this year, but we’re on the right track.

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