I have nothing but positive and encouraging words for you today. (That’s not entirely true. I do have a few negatives to throw out, but they will be brief and mostly painless.)
This was the game I have been expecting all season. This was what I thought the Tennessee Titans would look like, more often than not, when I saw them play during the preseason. To be fair, I don’t expect the Titans to blow out every team they play. And I don’t expect them to force as many turnovers as they did against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. But, I do expect them to play with the kind of confidence this team played with on Sunday. They came out fast and loose, and left very little on the field when the final whistle blew. You can’t ask for more than that.
Winner: Putting Jery Gray in timeout in the coaches box.
As Justin Stewart pointed out last week right here, the Titans have a special place to send their coaches when they aren’t doing a good job: The box upstairs. I have no idea if that really helped Gray call a better game, but it clearly did not hurt. The players made the game changing plays, but in Gray’s defense, they were put in good positions to make those plays. He called a good game and he deserves some credit. As does the “magic box”.
Loser: Jared Cook.
Stay with me on this one. Cook had one great catch against the Dolphins. I can’t take that away from him. But prior to that amazing scoring catch, he had two awful plays. One, he missed a block that resulted in Jake Locker getting sacked. Two, he dropped an easy catch on 3rd down that would have resulted in a 1st down. If he makes either of those boneheaded plays in a close game, it could cost the Titans the win. If Cook feels like he is being under-used, then perhaps he needs to put some of the blame on himself for that.
Winner: Linebacker University
Take note of these three names right now: Colin McCarthy. Akeem Ayers. Zach Brown. This line-backing group is going to be making plays together for a long, long time. Weep AFC South opponents! Weep opposing QB’s! These guys are young, and have barely been on the field at the same time this season, but now that they are growing accustomed to their roles, you see what the potential is: Pure, unadulterated awesomeness.
Loser: Ryan Mouton
I’ve been rooting for Mouton since he arrived in Tennessee. Sadly, it’s obvious that he is not the answer in the nickle spot. Coty Sensabaugh has replaced him and frankly, is doing a better job. At least Mouton can be decent depth from here on out.
Winner: Chris Johnson’s confidence.
I’m starting to believe that CJ’s struggles early this year were due to a loss of confidence in his O-line and in his ability to read the correct holes. He just didn’t run with the same swagger and fire the first few weeks of the season. I don’t know exactly when he got it back, but it’s back and it is as good as ever. Watching a confident and fired up CJ is one of the purest pleasures I have had as a football fan in my 34 years.
I don’t have any more losers for the week. I’m sure I could nitpick, but I won’t. It’s not worth it after a game like this. The Titans put on a good show for their fans – the few of us that are still watching them. Let’s hope that they play like this the rest of the season. If they do, it’s going to be a very interesting final 6 games.