Tennessee Titans: ‘Twas The Night Before Kickoff
By Sean Maczko
Sunday, September 7, 2014, is the first full day of football and I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am for the Tennessee Titans’ season to start.
The Titans will be traveling to Missouri to take on the Kansas City Chiefs at noon (CST). The matchup features two teams with interesting players at the quarterback position. On the Titans’, you have talented, yet often injured Jake Locker who is in a make-or-break year. I’m sure you’ve heard it and/or read it a hundred times this offseason but what Locker does, or doesn’t do, this year will determine his future with the team.
The Titans have already declined his 5th year team option which was roughly $14 million for 2015-2016. First year Titans’ coach Ken Whisenhunt is enamored with Locker’s work ethic and talent, but has re-iterated that Locker has to stay healthy and have a good season.
Last season I wrote an article centered around whether Locker was “injury prone” or if he just has bad luck. At any rate he needs to avoid both of those labels.
Word has it within the Titans organization there is a great amount of respect for Locker and that they hope he can emphasize that vote of confidence for moving forward as the franchise quarterback.
On the flip side, the Chiefs have Alex Smith, who has quite an odd story when it comes to his NFL career. He was drafted as the first overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers , where he had to play through a number of coaching turnover. The first 5 years of his career he was labeled a bust – one of the biggest busts ever actually. When Coach Jim Harbaugh came in as the new head coach in 2011 he gave Smith a clean slate.
Smith started to play well and showed that he wasn’t quite one of the biggest draft busts ever.
Long story short, he was finally showing signs that he could lead the 49ers but then after getting injured Colin Kaepernick came in and stole the show.
Smith was pursued by Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013 after a fall out with the 49ers. Just this week, Jason La Canfora broke the story that Smith signed a 4 year $68 million extension with the Chiefs with $26 million guaranteed. Many people around the league balked at the number, but I truly don’t think it’s overpaying him.
Smith will never put up Peyton Manning or Drew Brees type numbers but he has shown he can be a game manager that can provide consistency at the quarterback position.
Of course this game will be highlighted by RB Jamaal Charles, who is arguably the best running back in the league. The Titans defense will be busy chasing him around – it’s not in the realm of possible to shut him down.
I can’t wait to see our Titans take the field. They played the Chiefs last year and came up just short in a 26-17 loss.
The key to victory will be containing Charles to their best ability, but I still feel they will come up just short.
Prediction: Chiefs 31 Titans 24