Tennessee Titans AFC South Rivalry Roundtable: Houston Texans
By Les Bailey
The highlight of most football seasons are the rivalries between teams who have some kind of history, and in the National Football League those rivalries come naturally with divisional foes. In the AFC South, the rivalry between the Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans is unique in that the Titans used be the Houston Oilers.
The first set of questions comes from Toro Times editor, Randy Gurzi and you can read my responses over at:
AFC South Roundtable: Texans Rival Q&A Tennessee Titans
To get the ball rolling here at TitanSized, I asked Randy to respond to his questions and the following are his responses to the same questions.
TT: I recently had an article where I discussed the state of the Titans and I felt they got the better quarterback in Marcus Mariota rather than Jameis Winston. Yet, I believe the roster is just too young currently, what is your take on the state of the franchise with their quarterback and roster as a whole?
"I believe the Titans roster as a whole is headed in the right direction, and they were very wise to pass up on the reported offer from Philadelphia. Sticking with their board and taking Mariota was a great move and will pay dividends. Dorial Green-Beckham will be a beast at receiver if he keeps his nose clean. Those two could be an astounding one-two punch for years to come."
TT: Besides Mariota, what was their best move in the offseason?
"The draft selection of David Cobb was an underrated choice by the Titans. I was not sold on Sankey or Shonn Greene, but Cobb and his 1,600 yard/13 touchdown senior season is something to get a little pumped about. Falling to the fifth round was odd, but the 230 pound back could help a lot for that offense."
TT: Do you think Jason Hunter finally breaks out and becomes the wide receiver people expect him to be?
"Coach Ken Whisenhunt issued a warning to Justin Hunter that the receiver needs to “get it,” or be out of the league. I don’t think Hunter will ever be a top-tier wide out, but a guy like DGB could open things up and aloo Hunter to at least become an occasional deep threat. There still is some value there with him I think."
TT: Derrick Morgan is a solid player on the defensive side and the addition of Brian Orakpo will help pressure the quarterback. Yet stopping the run seemed like the biggest issue for Tennessee on defense last year. Will they improve here? And if so, how?
"I still think the run stopping will be an issue for Tennessee, but their pass rush sure improved with Brian Orakpo, provided he can stay healthy."
TT: Do you still believe the Colts are the biggest threat in the AFC South?
"The Colts are still the team to beat in the AFC South, but I scratched my head at their first round pick. Phillip Dorsett looks like a carbon copy of T.Y. Hilton and they used that pick at possibly one of their biggest positions of strength. I think the tea, really needed to do some work on that defensive line, and failed miserably with this choice.Also, I am in the minority but I absolutely hated the move for Frank Gore at running back (well I liked it because I don’t root for Indy). Yes, Gore still averaged 4.3 yards per rush last year, but he is 32 years old now. Quick tell me one 32 year old running back in the NFL still making teams fear the running game. Plus the back-ups of Dan Herron and Vick Ballard don’t strike me as dominate players if the aged back were to fail. I also don’t think Andre Johnson helps as much as people are thinking. He too is beyond his best years and really all they did was let an old receiver in Reggie Wayne go and replaced him with a slightly less old Andre Johnson. Kind of a push to me."
TT: Where do you rank the Texans in the AFC South and AFC as a whole?
"As for the Texans, I see them in the mix for the last wild-card spot, and I believe with some solid quarterback play, they could get there. Until they get a true guy to compete with a #1 overall pick in Andrew Luck, #2 overall in Marcus Mariota and #3 overall in Bortles though, the Texans could be in serious trouble of falling behind fast in this division once Bortles and Mariota develop."
TT: What offseason move concerns you most about facing the Texans?
"I think the best offseason move by the Texans is them brining in Vince Wilfork. He is a stud at the nose tackle, despite his age. And the main thing he can contribute is teaching some veteran leadership to the younger guys on this line, mostly Louis Nix III."
TT: I personally am very against the move for quarterback Brian Hoyer and if he starts I think it is a huge mistake. Which passer strikes more fear into you as an opponent, Ryan Mallet or Hoyer?
"I still think the quarterback who would strike the most fear would be Mallett. The top argument I hear is that Hoyer is a better game manager, well as a team are you more afraid of a game manager or a guy who can take the top off at any minute? Give me the home run hitter when you have a solid running game and stellar defense any day. Hoyer would be good for a team that needs to control the clock and help the defense. Houston can control the clock with their running game if needed and the defense can win games on it’s own. Would be nice to see the offense get some firepower…and Hoyer simply doesn’t have that in him in my opinion."
TT:Lastly, I predicted the Texans to finish around 9-7 again and Tennessee 5-11. What do you predict for both teams and feel free to rip me for my take on the Titans!
"I see Jacksonville making a leap this year and believe they will surprise some people. I like the moves Tennessee made, but they will need time to mesh together. I see the division going Indy, Houston, Jax, Tenn."
Next: Are Tennessee Titans Done In Free Agency For 2015?