Recent Titans, where are they now

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Recent Titans, where are they now

I’ve had a bunch of recent questions about players from last year.

Kendall Wright is in Chicago. Dowell Loggains was his offensive coordinator in Tennessee when they threw a zillion 3-5 yard passes and had him run with it. This is not an offense. This is part of an offense- a play that should be used because it works well, but it should have never got to the point where fans would say “they do that every time they pass.”

My only issue with Terry Robiske’s usage of him is that he simply didn’t seem to have that play in the offense anymore. It worked and worked well. There’s no reason a new offensive coordinator had to never use that play again. He played Wright as a normal slot receiver. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I never expected Wright to succeed in 2016 because the data doesn’t show that a third wide receiver ever really does that well in a Mike Mularkey offense. He did, statistically, fill the role fine.

Mularkey about let him sit out camp and the first few weeks and still make the team. Many of the injury updates were minimal and presented like Kendall may have been cleared.  Mularkey spoke of the entire team and would say how they have to show up and practice if they want to make this. I don’t think he ever specifically stated that Kendall should have been participating. In hindsight, I think Mularkey could have handled the injury updates better with him. There was this “air” that he was slacking or taking it easy or somesuch.


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Since my own days of t-ball a million years ago, I have long realized that some people don’t respond to yellers and coaches that verbally poke you to motivate. One gives a “dude relax” feeling while the other one is annoying. I don’t think Ken Whisenhunt or Shawn Jefferson were right for Wright. Wright should have been well used to these types of coaches though and been able to “do his thing” regardless.

There are guys that play tall and guys that play small, Wright was the shortest 5-foot 10-inch wide receiver I’ve ever seen. I had zero hope when there was a jump ball to him. On the rare occasion that he lined up as a running back, he reminded me of the Morris brothers from many years ago. He ran hunched over making him even smaller. Could the defensive line see him? Would they lose him for a second behind the big offensive linemen? I’d have liked to have seen him in the backfield a time or two each game.

Justin Hunter, I blame on Whisenhunt, totally. I have already seen videos on facebook where coaches show the JAG jersey and say this is not how to motivate. It’s ironic that he became just another guy. I remember a story I was told where he learned all of the positions and the staff was surprised. I remember seeing Jefferson barking at him in camp videos and him responding. The Titans were to bring him along slowly and only threw deep bombs and high lobs to him as a rookie. Year two, he was to be “the man.” That’s not slow. That’s poorly planned. There was no slowly increasing his role part of this process. I don’t think Mularkey handled Hunter or DGB well last spring. There were many reports from fans that Hunter was doing very well. I’d discard them some if it were a couple, but there were dozens. Mularkey had sat down with Hunter and DGB and told them they had to improve. It seemed to me like Hunter did. There was even a presser or two where Mularkey said this. I think that must have been confusing for the young man. It came across to me like he was doing what the coach asked and sports teaches you that that will keep you from getting cut. In the NFL, regardless if you do what’s asked, you’re always at risk to be cut. There’s certainly a big caveat here that I wasn’t in meetings or practices to know, but when fans are consistently saying he’s doing well and a reporter or two start to jump on board, it makes me hmmm about it.

Hunter should have gone to some summer meeting or camp where wide receivers train and learn from each other. Larry Fitzgerald does these. Jerry Rice used to and I don’t know if he still does. Michael Irvin always claims to want to help young wide receivers. Hunter was struggling to get open in the NFL and with his bod he shouldn’t have. He was a prototype wide receiver. Faster than fast, very tall, excellent leaping ability, huge wingspan and catching radius. There was something “off” with his game that some veteran should have been able to tweak. I do blame some of this on Jefferson as I think that’s part of his job. Much of the blame on these issues though is on Hunter. He had to know he wasn’t getting separation despite 4.3 speed. He had to know his routes weren’t crisp enough or smooth enough.

I’m very curious of Hunter in Pittsburgh. They have a role on their offense that just seems to be “go deep young man.” He can do that. In fact one of my gripes with Whis is that he had him run deep on a zillion running plays. It fooled no one and had to tire Hunter out some. Anyway, the odds are surely against him in Pitt, but he can flat out fly if he wants to.

The concentration issue with Titans wide receivers for years was one of the oddest things. These athletic players could “pluck a ball out of thin air” yet they would drop a “gimme pass” right to them. I could list several Titans that were “guilty” of this and it was eery. Hunter did this and he can’t drop the “gimme’s.” Dropping them opened things up for being cut and just about anything negative. It’s an overtly obvious part of his job-catch the ball.

Dorial Green-Beckham was a slow learner. The Titans knew this. He was to come along slowly, like Hunter, but thrust into the starting lineup anyway, like Hunter. DGB did fine as a rookie. I don’t think it’s reasonable to draft a player that’s a slow learner and then trade him away for being a slow learner. The NFL made DGB’s cost too much though during the draft. The market for his services was too high. He should have been a developmental project drafted in a later round, not a gem that might go in the first round.

The NFL made DGB’s cost too much though during the draft. The market for his services was too high. He should have been a developmental project drafted in a later round, not a gem that might go in the first round. If one compares DGB (or Hunter)

If one compares DGB or Hunter to the NFL’s fifth and sixth wide receiver, they are clearly better. Some teams do draft developmental project wide receivers who “sit at the end of the bench” and learn. Athletically, these two are eons better than anyone in that role across the league. As long as the confidence is still there, I think some team should develop them. They failed as #1 wide receivers, so the confidence could be an issue. If so, they will be “done” quickly in the NFL. The perspective (#1 versus developmental project) changes everything here.

David Cobb was cut recently. I was never a fan. I continually argued against him. I don’t have much new to add.

Bishop Sankey was an odd bird that ran tough in college and didn’t in the NFL. He had some good shoulder moves and power running and then when he didn’t utilize them, Whisenhunt “got on him.” Otherwise, the talent was definitely there. One could see it most every game, yet he struggled to use these skills at the NFL level. Whisenhunt called him out way too much and replaced him way too often to be able to get it together and gain a head of steam. NFL history is littered with backs that did not do well their first several carries and then took over a game.

I think Sankey would make a fine backup and could fill the role of third down back in the meantime. He is currently on the Vikings. They drafted and signed running backs stacking the competition against Sankey. He’s going to have step his game up and come “rarin’ to go” to make their roster.

Antonio Andrews was one of my favorite players and one I enjoyed hearing that the coaches adored for his many uses. We got to see two or three carries last year where he ran for 6 yards or so on each carry. We never really got to see him run behind an excellent offensive line, just a poor one. He’s useful, he’s tough, and he’s cheap. I have no idea why the Titans didn’t re-sign him. He hasn’t landed with another team and I find that odd given his college success and, again, low salary in the NFL. This creates one of the rare instances where I wonder if a player’s agent is doing the best job for his client.

Andrew Turzilli is on the Lions. The Titans have let him go twice and he has found a new home each time. He’s been praised for his study habits and is a fast tall wide receiver. He has to find a way to improve with limited reps. There’s a point that he won’t be viewed as a good developmental project if he doesn’t.

Ben Roberts, who made the Titans roster for a day or two in 2016, is an oddball here. He didn’t sign elsewhere and the Titans didn’t bring him back. The young players cut a day or two after the cut to get to 53 are almost always practice squad members. The former outfielder fascinated me. He had that classic ability to shift into a sixth gear when the ball was in the air. He was slow otherwise, relatively speaking. The Titans played him almost the entire second half of all the preseason games. They had to get 12 players on the field, but instead chose to keep Roberts out there and rotate the receiver opposite him. It all just left me with a feeling that there is something I don’t know- as if something happened that wasn’t in the press. If not the practice squad last year, he would certainly be under a future’s contract or invited to camp. It’s very odd.

Jake Locker. PK called him the worst draft pick in franchise history for a feature on ESPN and people have asked me. I sort of disagree. When drafted quarterbacks have had to play behind a poor offensive line, I always become a hypocrite. While they are playing I am highly critical, but in hindsight, I blame the line. I got to see Derek Carr up close at Giants camp. Such a special player- intelligent, kind, helpful, attentive listener, beautiful arm, wonderful throws all over the field. He’d “blow you away.” When the Giants went to playing live, wow he was terrified and terrible. The only thing I have to compare it to is PTSD. He never yelled “ahhhh” and ran away like a scared little kid, but that’s about all he didn’t do. Ever since seeing this, I have been this hypocrite that blames the line and the GM for failed quarterbacks that play behind a bad offensive line. I do not know why he retired so abruptly, but have long figured it’s from the beatings he took.”

To followup, many years later, many Tim Couch’s later…I don’t know what I’d do if I were an NFL GM that could not sign and draft enough offensive talent to protect the quarterback well. I suppose I would sign a few running college quarterbacks and work up some plan with the coach where they “get by” for a year. It seems to be that the quarterbacks that are “sitting ducks” get “destroyed” while the running types “have a fighting chance” and can shake off the hits better. Get through one year til you can draft and sign more. I’d trade defenders and do anything possible to get offensive linemen, but if it came to that- I’d sign some running quarterbacks.

Blake Bell and Joe Looney are both former Titans linemen on the Dallas Cowboys. Since the Cowboys are widely regarded as having the best offensive line (obviously I’m partial to the Titans) I find this odd. Neither were expensive, so why didn’t the Titans just keep quality backups?

This is a theme for many emails. Many of you have written in asking about players from 2016 that haven’t signed elsewhere. It’s a gripe I have with Robinson and I am fearful that the Titans won’t have the depth necessary to overcome injuries in 2017. He should be focused on the starters and adding better players to start, but depth should be there “just in case.”

Daimion Stafford should be a Titan.It’s curious they didn’t re-sign him after not drafting a safety. I assume Branden Trawick is the backup safety we fans feel is missing.

Darren Bates was not only a college safety, but a two time all state safety in Tennessee in high school. Thanks to the reader that pointed that out to me. I don’t think Dick Lebeau will use him in a Troy Polamalu role because I doubt he’s good enough. I don’t think he would have flown under the radar all this time if he were super special like that. I gotta say though- I find this fascinating and am extra curious of him for training camp now. Thank you again.

Blidhi Wreh Wilson was signed to the Falcons roster and signed again. I’ve seen very little written of him, but re-signing him shows confidence. He is a big corner and athletic. I hope he finally put it all together. He sure struggled in Tennessee.

Alterraun Verner is still unsigned as far as I know. The former all-pro that became a backup in Tampa still intrigues me also.

Chris Johnson is not on a team as far as I can tell. He was an arrogant player. I don’t blame him for this, sometimes it’s necessary to believe you are the best to succeed. I think this greatly hinders his ability to sign with a team and be a backup though. Backups are supposed to be some adult version of “good little boys” and not flamboyant arrogant types. Everyone remembers his time with the Titans, but I didn’t see that brash personality in articles about him in Arizona. He did very well for a half season. I believe he was tops in rushing during that time span-maybe second most. He seemed supportive of David Johnson and came across like a good teammate. From afar, if he is penalized for his once brash personality, it does seem unfair. He should have done enough in Arizona to convince teams otherwise.

I love to watch CJ. I do think he would be an effective change of pace back and kick returner with his blinding speed. I don’t think he fits the Titans team mindset at all though. I can’t imagine a reunion one bit.

Veterans

We have crossed past the draft. I am completely in favor of the Titans signing most any veteran player. The worst case scenario makes them a camp body. The best case scenario makes them a starter, while reasonable is probably depth. After the draft, veterans are cheap. It’s nothing like what transpires in March every year. They sign veteran minimum contracts and …I’d pretty much say yes the Titans should sign just about anyone that meets their team mindset.

Anquan Boldin could be everything that Andre Johnson was last year. The sure hands, the veteran presence, the tutor for young receivers, the leadership… he is a future hall of famer. The Titans should always and forever be interested in signing future hall of famers.

Ryan and Cutler

Rex Ryan and Jay Cutler own homes in Tennessee. I don’t think Ryan fits the Titans team at all. He’s far too brash. I think his future in the NFL is that of some adviser. He was very clever and creative. I’m not sure a team wants such a loud-spoken coordinator anymore.

Cutler is there. I was asked if Cassel gets injured, would they ask him to stop by for a tryout. Sure. Why not? If he’s local, yeah why not. I don’t think local is viewed correctly. NFL teams will fly anyone in from anywhere at a moment’s notice. It doesn’t really give Cutler a leg up as a “street free agent” here. If you want to consider him as a legit NFL backup, well then the Titans would have to sign him as such and bring him to camp. If that doesn’t happen, I don’t see a big advantage to him living in Tennessee.

Colts lower tier team with castoffs

I would tread very lightly here. I understand the notion that the Colts have signed players the Titans didn’t choose to re-sign. I totally understand, but that doesn’t discount that the Titans have never beaten Andrew Luck. Every team needs backups. It might be a fun comment for a rivalry “jab,” but otherwise I’d tread lightly with that.

 

 

 

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