Titans Post-Mortem: This Just In, Patriots Are Good

My Day at LP Field

I’m a free agent, writing-wise, so I’m going to keep all of my Titans writing on my site. I’ll post my experience from the Titans’ opening-day game and I’ll keep it relatively short since I tend to ramble with these.

Last year was a transitional one for the franchise. New coach, new QB, new coordinators, all that jazz. The result was, as Flight of the Conchords once said, “better than I expected”. Year two would be the true test, as the coaching staff got an entire offseason to install the new offense and defense.

LP Field got a taxpayer-funded facelift. Instead of having a jumbotron on both sides of the field, they now have a super jumbotron. It’s almost impossible to look at the field since the game is in uber HD on the giant screen.

The team has a “house band” now. I didn’t approve of the band concept but I did approve of them playing “You Shook Me All Night Long” as I entered the stadium.

I’ll pass on describing the pregame festivities as I have real football to cover. The Titans introduced a lineup minus a fullback and on their opening drive they went with a three-wide look. Locker rolled out a few times and he’s good on the run. Sadly, on third and goal he threw the ball almost directly into Devin McCourty’s back. McCourty was gently molesting the Titan receiver but no flag would fall. It was 3-0.

That was the highlight of the day. The Patriots scored three straight touchdowns. Tom Brady missed Brandon Lloyd deep early and Wes Welker dropped a sure first down early, but it mattered not.

There were two key players for the Titans who had plenty of preseason hype that made fans think that 2012 would be different. So far, 2012 is not different for Chris Johnson or Michael Griffin. Johnson was active in the passing game but did nothing running the ball. Michael Griffin could neither tackle nor cover, which are two things that $7 million a year safeties should be able to do. I’d take one of them.

We can talk Jake Locker since he was the focal point of the offseason. Locker made a great throw in a fourth and one play, smartly audibling off a run play to a pass play and he hit Nate Washington on a perfectly thrown fade pass. He also made a nice TD throw to Washington on a scramble on what was the Titans’ only touchdown of the day. He threw a bad interception in the second quarter and his fumble on a third down play inside the five-yard line became an instant Patriot touchdown.

Locker separated his shoulder making a tackle after a Washington fumble that turned out not to be a fumble. I heard plenty of “scab” yells directed at the refs. I thought we were done with unions in America. I mean yeah, they kind of sucked.

My takeaways: Jake Locker should be fine. He’s going to make great plays and some dumb plays. The offensive line can’t run block, and it’s making Chris Johnson less patient aka terrible. Darius Reynaud got a lot of offensive snaps and looks fairly dynamic. So does Kendall Wright. Nate Washington’s tough and will be the steady veteran. Jared Cook may look like a guy who doesn’t know where to go half the time, but he’s dynamic. On defense, the line play was not good although Wimbley did get one nice hit on Brady. If Colin McCarthy misses time, that’s bad news for the defense. There aren’t any playmakers out there. The Titans are going to have to score a lot of point.

Best jersey of the day: I liked seeing a guy with a Kendall Wright on the way in. The Yancey Thigpen “Tennessee Oilers” I saw on the way out was the winner. I did like the guy with the old-school Drew Bledsoe. The Woodhead jerseys were not surprising. I’ll go with the Tedy Bruschi.

Fan of the game: The kid behind me who yelled “butterfingers!” every time a Patriot returner got on the field. You go, kid.

After my Missouri Tigers ran out of gas in the fourth quarter and couldn’t stay with Georgia, I hoped for more today. I got less than I hoped.




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