Update [2008-1-8 9:3:46 by Jimmy]: This was originally posted by Zack in the diaries, but I figured I would put it here so everyone would see it and chime in. The season is over, so I am ok with us talking about this for a little bit. He is still a part of this organization. I will give my thoughts in the comments. (Make sure you click the read more link to see his whole argument)
First, I would like to start with what I feel was the best quote after our disappointing loss last night:
"When you go to the playoffs in a rebuilding year, that's actually a good thing.
I agree. This was a rebuilding year, we went to the playoffs against the odds. Then when nobody gave us a chance against the Chargers (not even within a 3 TD's of a chance), we played a heck of a game and had a shot to win it. But we didn't and now we have to move on to next year.
For the next 9 months or so, this site will be devoted to the offseason. And unfortunately, our offseason may again be dominated by #32. Will we or won't we bring him back?
Here I make my initial case for bringing him back.
Reason #1 - To Improve Our Return Game
By the end of the year, the lack of return game moved into my top reason why this team was under performing despite a strong defense. I can't remember the last time we returned a kick past the 25? Yes, just the 25. When was the last time we ran it to midfield? And our punt returns might have been even worse. Forgetting about those 5 fumbles Chris Davis had, we could hardly advance the ball a single yard at all. And the lack of a return threat, caused punters to choose to out punt the coverage and give rise to the possibility we would get backed up.
If there was one thing everyone should have learned this year, it is that the Titan offense can not sustain a long and successful drive when starting inside our own 10 yard line.
I just went back and watched a youtube clip of all of Pacman's good returns. He was insane. Almost impossible to tackle. Better than Hester, IMO. Give him a little crease, and he is gone.
The Titans are not going to magically turn into the Patriots and score 45 a game. Instead we will again be a "keep it close until the end" type of team. When that happens, the team must be able to get a late FG attempt. Enter Pacman. When a team just scores to tie it up or take the lead and there is less than 2 minutes to play, a long kickoff return and can mean everything...or like we saw 2 years ago, trying to kick away from Pacman can result in a penalty and give it to us at the 40, which means we only need 25 yards for a long field goal.
Reason #2 - To Improve Our Defense
There is no doubt that our defense, and the secondary in particular, did not miss a beat without Pacman. First and foremost, it allowed Finnegan a chance to shine at CB instead of Nickel (and also allowed Fuller a chance to shine at Nickel).
But this year, Harper showed he may have a problem with concussions. And when that happened, Reynaldo "throw it my way if you want a 1st down" Hill had to play. That is unacceptable. If we had Pacman, it bolsters our defense, whether he takes Harper or Finnegans place and gives us better depth.
I just want to remind people that last year Pacman only had 6 balls caught on him during man-to-man coverage. He is an elite level CB. And one that shouldn't suddenly suck when our pass rush is not there at the end of some games.
Reason #3 - To Give Us a Different Playmaking Option on Offense
Our offense has no play makers. None. I am totally in favor of having Pacman on offense, if nothing else. He is hard to tackle. He is fast. And he has good hands.
Play him at the slot. Let him run some. Let him catch short passes.
Having Pacman on the field will not let people like Bob Sanders to give all their attention to Vince. He is such a dangerous playmaker, he will immediately take pressure off of Vince.
Reason #4 - To Not Waste a Draft Pick
At this point if we don't let Pacman on the team, I doubt there is a trade market for him. So we would probably be forced to cut him. A team that is rebuilding can not afford to lose out on #6 overall picks, particularly if we don't get anything back in return when he is off the team.
Well, there it is. I have laid out some initial thoughts on why we should let Pacman back. I think with Pacman, we can be a legit Super Bowl team next year because one guy could and would improve all 3 areas of a football team. Of course, we can and will survive without him, but I think with a talent like his, we have to find a way to keep him in line and get him on the field.