Mike Munchak had scheduled a team meeting for yesterday so that the players could get together and meet the new coaching staff before the CBA expires at 12:00 Thursday night/Friday morning. However, the pow wow was canceled after the NFL warned the Browns and Rams about the possible dangers of having coaches meet with players in what is officially a league dead period. Teams are technically forbidden to call meetings between players and coaches until the offseason conditioning programs start on March 15th (assuming there's no lockout). It is nice to hear that several Titans have been working out at the facility so far during the offseason.
Matt Flynn has been talked about as a possible QB on the move, but Mike McCarthy put a stop to any of that talk (or drove up the asking price, if you're cynical) at the Combine:
"I'm not letting [Flynn] go. I think the value of that No. 2 quarterback position went way up... they're talking about new procedures for concussions and things like that," McCarthy said. "You better have two quarterbacks if you want to win a championship."
On to QBs we can get who are better than Flynn: Carson Palmer reiterated his threat to retire if the Bengals don't trade or cut him. Palmer has got to be the biggest prize on the Titans' radar. I don't understand how anyone out there could be seen as more ready to step in and win with this roster and coaching staff. Palmer has had some struggles in Cincy, but he's had some great seasons as well. People want to blindly throw out that he had 20 INTs last year without pointing out that 1) he's only thrown over 13 INTs two other times in his seven seasons as a starter and 2) Drew Brees threw 22 INTs last year and Peyton threw 17. Those kinds of years happen, and in all honesty they could help make Palmer more affordable in a trade. He's experienced, but he's only 31 and could easily have a few career-best seasons ahead of him. The guy has thrown for 20+ TDs in 5 of his 7 seasons as a starter, and he's thrown for a completion percentage higher than 60% in 6 of those 7 seasons (the only season he didn't was 2008, in which he only played 4 games). I'll go so far as to say that if we can get Palmer and add some talent in the front seven on the defense we'd be back in the hunt for the division crown again in 2011. I can't say that about any of the other guys that are possible targets.
Paul K cobbles together the analysis of several ESPN draftniks to see how the second tier of QBs in the draft might fit in the AFC South's biggest buyers: the Titans and Jaguars. The prospects covered include Christian Ponder (custom-made for the West Coast system), Colin Kaepernick (long-term project with the biggest upside), Andy Dalton (most ready to play on day one, but not as physically impressive) Ricky Stanzi (big arm, but bigger question marks on decision making). The one caveat of this is that the analysts keep talking about how guys will fit the Titans' "system", but no one knows exactly what Chris Palmer's system will look like until they start playing games. It sounds like these guys are talking about Dinger's offense, and, despite what's been said, there's no telling if we'll see an offensive philosophy fundamentally different or very similar to what Dinger's running game/deep throws system.
Andre Carter was just released by the Redskins after failing to survive the conversion to a 3-4 defense, and McCormick points out that Jerry Gray is very familiar with the former stand-out DE from his time as the secondary coach in D.C. He could be a free agent option if Gray is looking for a different type of DE. Carter isn't much heavier than Babin or Ball, but he's taller and significantly longer in the arms than either guy.
There's a lot of confusion about what it means if the player's union decertifies, but the NNew York Times is here to save the day:
If the union decertifies, owners will face a decision. They could impose their own rules that would allow the games to continue, a decision likely to expose the league to a series of antitrust lawsuits brought by players that would attack the underpinnings of the current game: the salary cap, the franchise tag that restricts movement of some free agents, and even the validity of some player contracts.
The goal would be less to alter the shape of the game than to create pressure on owners to make a deal by arguing that the rules unreasonably restricted players’ earning power. If the players won, the owners would be subject to triple damages — a potentially devastating loss of billions of dollars. Unions cannot sue an employer for antitrust violations, which is why the National Football League Players Association could decertify.
Barry Wilner wrote an AP primer on several lockout-related questions fans have.
Mike Florio says that the Competition Committee's decision to retain Jeff Fisher as a consultant, while declining to name another co-chairman to replace him, is a dead giveaway that Fisher has every intention of returning to the NFL after next season. Florio then reported that water is still wet and NFL owners tend to be rich.
Congratulations to Jennifer Peltz for perhaps the best use of possibly-sarcastic quote marks in the headline of a press-wire article I've ever seen.
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