After the NFL lockout officially ended last month, the Tennessee Titans have been among the most aggressive teams in the NFL and perhaps some fortuitous events may rule in their favor, a subject which shall be explored in today's NFL preview.
Since free agency began in late July, the Titans nailed one of the biggest free agents on the market in Matt Hasselbeck, a signal-caller who I strongly believe still has a lot of good football left in him, notwithstanding what radio personalities on AM-610 KILT in Houston have said on the matter. Of course, the dreams of fantasy owners from Seattle to Sendai came true when Chris Johnson inked a rich new contract with the franchise.
The young stalwart from East Carolina has already amassed 5,606 yards from scrimmage in three seasons of work and with the rich contract he has inked, he should be the face of the franchise for years, joining the likes of Earl Campbell and Warren Moon before him. While Kenny Britt may not be available, pending on what, if any, suspension NFL commissioner Roger Goodell may mete against him, Nate Washington will have a great opportunity to step his game up and Jared Cook should only continue his emergence as a potential stud tight end.
Ever since I began eschewing I-A college football in favor of the I-AA playoffs come bowl season, I became a fan of Marc Mariani in his collegiate days and predicted he would be a standout for whoever drafted him. Well, sure enough, I proved prophetic, much to my chagrin in the Broncos-Titans game, as Mariani took one to the house against my beloved Broncos, although we were able to steal the game late.
Defensively, Cortland Finnegan continues to be one of the league's most fearsome hitters while ex-Buccaneer Barrett Ruud should help solidify a strong Titans unit. In closing, I have to admit I believe in the Texans, and if the Colts are without Peyton Manning for an extensive period of time, the AFC South will become all the more competitive.
While I would give Houston the nod to win the division at this stage, I think the Titans and Jaguars will also be strong and their bout at Jacksonville this weekend will be huge for early momentum in divisional play. Since there is no BC$, go ahead Titans, make me a believer. To quote the Saints-Packers commercial: BACK TO FOOTBALL and it feels so good!