The hot debate right now at MCM is whether the blowout losses are more a result of the players struggling or the coaches' inability to put them in the right decision. The likely answer is that its a combination of both. There are players missing tackles, but there are also coaches making poor play calls. I think we would all admit that there is plenty of blame to go around - so please don't confuse what I am about to write next into a blanket statement. After looking at the roster, I think there's adequate talent levels at several positions, and that the talent is being underutilized. That is why I think we have a major coaching problem. What I intend to do in these two posts (I've split them up into offense and defense) is give my thoughts on our current talent at each spot, and whether we're maximizing their potential.
I think this is a topic that is well worth discussing and before I get further I want to put out a question to the community: How would you measure talent? I was initially going to compare our roster to the New York Giants, the reigning champs, and the Kansas City Chiefs, who I think are the worst team in the league. The hope was that I could show that while we may not have the talent level of the elite teams, we're not scraping the bottom of the barrel either. Basically, I wanted to show that there is enough talent on the team that they should not be performing this badly. I discarded that idea because it is way, way, way too subjective and would only end up being a waste of time. This post as it is will rely very much on my own opinions of the Titans roster, and the issue would be further compounded by adding in more teams and players. So, if anyone has any ideas on this topic, put it in a fanpost so the community can have a look.
QB: Jake Locker, Matt Hasselbeck, Rusty Smith
The talent level here is both exciting and questionable. Jake Locker could be a future stud, but we won't know for certain until we see more of him on the field. Hasselbeck's skills have clearly declined. He's still a very cerebral player, but at 37 the physical ability just isn't there. I think the coaching staff has done a pretty good job with this position. Locker looks promising. They've been forced to make do with Hasselbeck, who despite some good outings, is definitely a notch below our young #10. Munchak, Palmer and Loggains score some points with me on this one.
RB: Chris Johnson, Darius Reynaud, Jamie Harper, Quinn Johnson (FB), Javon Ringer (on IR)
This one is fairly easy. After not having a run game for so long, things seem to be back on track. We'll see if we can keep the momentum going but the performance against the Bears has me fairly optimistic. I want them to use Reynaud a little more, but after finally seeing Chris Johnson break off some big runs I can understand why they wouldn't.
WR: Kenny Britt, Nate Washington, Kendall Wright, Damian Williams, Lavelle Hawkins
This one's tough to call. On one side, we have assembled one of the best Titans receiving corps in years. The talent here is undeniable. So why isn't our passing game having more success? The blame for this underperforming unit has to be shared more between the players and front office. Kenny Britt holds the key to his own future. He's had too many ups and downs here. Nate Washington has been solid and Kendall Wright a revelation. Kendall Wright leads all rookie WRs in receptions, and places second in yards and touchdowns. The only knock against the front office here is that they chose to keep Damian Williams and Lavelle Hawkins. I understand that you're scared to lose your own guys, for fear that you might replace them with even worse players, but Hawkins in particular is not even seeing the field. Would it really have been that bad to let him go?
TE: Jared Cook, Craig Stevens, Taylor Thompson
This is where the coaching staff loses marks. I'm not a huge Cook fan. I think he holds himself back. In all his time here he still can't block, and against Chicago he lined up illegally twice. I don't like what the coaching staff has done with him though. Either try and incorporate him more into your offense and play to his strengths, or move on and use the other guys more (a point I'm completely okay with). Craig Stevens is our most reliable tight end. He might be average, but at least he's consistently average.
OL: Michael Roos, Steve Hutchinson, Fernando Velasco, Leroy Harris/Deuce Lutui, David Stewart
This line is extremely difficult to figure out. They are very good at pass blocking, and have improved with run blocking. I guess my biggest question here is, despite their better play, is if the the front office is going to bring in fresh blood. I've got to give credit to Munchak and Matthews here, they have improved this unit as a whole.
The offense can't seem to piece it all together. After looking at each individual unit, I think there's sufficient talent on this side of the ball to have a successful unit. Certainly one that isn't among the worst in the league. Honestly I like what the coaches are doing, but this is a results-based business and right now the results are ugly. I can't pin that all on the coaches. Injuries are out of their control. We'll see how the offense does with Locker in, but will he make that big of a difference?
Do you think the Titans are getting the most out of their offensive players?