Optimism for the Future, and Other Reflections From Monday Night

Most of you on this site witnessed that Monday night was about as ugly as a win could be, but in the end the win made the team look better overall. For every negative that happened on the field usually a positive took place right after. The swings of momentum were definitely in the Titans favor.

First I'll start the negative aspects of the game just to get those out of the way.

Stop the penalties. There was just a lack of mental focus, 14 penalties for 111 yards usually would kill a teams chances at winning. DT Marks got two, one for offsides and lining up in the neutral zone. The roughing the passer penalty was rather ticky-tacky, but still you can't touch a QB anywhere near the head. The pass Interference call was ridiculous, but a judgement call of course. Too many holding calls, which killed a lot of drives (you can blame that on a wounded in-experienced O-line).

Jake Locker not completely winning over the opinion of a lot of fans. After the game I was asked by a handful of people is Locker the answer. My answer, based on what I've seen so far, is incomplete. He seems to lack touch and not so much accuracy. He can dink and dunk passes all over the place, but when it comes to fade route or a post pattern he put's too much air under the ball, he overthrew Britt twice on wide open passes (even with Cromartie draped all over him). He needs to work on his touch more than anything.

After the home-run TD by CJ, he was completely shut down, I blame that more on the patch-work O-line, but still you're CJ2K you're supposed to make people miss and get yardage.

Britt isn't completely ready to become the dominate wide receiver we had hoped for. He's having trouble with elite competition which being the number 1 wideout he's gonna see the best of the best corner backs every week. He needs to become more physical and not afraid to go after the ball to make those big catches. Not everything can be blamed on him, look two paragraphs up at the Locker criticism.

Now with that out of the way lets get to the positives.

Zach Brown could be Keith Bulluck version 2.0. That guy was all over the field Monday night. 6 tackles a couple for a loss, 2 sacks, and the key fumble recovery to seal the deal. This type of play is very welcomed and without the field general, Colin McCarthy in the middle, to help him out. Brown and the Will linebacker (Weak-side for you non-lingo football fans) Akeem Ayers could be quite the dynamic duo as the years go on. A colleague pointed out how some draft experts said he was allergic to contact, he then stated, "I just don't see that." I agree with the latter statement.

CJ still has that elite speed. He ran 94 yards in 10 seconds, longest play from scrimmage in Titan/Oiler Franchise history. If he wasn't shut down completely in the first 2 games and also dealing with a depleted O-line, he could've had a much larger year this year. As it stands he's probably gonna get 1300 to 1400 yards. Which is quite a feat since a lot of critics and so called 'experts' wrote him off. Plus he's quite a classy guy paying tribute to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary school tragedy, by writing their names on his shoes. Classy move.

The defense for once looked feisty and were making plays. We haven't seen the defense play this well since the Dolphins game. McCourty and Griffith recorded four interceptions, and yes I know some of you will say it was Sanchez, but still your supposed to pick off struggling QB's. One thing they haven't done well until Monday night. Derrick Morgan looked the part of a playmaking edge rusher against some good competition in D'Brickshaw Ferguson. He was applying pressure and recorded a sack, he is starting to look like he is living up to the first round hype.

Even with the criticism of Locker and his lack of touch, he did look posed and wasn't afraid to run with the ball. Yes his stat line was very pedestrian, but he lead the team down the field and he scored a very blue-collar looking touchdown that Mr. Air McNair would've been proud of. He looked gritty and ran it in to take the lead, and that lead held. Granted we all wanna see that 2 minute winning drive, but right now with the season we've had so far this will suffice until that moment.

Overall it looked reminiscent of the Titan hey-days where the game was extremely ugly, but the end product was the win and that's all that matters. I know the thought of keeping the high draft status would've been nice, but it's always nice to get a win.

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