We've seen this movie before. As Titans' fans, we know what mediocrity looks like. We know how it feels. It feels like Jeff Fisher and his endless 8-8 seasons. It feels like Mike Munchak's first season as head coach. It feels like apathy, disappointment, and resignation all rolled into one. And if you aren't paying attention, the 2013 season looks a lot like those past seasons of perfect averageness. (That's a word...right?)
Here's the thing though, I am paying attention, and this Titans' team is not like those average teams from the Fisher era. This team plays with heart. This team plays with passion. This team has every reason to believe that they are good enough to be 6-2 or even 7-1 at this point. Don't get me wrong, games are not decided by "what ifs" and hypotheticals. This team has lost 4 games on the field. But unless we've already forgotten, two of those losses came against two of the best teams in the league, without Jake Locker in the lineup. Of course, no one can say for sure that the Titans win against Seattle or Kansas City with Jake Locker as the starter. Sure, no one can say that...
The schedule has been brutal through the first 8 weeks of the season, but it really eases up in the second half of the season. The Titans have a chance to rack up wins against the Jaguars (2), the Raiders (1), the Texans (1), and the Cardinals (1). That's 5 more wins right there. If this team plays up to their potential, they are a 9 win team at minimum. But they get two shots at the Colts in the next few weeks. Two shots at the division leader. Two shots at Andrew "Walks on Water" Luck. Two shots. The Titans don't need any help making the playoffs. They don't need any team to win "this game" or lose "that game". The Titans can grab their own destiny by the neck and choke the ever living crap out of it. (I'm not sure that makes sense, but you get what I'm saying.)
So here's my challenge: Dream big. I completely understand the predisposition to foresee mediocrity. We've been conditioned to expect that from the Titans. Let's rise above that. Let's choose to hope, to believe, to dream. This team is good enough, has enough pieces, and has a favorable enough schedule to do more than stumble into an 8-8 record. They are good enough to win the AFC South. And personally, I have no desire to hope and cheer for anything less.
I'm dreaming big. How about you?