Hello to all of the people at MCM! A while back, I discovered the SBNation blogs after spending time on some other ones with far less participation and immediately was in awe of the fantastic people around here. (Mostly) intelligent, usually funny and always with a fresh perspective, this blog is a far cry from many of the others on the web. I am a Titans fan up in Vermont and it is great to have a place to go discuss football with people who are not only non-pats fans, but titans fans! I try to make it down for a Titians game at least once a year and the atmosphere inside the stadium is as awesome as it is on here, we have one of the best fanbases out there! I was doing a post-preseason-season-preview on some of the other basketball or football blogs I am a part of, and thought I would do the same here just to share my thoughts with this awesome community, feel free to say everything im saying is right, wrong, or stupidly obvious because I would expect nothing less. First off, I firmly believe we will lose in the divisional round to the hated Fexans this year after going 10-6 during the regular season.
Quick schedule prediction:
Steelers: W, 24-17 (With so many new pieces to put in place, we comeback in the 2nd half to win)
Texans: L, 38-17 (CJ makes this respectable-ish, hope locker stays healthy)
Chargers: W, 31-10 (always revenge for that playoff loss to these guys half a decade ago, I still hold a grudge)
Jets: W, (insert maximum deficit here)
Chiefs, W 24-21 (statement game. i like the chiefs as a dark horse team)
Seahawks, L 17-7 (Their offense gets shut down, their defense shuts us down more)
49ers, L 24-10 (Vernon davis has a field day against us, their defense again stifles our run game and we are forced to score through the air, locker throws multiple INTs and a TD in this game)
Rams, W 31-21 (their athleticism makes this closer then it should, lack of defense allows us to outscore them)
Jags, W (again, pick your own spread here, any points record could break)
Colts, W 21-17 (CJ breaks 1k this game)
Raiders, W 31-10 (Or more)
Colts, L 24-21 (I just dont see us beating that team twice, i like the addition of bradshaw)
Broncos, L 34-24 (Peyton goes off again, we are able expose holes in their secondary but lack of run game prevents us from seriously challenging them)
Cards, W 27-10 (our defense is on revenge mode and bernard pollard kills someone after peyton torches him a few times in the previous week, CJ breaks 1.5k)
Jags, W (same as last game)
Texans, L (maybe a potential 'they rest everyone victory' here, i dont see it happening though)
Ok, so I like to get that out of the way at first, heres the actual preview. first off, our defense will not improve that much at defending the pass. MCCourty is good, but not great. this training camp has established that. He would start or nickel on any team not named denver or seattle, but the fact campbell actually was challenging ATV through week 5 of the preseason... well, clearly the coaches think ATV is a serviceable CB2 but not a great option and I agree. I love the guy, he's a ball-hawk, but he gambles on his reads and loses hip technique when pursuing more physical receivers who will body him out of their way. We WILL improve at defending the run and at getting to the QB, which will help our pass defense, but on any play where we cant get there or weeks when we play a good o-line, avert your gaze. I think Jurrell Casey will become one of the more dominant DTs in the league by week 5 and will actually get some media coverage along with our favorite criminal minded defensive end, Morgan, who will shut down runs to his side of the field as well as put up double digit sack totals at the end of the year. I'm not sold on CMAC staying on the field, or on Fukou as a good replacement. I land in the same camp as I do with Verner, the man is a good linebacker, but we need gamechangers (i.e. CMAC when he is healthy) who can disrupt the other team. I just dont believe Fouku can do that. Brown and Ayers will have as good of a year as their MLB can give them, if they have to worry about the middle of the field, they cant go sideline-sideline as quickly and they become less effective. That being said, I see Ayers with 8 or 9 sacks on the year and Brown finally becomes our tight end coverage-specialist.
Now for the offense: We will have a great year when not playing a tremendously physical secondary or a swarming front 7 (seahawks and the broncos d in the second half of their first game this year come to mind instantly). Our offensive line will be our strongest point on this team, followed closely by CJ1.8k. That being said, i think CJ is the exact reason why we will have issues with swarming front 7s. anytime you play a physical and speedy team who might lack size, you need the hogs up front to clear a path and a bruising back to plow over those quicker players who can bend around them. Battle would be perfect, but if he gets more then 5 carries a game i can see Cj throwing a fit since he's already sharing carried with Green, and as good of a bowling ball as Green is, Battle showed that nastiness you need when playing ground and pound football for 32 minutes while you soften that opposing front 7 up for some PA passes or screen and reads. Britt's inconsistency this preseason makes me very nervous when we play physical secondaries like those in San Fran and Seattle. Hunter is fast, but we need a big strong wideout to fight with those defenders and draw attention so that Wright can jitterbug in the slot and take advantage of the fact that both of those teams sacrifice some quickness (not speed, quickness) on that part of their defense for the bigger CBs. Washington will eventually lose his starting spot this year, again my point with ATV and Fouku stand for him. When you have Hunter and Wright behind him, there is no reason to start a solid but unspectacular wide receiver. Nate the Great has made some great plays in the two-toned blue (Lions game last year? Hoo man i couldn't even figure out what had happened for a second, then again, that whole game was crazy) but Hunter just looks like Randy Moss used to look, making hard catches look simple, once he sees some minutes during the actual season he will progress quickly. Finally, Locker. I love this kid. Such a hard worker, tough and with a rocket arm. I loved him at Washington, thought we took him a little high honestly (I was and still am a HUGE Andy Dalton fan and wanted him there) but after watching both guys play over the last couple years, Locker was not only worth the pick, he is the perfect QB for this stage of our franchise no matter how well he does this year. Hes a quiet professional who does more work then anybody else on the team, a gutsy country kid with a big arm. If he shines this year, our team will shine and it will be fantastic, if he does really well, we could easily go 11-5 outgunning the Texans at home and I'm even going to go so far as to say we can beat Seattle without Harvin if Locker plays like I suspect he can. Everyone has said most of that already, 'make or break' are the 3 words everyone is sick of hearing associated with this kid. But it's his off-the-field stuff that makes him perfect. this team wants to be professional. 'just do your job' type of team, not the Pete Carroll buddy system, and not a screaming bunch of morons like the... well, the Jets (BTW R.I.P. Butt-fumble).
I have so much hope this year, I believe CJ will be huge this year (so huge I drafted him in both of my fantasy leagues), I love our wide receivers, I LOVE our o-line. If our defense lives up to the hype, we very well could be a Cinderella team hoisting the Lombardi trophy in February, we have that much talent. I can't wait to go through everything this season has to offer with my fellow MCMer's, thank you for being such a great community. Lets go break that Steel Curtain Sunday!