That is what Washburn had once nicknamed Robaire Smith and Albert Haynesworth. I had forgotten how excited we all were as Titans fans when Smith was signed to join Haynesworth in the middle of the defensive line. The Titans finally had a defensive line that would be tough against the run. The problem is the 2 have hardly played together because Smith hurt his hamstring in the opener and by the time he was coming back Haynesworth was suspended. All reports from pracitce yesterday say that Haynesworth was ready to go and is in good football shape. That is especially important with Haynesworth who has reported out of shape in the past. It is further proof that Haynesworth is getting it this time. Fisher on Haynesworth yesterday:
"He was in really good shape when he left, probably in better shape than the last couple of years when he left. He maintained that. What happens also is there are those normal bumps and bruises that you really never get a chance to put behind you during the season. Well he got a chance to put them behind him. I think he physically benefited from it. Now, we just have to keep him going and continue to get him involved in the football part.''
Reynaldo Hill missed practice yesterday and Cortland Finnegan took all of the reps at his corner position. I am excited about Finnegan getting the chance to show what he can do. The Titans will get to see if he can handle that position and it will give them an idea if they need to get a corner in the offseason.
The Titans had a couple of new faces on the field yesterday. LB LaVar Woods, who was a high school teammate of Kyle Vanden Bosch, tackle Seth Wand and TE Ben Hartsock.
The Titans cut rookie LB Spencer Toone to make room for Woods on the roster. The Titans have cut a lot of draft picks this year. This is not good for the future of Floyd Reese with this organization. I think he is out in the offseason. If the Titans were going to bring him back they would be working on an extension by now.
I had a chance earlier this week to exchange 5 questions with the SB Nation Eagles blogger at Bleeding Green Nation. Here are the questions I asked him with his answers. Click on the link above to see the questions he asked me with my answers. (they are not posted yet but should be by tomorrow)
1. The return of TO to Philly was one of the most hyped events of the NFL season? What was the atmosphere really like that day?
Insane. It's started the minute the Packers game ended the previous week. ESPN was live at the game and the post game show was drowned out by all the anti TO chanting. The game and pregame(Fox was live) was insane with all the signs, chanting, and booing. The actual TV broadcast did a 60 rating in Philadelphia. The superbowl doesn't even get that. The best part was that it played out better than we ever could have hoped. The game was intense and back & forth, TO dropped balls and shied away from hits, and he only finished with 3 catches. The Eagles won on a dramatic last second INT for a TD and the game is probably already one of the great regular season games in team history.
2. Break down the NFC East for us. The Titans will play all 4 teams this year. Which team do you think is the best and why?
It's hard to say who is the best in the division at the moment. The Redskins are clearly the worst, but the other 3 teams are bunched within a game of one another and are all over .500. The Giants may very well be the best team when healthy, but they've been absolutely decimated by injury this year. I think they are missing 6 starters to injury right now including a few pro bowlers. It's hard to see how they are compete in a close playoff race with a tough schedule with so many players out. The Cowboys are and up and down team. They've beaten up on bad teams like the Texans and Cardinals, but have 3 losses in their division already. They seem to be playing better since their change at QB, but they are still one of the Jekyll & Hyde teams of the NFL. The Eagles are somewhat similar. They have #1 offense in the NFL and have absolutely blown teams out this year, but in other games they've not shown up or been unable to play 2 full halves. It's not at all uncommon for them to get shutout on half and put up 27 in another.
3. I know Jevon Kearse is out for the year but how much of an impact did he have on the defense before his injury?
He was off to probably the best start of his career. He had 3 1/2 sacks in two games and was generally creating havoc when he wasn't getting to the QB. Kearse has put up about 8 sacks a year here, which is maybe less then expected... but overall I think he's been very good in his 3 years here. He's been good against the run, he pressures the passer, and he commands double teams on most plays. The loss of Kearse has definitely been a blow to the defense and the pass rush in particular.
4. The NFC East is home to some of the most storied franchises in the NFL. Which team do Eagles fans hate the most and why?
The Cowboys. As an Eagles fan you are born hating the Cowboys. The different personalties on the teams, the amazing games through the yeas between the 2, the fact that the Cowboys have been so successful... Eagles fans have hated the Cowboys since the 70s and 2 times every year it is a war. Head Coach Andy Reid tells a funny story that when he was first hired an Eagles fan came up to him and said he didn't care if the team only won 2 games all year as long as they against Dallas. Regular season and postseason moments between the 2 are legendary. There was the 1980 NFC championship game where the Eagles beat Dallas to go to their first superbowl, During the Cowboys 90s dynasty Dallas coach Jimmy Johnson was pelted with snowballs by Eagles fans. Michael Irvin, who taunted Eagles fans relentlessly during his career, suffered a career ending injury in Philly and the fans cheered... there was a moment at the height of the Cowboys dynasty where the Eagles beat Dallas by stopping Emmit Smith 5 straight times with one yard to go. These are only a few of many many memorable moments. To this day no Cowboy can sit on a postgame or pregame show in Philly without getting booed unmercifully.
5. Do you miss Freddie Mitchell?
LOL, not at all. Freddie's mouth was always a whole lot bigger than his bite. In his time here he was usually good for one catch a game, usually for a first down... He'd celebrate the catch like it was a TD. He played a part in one amazing moment in Eagles history, when he caught a pass on 4th and 26 in an Eagles/Packers playoff game to keep the Eagles alive in a game they went on to win. Otherwise he was absolutely useless here. I'm not at all surprised that he's never got back in the NFL.
I was surprised by two things:
1. He said Kearse was good against the run. We never saw that here.
2. The fact that he doesn't miss FredEx. How can you not miss the man who once said, "I would like to thank my hands for being so good?"