Tasseography is the ancient art of Tea Leaf reading. You are supposed to meditate, brew a cup of tea and drink it. Once you are finished drinking the tea, you swirl your leaves around and turn your cup upside down. When you look at the shapes the tea leaves made inside your cup, you are then able to read into your future, soul, issues, inner child, etc.
The Titans final 53 man roster has my head spinning so I decided to meditate. I didn't have time to make tea tonight, so I settled for some Bourbon and Skittles instead. Trust me, it works.
This is what they told me:
Let's run through the "easy" picks at each at position:
QB: Jake Locker, Ryan Fitzpatrick
RB: Chris Johnson, Shonn Greene
TE: Delanie Walker, Craig Stevens, Taylor Thompson
OL: Michael Roos, Andy Levitre, Rob Turner, Chance Warmack, David Stewart, Brian Schwenke
WR: Kenny Britt, Kendall Wright, Nate Washington, Justin Hunter, Damian Williams
DT: Sammie Lee-Hill, Jurrell Casey, Mike Martin
DE: Rapoti Pitoitua, Derick Morgan, Kamerion Wimbley, Lavar Edwards
LB: Akeem Ayers, Zach Brown, Colin McCarthy, Moise Fokuo, Zaviar Gooden
CB: Alterraun Verner, Jason McCourty, Tommie Campbell, Coty Sensabaugh, Blidi Wreh-Wilson
S: Michael Griffin, Bernard Pollard, George Wilson
P: Brett Kern, K: Rob Bironas, LS: Beau Brinkley
That's 41 players and 12 to go as we look to pare down the remaining group. My next group is the ones that I believe are really an easy decision for the team, but just not a "slam dunk". These players will still provide solid depth, provide a rotation, or have made themselves indispensable on special teams.
Fernando Velasco - Looks to have lost his starting center position to free agent Rob Turner, but is still a good swing player that can play center or guard in case of injury.
Byron Stingily, Mike Otto - Depth at the tackle position is a must.
Karl Klug - Klug is a play maker on the interior line. Period. He was underutilized last year, but I expect Gray and Williams to work him in more this year.
Tim Shaw, Patrick Bailey - These two have stuck around the Titans roster for years now and I don't see it changing this year. They are absolute studs on special teams and actually filled in nicely for the starters in the Falcons game. Neither will make the highlight reel on Sportscenter, but they are sound football players.
Khalid Wooten - Wooten may have been a late round pick at a position with a lot of competition, but I believe he sticks. He's done well on kick returns during the preseason and his abilities there tip the scales.
Darius Reynaud - I believe that this year the Titans will look at this position in an isolated fashion. Both Reynaud and Mariani would be the last option at this point for the position they play and therefor are being kept because of their returning abilities, not because of their prowess at their respective positions. That said, I'm giving the job to Reynaud because he's performmed well in the preseason and in part due to Mariani's injury. This team has to go into the Steelers game with a known entity, not potential.
That brings the total to 49. Now it gets tough as I have 18 players that could all make a legitimate argument for making the squad. Here's the rest of the players that will be competing for the final 4 roster spots.
QB: Rusty Smith
WR: Michael Preston, Kevin Walter* (placed on PUP)
RB: Jalen Parmele, Jackie Battle
FB: Quinn Johnson, Collin Mooney
TE: Jack Doyle, Brandon Barden
S: Corey Lynch, Daimion Stafford, Markelle Martin, Tracy Wilson, Al Afalava
DT: Antonio Johnson
DE: Keyunta Dawson
LB: Scott Solomon, Johnathan Willard
Michael Preston: Preston has shown too much ability and made too many plays in camp in a relatively deep position group. The recent knee injury to Kendall Wright, Kenny Britt's past, and Justin Hunter being a rookie should secure Michael Preston the 6th receiver spot on this team.
Jackie Battle: Regardless of who gets the returner job, Battle has shown the coaching staff he can be a battering ram and help wear down defenses. This team has made a huge move towards a power run game and he fits the bill to a T.
Quinn Johnson: As much as many would like the Titans to move away from keeping a fullback, I don't see this as the year it happens. Maybe after a year of seeing what Craig Stevens, Taylor Thompson and Delanie Walker can do in the run game the powers that be will change their minds. But for now, they want a fullback and Quinn is just better at finding defenders to block than Colin Mooney.
So now I'm down to Rusty Smith, Antonio Johnson, Corey Lynch, Daimon Stafford, Jack Doyle or Brandon Barden. Do the Titans keep four safeties or four tight ends? Three quarterbacks? How about 5 defensive tackles?
The bottom line will come down to a cross between upside and special teams play. That eliminates Antonio Johnson and Rusty Smith in my mind. Jack Doyle had his chance and blew it on a third down crossing route against the Bengals. So now I guess I'm sticking with Al Afalava.
Safety is a position the Titans were in dire need of at the beginning of the season. I'm staying with Afalava for the time being but could easily see the Titans keeping Corey Lynch instead. Either one could be quickly expendable if someone they've had their eye on gets waived as well.
So that's 53. If I get this right, I want a cookie.