Let's face it, this period is the doldrums of NFL news. Right now mini-camps are over and everyone is just waiting for training camp and the 2015 NFL season to finally arrive. With that in mind, I thought it makes a lot of sense to take this time to re-watch old games and get a sense of what went wrong and what went right with the players that will be on that 2015 NFL roster.
This is a review of the 2014 Week 1 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
-Dexter McCluster looks nice on the outside. With veteran leadership gone at the running back position, it wouldn't surprise me to see him get 12-15 snaps per game in the backfield, especially if they are trying to accommodate Marcus Mariota by using him more as a security blanket.
-Rodney Hudson is a very good center (3rd best in the league according to PFF), but man he just got toasted in this game by Sammie Hill. After checking PFF, it turns out this was his worst game this year. This reassures me that Hill is the right guy to be the Titans NT. He doesn't get a lot of credit and he isn't purely dominant, but he gets the job done and has flashes.
-I am trusting what I read from people close to the Titans that say this if Andy Levitre's first season as a healthy player, because the guy I see on film is not the guy the Titans signed. Levitre in his prime in Buffalo was one of the most dominant guards in football and he could beat people with finesse and with power. A type this after watching Levitre get pushed back into the backfield on a power play (that resulted in Chance Warmack being knocked down and the play blowing up) and then after watching him be absolutely destroyed by Allen Bailey.
-Zaviar Gooden was actually not terrible in spot duty behind Zach Brown. No reason he should see the field in 2015, but good to know from a depth standpoint.
-Leon Washington was terrible in pass protection.
-Delanie Walker was absolutely dominant in this game. Through two quarters he was just uncoverable.
-While Hudson struggled with Hill, Chance Warmack and Brian Schwenke both did a very good job against one of the best NTs in the league, Dontari Poe.
-Coty Sensabaugh doesn't get enough credit for being a quality blitzer.
-Locker's ability to affect this game with his legs despite being an accurate passer shows just how deadly a player like Marcus Mariota can be. If Mariota is as accurate as everyone says AND has mobility it will affect the pass rusher's land marks and give the offense more options.
-Justin Hunter shows why he is so frustrating. He had a big catch to set up a touchdown and another huge catch and run to start the second half.
-Kendall Wright is so fun to watch in the redzone. I really hope that they let him do more deep routes this year, but if not I think he will still take a step forward this season (which is saying a lot).
-Jurrell Casey is really good. Screws up blocking schemes and kills one-on-ones. Nothing new here, but it needs to be said.
-Jason McCourty is still very good too. Abuses Alex Smith in this game with two interceptions and doesn't give up any costly passes.
-Shonn Greene has the worst vision and movement ability of a Titans running back in a long time. Addition by subtraction with him.
-Bernard Pollard is just so slow. He has to take two steps to everyone else's one. Once he lost his ability to blow people up his career was over.
-Delanie Walker and Kendall Wright are putting on a YAC show, imagine what they would be like with an accurate passer.
-Rushing on a punt or FG is dumb to me. Unless you have elite speed, it is much more important to watch the fake and not jump offside. Perfect example, Kansas City jumps offside on a 4th and 20 which was a punt attempt from Tennessee, shortens the field, turns into a made field goal. That is just giving away points.
-I said that about Pollard and then he makes a huge hit at the 10:30 mark of the fourth quarter and just decimates Kelce. But then as I write this he gets a horse collar. Frustrating and the first doesn't make up for the second.
-Anthony Fasano scores after stiff arming Michael Griffin, not going to beat a dead horse on Griffin, but nice to see that Fasano can do that kind of thing.
-Titans are up by 13 here and trying to grind clock without using a "heavy" formation and giving Taylor Lewan reps which is just dumb.
-Bishop Sankey is low-key making people miss and doing good things. I think he deserves a little bit more credit than he gets. Having said that, I still think Cobb will end up with more carries this year.
-This game was schemed very well by Ray Horton. Jamaal Charles was contained very well, which doesn't happen often.
-And finally Lewan is in now. First play knocks a guy inside and seals at the next level for a big gain.
-Three plays into his career guys are already complaining that Lewan is being too rough with them. Bailey whining to the ref for no reason is good to see. If guys are fed up with offensive linemen it makes a defense worse because guys lose their focus.
-Jason McCourty with a beautiful pass breakup that leads to a very good catch by Michael Griffin.
-All in all, this team would have won 6-8 games last year. Not sure where everything broke down (maybe it was Locker getting hurt or Pollard if he was really the leader everyone says) but man this team had a lot of potential. If the defense can look this good in 2015 and if Marcus Mariota, David Cobb, Dorial Greenbeckham, and the other offensive additions can make this team better on offense this team has a lot of potential.