Without a big-yardage target Titans are getting passed by
Last year 26 NFL teams had at least one player top 800 yards in receiving. It’s not asking much. It’s only 50 yards per game for a guy who manages to play all 16. Thirty-eight players topped 800 yards in 2009, 23 of whom pushed past the 1,000 mark.
What’s the significance? None of the six teams last season without an 800-yard receiver made the playoffs. In fact, their combined record was 32-64, with the Titans’ 8-8 mark the best among them. That’s a .333 winning percentage.
No team has had a drought longer than the Titans. Chris Chambers posted 1,118 receiving yards for Miami in 2005. No Tennessee player has topped 800 yards since 2004, when both Drew Bennett (1,247, pictured) and Derrick Mason (1,168) did it.
Last year’s Super Bowl combatants, the Saints and the Colts, each had two 800-plus yard receivers. The 2008 Super Bowl combatants, Pittsburgh and Arizona, each had two. In 2007 the Giants, who had just one, beat the Patriots, who had two. New England was a prohibitive favorite.
The last team that won the Super Bowl without a 1,000-yard receiver was Pittsburgh in 2005. Hines Ward had 975 yards in the regular season.
The NFL has become a pass-happy league. Meanwhile, the Titans don’t have a player on their roster who ever has had an 800-yard season as a pro (click on the video in this hyperlink).
To make matters worse, the Titans’ starting receivers, Nate Washington and Justin Gage, already are dinged up and we haven’t even reached the regular season.
The injuries aren’t good ones for receivers either. Gage has a bum thumb that he told me last week could be problematic all season.
“I already came to the conclusion this was the kind of injury that was gonna linger as soon as it happened,” Gage said. “It’s just tough to get it better (because of the nature of his position).”
Washington’s injury is a sore wrist that has recurred throughout training camp and doesn’t bode well for a player who had problems with dropped balls last season.
No one likes a naysayer in the preseason when hope springs eternal. But if someone on the roster doesn’t become a big-time target in a hurry it’ll be time to give the Titans’ chances of making the playoffs a pass.