Archive for May, 2010

Bo knows AWOL: An open letter to the Titans TE

May 19, 2010 7 comments

Dear Bo,

In the annals of “I’m a get mine” the fact that you believe you ain’t got yours yet is totally whack.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=Bo+Scaife&iid=2528116″ src=”b/8/1/7/78.JPG?adImageId=12915366&imageId=2528116″ width=”234″ height=”348″ /]Dude, you got yours. You made $4,466,680 last year. Let’s see. A quick check of your stats shows that that’s $4,466,680 per touchdown.

Not showing up for Titans OTAs because you’re upset that you don’t have a long-term deal is churlish. You’re slated to make $4.9 million this year. And you’ve already signed the tender offer, or have you forgotten that? You will have made $9.3 million over the past two years, bringing your career total to around $11.7 million. Are you having trouble making ends meet?

May I remind that you’re … Bo Scaife?!? You were a sixth-round draft pick by the Titans despite the fact you had ACL injuries in high school and in college. Maybe you were sure you’d make an NFL roster, but no one else knew who you were. You’re entering your sixth year in the league and still outside of Vince Young and University of Texas fans … no one knows who you are. You haven’t had more than two touchdown receptions in a season since high school. Are there really teams waving long-term deals at a tight end with fewer touchdowns in his career than the immortal Visanthe Shiancoe had last season?!?

“Bo must have reasons for it (skipping voluntary OTas),” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said recently. “He was compensated pretty well last year, and he’s going to be compensated pretty well this year. I think we’ve treated Bo pretty well.”

Bo, they have treated you ridiculously well. You should thank your lucky stars every night when your head hits the pillow that the Titans put the franchise tag on you following the 2008 season. How you managed to get a franchise tag after catching 58 passes for 561 yards (9.7-yard average) and a whopping two TDs is anybody’s guess. It’s the worst use of the franchise tag since Burger Chef.

But because the Titans did it your salary tripled. Do you know who else’s salary triples in one year? Correct, no one’s. Here are just a few of the tight ends you made more money than last season: Antonio Gates, Dallas Clark, Vernon Davis, Jason Witten, Jeremy Shockey and the aforementioned Shiancoe. Sixteen tight ends caught more passes last season than your 45. Exactly 40 tight ends caught more touchdown passes than your one, including such household names as Jeff Dugan, Joey Haynos and J.P Foschi. Forty!

You’re about to make 10 times more than Titans running back Chris Johnson is slated to make this season. He’s not here for OTAs either. Here’s a quick test for you, Bo. Guess which one of your stories is playing better in the court of public opinion: The guy who rushed for 2,000 yards making $550,000, or the guy who caught one touchdown pass who’s making $4.9 million?

Meanwhile, your absence means all of the first-team reps are being split between Jared Cook and Craig Stevens. Do you need to be reminded the Titans traded up on draft day last season to take Cook? No, he wasn’t any great shakes as a rookie, but the front office wants him to be better this season because it will make the front office look better.

“We jumped out because we knew he (Cook) had potential,” Fisher said. “He reflects back on his first year as a little overwhelming like it is for young players.  He is doing what he needs to do in the weight room and on the field, so we expect that to translate in production.”

Fisher added: “Because of the fact Bo is not here and Alge (Crumpler) will not be returning, right now Craig and Jared are our tight ends. It is a good combination. It is a very talented group from the standpoint of you have Craig who has really improved his strength and his understanding of what we are doing. Cookie can get open as we all know. He has a much better feel for the line of scrimmage now.”

C’mon, Bo, the coach is calling him “Cookie.” Still think you don’t need to be here?

Categories: Uncategorized

Titans play PC with Texans LB Cushing

By Bob McClellan

If there’s any team that should take exception to whatever it is that Texans linebacker Brian Cushing has or hasn’t done it’s the Titans. 

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=Brian+Cushing+Titans&iid=7123384″ src=”3/e/8/2/Tennessee_Titans_v_8156.jpg?adImageId=12846829&imageId=7123384″ width=”234″ height=”265″ /]In two games against them last year the rookie out of USC posted 20 tackles, including three for loss. It was all part of a monster season that made the former Trojan the Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Well by now you know Cushing’s accomplishments are at least a little tainted, if not downright cesspool-filthy. He has been suspended by the league without pay for the first four games of the 2010 season for testing positive for a banned substance, HCG, a fertility drug. No one is quite sure who was trying to get him pregnant.

Cushing has confirmed that he tested positive for HCG, but he has denied taking it. It’s the same drug that got Manny Ramirez suspended from Major League Baseball for 50 games last season. Steroid users have been known to take the drug because it helps restart the natural production of testosterone. It also can reduce the side effects of ending a cycle of drugs.

The AP ostensibly was outraged and called for a revote on the ROY award. Cushing won again.

“I know Brian and he’s a good guy,” Titans fullback Ahmard Hall said Thursday after a Titans OTA. “He just did something wrong, and he’s gonna have to pay for it. As far as the award goes he earned it and obviously they felt like he deserved it because they gave it back to him on the second vote. Hopefully he learned from his mistakes.”

Where’s the sense of outrage? Cushing was all over the field against the Titans. And they don’t even get a break on the schedule during his suspension: The Titans and Texans don’t meet for the first time in 2010 until Nov. 28 in Houston.

“I don’t know much about it,” Titans left tackle Michael Roos said. “I saw with the revote he still got it. He’s definitely a great player. I don’t know how much if it all whatever he took helped him. He’s still a great player.”

Maybe we’ll get a better sense of how great Cushing really is or isn’t over the final dozen games of 2010. The Titans will test him twice, and don’t expect them to be as diplomatic as they were on Thursday.

Categories: Uncategorized

Tweet dreams: Titans class has special feel

By Bob McClellan

Answer: Curie, Pasteur, Mendeleev.

Question: Who are famous chemists?

Answer: Lombardi, Noll, Walsh.

Question: Who are famous chemists?

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=Damian+Williams&iid=7039449″ src=”c/8/3/5/USC_v_Arizona_e469.jpg?adImageId=12716106&imageId=7039449″ width=”234″ height=”351″ /]Maybe you’ve heard the word “chemistry” ad nauseam as it relates to the accomplishments of your favorite team. But truthfully, making things work in an NFL locker room is no easy task. Coaches literally are taking all kinds of elements and mixing them together in the hopes they form a constant compound rather than explode in their faces (re: every coach who has taken a chance on Terrell Owens).

Chemistry simply cannot be overrated. Your team is not going to the Super Bowl if the offense hates the defense, or if the quarterback distrusts the coach, or if the defensive ends believe the defensive coordinator has a screw loose, or if the head coach is punching out his assistants (re: the Oakland Raiders).

Say this about the Titans’ rookie class: It’s a mostly classy bunch. It has a Rhodes scholar, an Ivy League graduate, a kid who transferred and still managed to graduate early. It has guys who say “yes, sir” and “no, sir.” If it’s as long on talent as it is on brains and manners it has the makings of something special.

The Titans as they’re currently configured are not a team that can win a Super Bowl. There still are too many questions on defense, particularly in the secondary. And if you’re sold on Vince Young, well, that’s you, not me.

But this draft could signal a sort of Home Makeover: Titans Edition in the locker room. This appears to be a class that’s humble and hungry, that will take coaching and learn quickly, that will embrace what it means to be part of a team. It does not have a Pacman Jones, the Titans’ first-round pick in 2005, who spent as much time eluding police as he did special-teams tacklers before ultimately being suspended for an entire season. It does not have a LenDale White, the Titans’ second-round pick in 2006, who malingered through parts of his four seasons here before being traded during the 2010 draft.

Third-round pick WR Damian Williams (pictured above) and undrafted free-agent signee RB Stafon Johnson already have been looking out for each other. Not only are the former USC teammates rooming together here, but Williams was just a couple of feet away in the Trojans weightroom in September when Johnson dropped a 275-pound barbell on his neck, crushing his larynx and nearly killing him. It was a wide-eyed Williams who saw the look on Johnson’s face and bolted for the training staff.

“I wish scouts had clocked me on that run,” Williams said after the first day of Titans rookie orientation. Jokes are OK now. Even Johnson, whose voice has been altered by numerous surgeries and now sounds somewhat like Don Corleone in The Godfather, cracked wise on Friday about his lack of vocal power: “At least I’m not a quarterback.”

Williams said he and Johnson are very close. The fleet receiver visited the running back in the hospital whenever he could, often taking him on his daily walks. That’s built-in chemistry.

Then you’ve got first-round pick Derrick Morgan and third-round pick Rennie Curran. Morgan, from Georgia Tech, and Curran, from rival Georgia, have gotten to know each other through their teams’ battles. They’re friendly enough to have driven to Nashville together from Georgia for the rookie orientation. More chemistry between guys on the same side of the ball.

Morgan said he looked up the Titans draftees that he didn’t know and started following them on Twitter. In this day and age does anything say more about chemistry than I’ll follow you on Twitter?

No, this isn’t the greatest draft class ever assembled. But something about it feels special.

You know what they say: The team that tweets together beats other teams together.

Categories: Uncategorized