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.