Titans quarterback Kerry Collins has a unique perspective on Brett Favre’s streak of consecutive starts, a streak that’s clearly in jeopardy this weekend
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=Brett+Favre&iid=10053981″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/10053981/minnesota-vikings/minnesota-vikings.jpg?size=500&imageId=10053981″ width=”234″ height=”226″ /]Favre is the oldest quarterback in the league. Collins is one of the five oldest.
Collins has been hurt, benched and released. He has played for multiple teams. He has made the Pro Bowl and started in the Super Bowl.
In short, he has seen it all. And he says what Favre has done – start 315 consecutive games including the postseason at quarterback – will never be seen again.
“That’s beyond freakish,” Collins said in the Titans locker room on Wednesday. “I can’t imagine playing quarterback in the NFL and starting every game for 20 years. There’s no human explanation for it. It will never be done again.
“It’s not like the guy didn’t run around. He got out of the pocket and made plays and ran and took hits. To be that durable is just freakish.”
[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=Kerry+Collins&iid=9687944″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9687944/tennessee-titans-carolina/tennessee-titans-carolina.jpg?size=500&imageId=9687944″ width=”234″ height=”334″ /]Collins has seen some media outlets comparing Favre’s streak to that of baseball ironman Cal Ripken. The comparison holds no water with the guys of the gridiron.
“I saw them comparing Cal Ripken’s streak and there’s just no comparison in my mind, just the physical abuse that a starting quarterback takes over the course of a season and a career is just beyond comprehension,” Collins said.
Collins watched Favre hobble around in the Sunday night loss to the Packers. He was asked why the Vikings QB would put himself through such torture.
“The guy loves to play,” Collins said. “That’s why he does it. If he walks out there on Sunday it wouldn’t surprise me one bit regardless of how his ankle feels. It’s something inside that guy … he’s gonna play come hell or high water.”
After a controversial two-week hiatus, the Titans’ “Sixer,” a six-pack of things I believe I learned about the team, returns. Herewith “the Sixer: Good Karma” edition on the 37-19 home victory over the Eagles the pushed the Titans to 5-2:
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=jason+jones+titans&iid=7100111″ src=”http://view2.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/7100111/tennessee-titans-san/tennessee-titans-san.jpg?size=500&imageId=7100111″ width=”234″ height=”158″ /]1. DT Jason Jones made the play of the game, or the Eagles offensive line did. Jones said “no one even attempted to block me” on the third-quarter play in which he forced a fumble by Kevin Kolb, getting to the Eagles QB just as he was attempting to hand off to LeSean McCoy. How do you not account for a 6-5, 276-pound defensive tackle? Rookie CB Alterraun Verner (all 5-10, 187 of him, which probably are both lies anyway) somehow recovered in the scrum at the Tennessee 3. Instead of Philadelphia going up 23-7, the score remained 16-7 and the Titans drove for a field goal to make it 16-10. “He (Verner) is like a little ferret,” DE Dave Ball said. “There’s a hole he dug into and came up on the other side and he was able to grab it.”
2. The 12-game winning streak against the NFC is odd, but it’s no fluke. Every Titan I’ve asked about the streak attributes it to the preparation the coaching staff does for an unusual opponent. “I don’t know what it is about the NFC,” FB Ahmard Hall said. “The staff does a great job of preparing us for guys we’re unfamiliar with.” I’ve heard that refrain so often from so many different players that it almost makes me wonder if the Titans don’t prepare enough for familiar opponents, relying too much on their prior knowledge.
3. Club Karma is aptly named. How else do you explain WR Kenny Britt’s performance? Britt comes up with seven receptions for 225 yards and three touchdowns less than 72 hours after being involved in an altercation at the downtown nightspot. Jeff Fisher said he considered not playing Britt but didn’t have enough information on which to base a decision. So he held Britt out till midway through the second quarter. The coach said he still may discipline Britt, if the facts warrant. As for me, I’ll be at Club Karma all week to see if I can change my luck.
4. Kerry Collins remains a nice backup to have. Collins again showed why the Titans kept him around, even at his hefty price tag. He passed for 212 yards in the second half, most of it to Britt, to bail out the Titans after a mediocre first half that saw them trailing 13-7.
5. No one should be happier to see Kenny Britt’s emergence than Chris Johnson. Britt now has at least one TD reception in each of the past five games. If he can stay out of the clubs he gives the passing game the most serious threat it has had in the Jeff Fisher era. That should only create room for Johnson, who was stuffed Sunday by the Eagles, limited to just 66 yards on 24 carries.
6. DE Dave Ball, who had the Titans’ only sack Sunday, is emerging as the nutty-quote go-to guy. Witness this gem he gave Sportsinthe615 Sunday regarding the Eagles: “They’ve got a really good scheme to protect the quarterback. Some plays it’s like running through a hedge maze. You’ve got a clown popping out on the right side, a BMW on the left side. Then you have to run over the sprinklers. It’s hard trying to get there.”
What a difference a day makes.
Or in this case about 10 hours.
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=Kenny+Britt&iid=9858294″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9858294/tennessee-titans-wide/tennessee-titans-wide.jpg?size=500&imageId=9858294″ width=”234″ height=”301″ /]After telling Sportsinthe615 that “it feels good coming out of the doghouse” after Thursday’s practice, WR Kenny Britt built an addition to said doghouse by being involved in an altercation in a downtown Nashville bar at 1:45 a.m. Friday. The incident at least jeopardizes his status for this Sunday’s game, if not beyond.
“I’m gathering facts,” Jeff Fisher said. “He did not participate in practice because I excused him from practice while I’m still trying to obtain information.
“My understanding at this point is he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. There was an altercation. He was one of those that was trying to break it up. That’s my understanding right now and I’m still trying to gather facts.”
Fisher said he hadn’t decided whether to rule out Britt for Sunday. “It depends on the information I’m able to obtain before kickoff.”
Britt appeared as though he had put his lack of maturity behind him by staying out of trouble off the field and performing better on it. He has a touchdown reception in each of his past four games to lead the team.
Here is what he told Sportsinthe615 on Thursday: “God has been blessing me for the last couple of weeks. I’d had good preparation throughout the week, the coaches are trusting me and calling my number, and I’m executing the plays.
“It feels good coming out of the doghouse. I had a bad offseason, and coming out feels good. I’m like a little kid on Christmas Day getting everything I’ve asked for. Since OTAs I’ve been a good kid. And I’ve been asking for stuff and it has been showing up.”
So much for this early Christmas present.
“Kenny is a good kid,” Fisher said Friday. “He’s working hard, and he’s really come on the last few weeks. I’d be surprised if he put himself in a position to jeopardize that.”
Britt was in a bar at 1:45 a.m. when he had practice at 11:30 and had to be at Baptist Sports Park who knows how much before the start of practice. Whatever position he put himself in it clearly wasn’t a great one.
At this point maybe Steelers linebacker James Harrison should open a flower shop.
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=James+Harrison&iid=9906690″ src=”http://view1.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9906690/baltimore-ravens/baltimore-ravens.jpg?size=500&imageId=9906690″ width=”234″ height=”358″ /]The guy got fined $75,000 Monday by the NFL. He lost more money with one call from the league office than most Americans make in a year. And for what? For doing what he gets paid to do: Smash the opposition, in this case the Cleveland Browns.
Harrison’s demolitions of Josh Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi were just a couple of the half-dozen spectacular or spectacularly dangerous — depending on your opinion — hits on Sunday. The fact so many occurred in one day has the sports media buzzing and the NFL talking about suspensions for helmet-to-helmet hits and the intent to injure.
Is it a news flash that playing wide receiver in the NFL is a dangerous occupation? This isn’t arranging chrysanthemums for a centerpiece at the church supper. Anyone going over the middle against the Steelers feeling comfy-cozy?
According to the USA Today salary database, 66 NFL receivers in 2009 had a base salary of at least $1 million. They know what the job risks are. In an unsafe game filled with violent collisions, they are perhaps the most vulnerable to concussions.
You know what? I don’t care. I have a fear of flying, so guess what? I DON’T FLY. Bungee jumping seems a little unsafe to me, consequently I don’t do it. If someone wants to offer me a million dollars to do it, maybe I will and maybe I won’t. If you’re an NFL receiver and you’re afraid you’re going to get crushed when going over the middle for a pass then get out of the league.
Titans wide receiver Nate Washington (pictured right), who played with Harrison in Pittsburgh, more or less agrees.
[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=nate+washington&iid=9593449″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9593449/tennessee-titans-seattle/tennessee-titans-seattle.jpg?size=500&imageId=9593449″ width=”234″ height=”365″ /]“You know what you’re getting into when you strap up those pads and go out there,” Washington told Sportsinthe615. “A lot of things that are going on trying to protect us are good, but in the same breath it’s football.
“Certain plays go a certain way to protect you. Offensive coordinators put you in a position to be protected, but if you don’t go out and do your job you can get caught in a messed-up position. Is that your fault or the defensive player’s fault when you weren’t paying attention to what you were supposed to be doing?”
Washington said he doesn’t believe Harrison is a dirty player.
“He’s a guy that plays hard every single play,” Washington said. “He’s a guy who’s gonna be known for his aggressiveness but nowhere near a dirty player. He’s a good guy at heart, on and off the field.”
Meanwhile, with each passing day the NFL is “sissifying” itself. For crying out loud, the league was selling photos of Harrison’s hit on Massaquoi on its own website till Wednesday, when someone caught the “mistake.”
Which is it, Commissioner Goodell, a league predicated on hard hitting or flag football? Already you can’t hit a quarterback in an area larger than a buffalo nickel, and now it’s two-hand touch on receivers? Is this all part of a plan to resuscitate the Arena League? I can see the slogan now: “We not only actually hit people, we knock them into walls!!!”
Nobody wants to see players get hurt. But everybody wants to see big hits. It’s a contact sport. There’s a reason flag football games aren’t played in 70,000-seat stadiums filled to capacity.
It’s a slippery slope. The minute a linebacker or a safety is thinking about how and where to hit a receiver while the ball is in the air he might as well be answering the phone at 1-800-PROFLOWERS.
“Would you like to add a balloon or some chocolates with that order?”
For those of us in the media who have piled on the slow start — relatively speaking — of Chris Johnson, myself included, consider this: He hasn’t played a game in the AFC South yet.
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=Chris+Johnson+titans&iid=9908466″ src=”http://view2.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9908466/denver-broncos-tennessee/denver-broncos-tennessee.jpg?size=500&imageId=9908466″ width=”234″ height=”347″ /]The Titans open division play Monday night in Jacksonville against the Jaguars, and Johnson gets his first crack at a team that he hung 311 of his 2,006 rushing yards on last season.
In fact, Johnson was much better last season in the six division games than he was in the Titans’ other 10 games. My research surprised me. CJ averaged 134.3 yards per game and 6.7 yards per carry in the division last season, 120.0 and 5.0 in the other 10 games. Those are significant differences.
I’ll admit I would have figured it the other way around. You’d think — or at least I would — that the teams that see CJ the most would have him figured out the best. Such obviously has not been the case.
“We’re gonna gameplan week after week but once you get to the division you can anticipate some things you’re gonna get, especially the second time around, as opposed to against uncommon opponents, who are gonna completely change their philosophies to defend him,” Jeff Fisher said.
The coach’s take is an interesting one. We’ll see if Jaguars second-year defensive coordinator Mel Tucker can come up with something different to slow CJ that he couldn’t arrive at in 2009.
This is just CJ’s third Monday night game.
“It’s always exciting to play on Monday Night Football,” he said. “You always wanna put on a big show on the big stage.”
[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=jason+babin&iid=9907536″ src=”http://view1.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9907536/denver-broncos-tennessee/denver-broncos-tennessee.jpg?size=500&imageId=9907536″ width=”500″ height=”359″ /]
DE Jason Babin posted 1.5 sacks against the Broncos on Sunday.
He celebrated one of the first-quarter sacks in a fashion unseen so far this season. He stood up and struck the pose you see above.
I wrote about Babin in this space on Wednesday. Later Wednesday, in the locker room after practice, I asked him about the celebration. While hardly Gastineau-esque (look it up, youngsters), it seemed a little bit out of character.
I wondered if it were an homage to Hulk Hogan. You never know when you might run across a pro wrestling fan in an NFL locker room.
“It was a Mr. Olympia pose,” Babin told Sportsinthe615. “I lost a bet with a buddy of mine, Chris Jansen. He’s my hunting buddy. We went to school together (at Western Michigan).
“I don’t even remember what the bet was about. Something insignificant. But if I lost he got to decide on my sack celebration.”
At the rate Babin is going, Jansen may need to get a list of sack celebrations ready in case he wins future wagers.
The Titans are the fifth team for which DE Jason Babin has toiled.
Maybe it just took this long to find the right fit.
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=jason+babin&iid=9907536″ src=”http://view1.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9907536/denver-broncos-tennessee/denver-broncos-tennessee.jpg?size=500&imageId=9907536″ width=”340″ height=”260″ /]Babin, a first-round pick by the Texans in 2004, is a man renewed playing along the defensive line in Tennessee. He already has more tackles (19) and sacks (3.5) in four games than he had in 12 games last season with Philadelphia.
“We felt like he would fit into our system,” Jeff Fisher said. “We thought that he would play well because he’s a leverage player, he’s got good speed. He’s an emotional player and he plays real hard.
“Ironically, he’s making a lot of plays inside – he’s made a couple of tackles for losses inside – lined up at a tackle position, in a different front for us (Sunday against Denver). He’s playing well and he’s playing hard.”
The fact Babin, 30, has turned out to be such a perfect fit is even more critical now, in the wake of the announcement Monday that DE Derrick Morgan, the team’s first-round pick, has been lost for the season with an ACL tear suffered Sunday against the Broncos.
“The biggest difference here … is the fact I play,” Babin told Sportsinthe615. “It’s kind of hard to put up any stats when you don’t play.”
Few people here believed Babin even was a lock to make this team. He was a camp body. The Titans are deep on the defensive line, and they didn’t break the bank to bring in Babin. They offered him $1 million for one year, and the Eagles, who had a clause that allowed them to match any offer within seven days, passed.
But the Titans had some injuries at defensive end during the preseason, and Babin took advantage. He was a terror in the preseason, and lo and behold he emerged as a starter. He already has started more games this season (four) than in any season since his rookie year in Houston, when he started all 16.
His career had slowly gone downhill since 2004, his first season in the league out of Western Michigan. His playing time dwindled. The Texans gave up on him. The Seahawks signed him and barely used him. The dreaded “bust” word was thrown around. Football ceased to be fun.
Babin has found the fun again. He’s flying around making plays. He’s loving the Titans defensive system that calls for frequent rotation of all of the linemen.
“I’ve never been anywhere where they rotated like this,” Babin said. “It’s surprising more coaches don’t catch onto this. If you look at the production per play it’s just as good a production as if you played 60 plays because you can play wide open. It makes sense.”
Babin has not found any prima donnas among the Titans linemen. It’s a blue-collar group that appears genuinely to be among the tightest units in the locker room.
“That’s a big key is everybody buying into it,” Babin said. “If they don’t it’s not gonna work. But you know, everybody here does. It’s pretty amazing. You might have selfish people, people not thinking about the team. Everybody here knows if you’re not selfish it’s gonna come back to you in just the way you need it to – making plays.”
What could be more fun than that?