Titans’ Sixer: Losses mounting, and no relief in sight
The Titans’ “Sixer,” a six-pack of things I believe I learned about the team, after another ugly loss, the Titans’ fourth in a row. Herewith “the Sixer” on the 20-0 whitewash by the Texans:
1. I’m starting to fear for Jeff Fisher’s job, and it doesn’t seem fair. This comment isn’t necessarily related to Sunday’s effort by his team, which certainly was less than stellar. This goes to all of the trouble all week with Vince Young and the involvement of Titans owner Bud Adams. There are a couple of things of which I’m certain about this franchise, and one is that the owner, for whatever reason, is a VY guy. Yes, he has been a Fisher guy for a lot of years, too, but he stepped in and told Fisher to draft Young and now he has told Fisher to mend the fences with his mentally fragile signal-caller. Seriously, Bud? Listen to your coaches and your front office. Listen to every analyst on every network. Your “chosen” QB undermined his coach and cursed at him in front of your whole team. Is there anybody in your company who could do that to you and get away with it? Yeah, I didn’t think so. But Fisher has to swallow all of this and go to war with the guy? Too much for anybody to swallow. Maybe Adams uses a nine-game season-ending losing streak (let’s face it — it’s a REAL possibility) to dump Fisher. It’s the only way I can see VY back in a Titans uniform in 2011.
2. I haven’t seen the Chris Johnson of 2009 since Week 3 against the Giants. In the past eight games CJ has two runs longer than 30 yards. Two. Last year he had three games in which he had two 30-plus yard runs. There was a run Sunday against the Texans where he started right, saw too many defenders, and looked to reverse left. It looked like nothing but daylight awaited. It was exactly the kind of run where everyone stands on their feet, sure CJ is about to gallop for a score. Instead, Houston LB Brian Cushing caught him from behind. No way that would have happened last year. It seems like every away game I watch on TV I hear the network analyst say, “Johnson looks a bit slower, he doesn’t have that same burst.” I had a high enough draft pick in two fantasy leagues to take CJ. I passed for Packers QB Aaron Rodgers both times. Feeling pretty good about that.
3. Cortland Finnegan as instigator is way overrated. Am I supposed to be impressed that Finnegan got under Andre Johnson’s skin to the point Johnson lost his cool and got tossed from the game (and quite possibly the next one)? The Titans were losing badly at the time, and Finnegan got tossed, too. Am I supposed to believe this gives Finnegan some pyschological edge over Johnson? It doesn’t. Check the stats. Johnson has had some monster games against the Titans. The two will meet again at LP Field on Dec. 19. Finnegan confuses chippiness with greatness. Greatness is when your play speaks for you.
4. Randy Moss’ 2011 audition tape is headed straight to DVD. What I’m saying is this: If Moss has something — anything — in the tank he better start showing it because he’s on the verge of playing himself out of the league. In his past 15 games across three franchises Moss has one catch of longer than 37 yards. And that was last season. For the sake of comparison he had eight receptions of 40-plus yards in 2007. Moss isn’t exactly going to transition into a go-over-the-middle, get-the-tough-yards receiver. Is he a Hall of Famer? Without question. In his prime he was absolutely phenomenal, maybe the best deep-ball threat ever. But he’s 33, and from the looks of it his prime is in the rear-view mirror and it ain’t exactly driving like Jimmie Johnson to catch up.
5. Rusty Smith didn’t get a lot of help. There isn’t a QB on God’s green earth who can lead the Titans to a victory when Chris Johnson carries seven times for 5 yards. I’m not even sure the ol right-hander in the sky his own self could have pulled off that miracle. Yes, Smith has to be better than he was on Sunday. But he’s not the first rookie to throw three interceptions in his first NFL start. Turns out another QB in the division had three in each of his first two starts. Guy by the name of Peyton Manning. Right now Smith is throwing to spots, and he’s not exactly paying complete attention to the defense. That comes with time. But there are moments when he makes some throws and you just go, “Yeah, OK, I can see why they like him so much.”
6. The Titans are who we thought they were. If you go back and check predictions for the 2010 season, you’ll find the majority of prognosticators saw the Titans as a middling, non-playoff team. When they were 5-2 we all were Googling recipes for crow because a lot of us were going to have to eat a fair portion. Now they’re 5-6 and 8-8 looks like a pipe dream.