Titans Sixer: Fisher, Young battle lines drawn
You barely survived without it. You clamored for its return. Herewith, the Titans Sixer in all its glory.
The Titans beat the Texans 31-17 Sunday at LP Field. What follows are six things I think I learned about the boys in powder blue., who managed to end a six-game losing streak.
1. Jeff Fisher isn’t gonna go quietly. A six-game losing streak can take a toll on a coach, physically, mentally, emotionally. NFL coaches, by their nature, are not guys who like to be questioned. About anything. So when little old ladies and bag boys at Kroger are starting to ask why you can’t win it wears on you. Fisher has looked haggard and seemed on edge at times during this rough stretch. Was TE Bo Scaife really benched Sunday so the Titans could keep eight defensive linemen active, as the coach said, or was he on the inactive list because he told The Tennessean during the week that the locker room was divided over the treatment of Vince Young? Fisher seems to be relishing every opportunity to zing Young in some form or fashion. Witness No. 2.
2. Fisher was unmoved by Vince Young’s appearance. Young slipped onto the sidelines near the end of the first half and hung out till the fourth quarter. Some teammates said they were happy to see him; others, like Fisher, said they had no idea he had been there. Fisher couldn’t resist taking a shot, either. “Most injured reserve players, not all of them but most of them, are here. They come before the game starts, they stay until it’s over with.” Can you feel the love?!?
3. Jason Babin may be pricing himself out of the market. The Titans got Babin for one year and $1 million. That’s bargain basement when you consider what he has delivered: a career-high 12 sacks, the most of any defensive end in the league. Babin told Sportsinthe615 this week that he wanted to stay in Nashville. “I really feel like I’m gonna be here,” Babin said. “I bought into the system. They like me and I like them.” But you have to wonder. On the one hand if anyone should know what a system means to him, it’s Babin, who never has been used as well as he has here under d-line coach Jim Washburn. On the other hand, he also has never seen the kind of money that gets thrown at defensive ends who produce like he has this season.
4. Fernando Velasco deserves a lot of credit. It’s not often a center gets much, but listen to what Kerry Collins had to say about Velasco’s first career start at center: “We made a lot of checks at the line of scrimmage. A lot of the things they (the Texans) do blitz-wise were critical for him to make the right calls and everything. I thought he did an outstanding job. I’m glad to see him play well with the opportunity he’s been given. He’s a guy who has helped us out a couple of times this year.” Velasco helped open holes that allowed Chris Johnson to rush for 130 yards, tied for his third-best output this season.
5. Kenny Britt has a chance to be the next Randy Moss. When I say that I don’t mean the current Moss, I mean the Hall of Fame Moss. Britt changed direction on one reception Sunday, nearly pirouetting all the way around to make a grab, and you just knew there were only maybe a handful of receivers in the league who could have made the same play. Physically Britt is a freak. If his desire to improve on the mental side catches up, the sky is the limit. Will it? Not if you listen to Britt, who tossed out this gem this week when asked about the notebook Moss keeps on cornerbacks: “I don’t wanna see it. I didn’t like books in school and I don’t like them now.”
6. Chris Johnson, while still very good, no longer has a fifth gear. If you were at LP Field Sunday you know that’s a true statement. I don’t care whether a defender had an angle or not, last year he was gone on at least two plays where the Texans caught up to him. If DeSean Jackson asks for a match race, CJ better stay off his Twitter account.