Reflections on Titans at Patriots
The following comes from my brief notes on Friday night's game.
The Titans got on the scoreboard on the Patriots' first series. Kyle Vanden Bosch and Albert Haynesworth ran a stunt, allowing KVB to have a clear path to New England QB Tom Brady. KVB's hit resulted in Brady throwing to Cortland Finnegan for six points going the other way.
KVB had a good game but Antwan Odom was slightly better for the second week in a row. I wonder if this will be the year Odom finally maintains his weight and has a relatively injury-free season. I like what I see about KVB and Odom switching sides. Odom had two sacks while KVB had a sack, a forced fumble and the pressure which led to Finnegan's interception. DTs Big Al and Tony Brown have taken turns having good games so far this preseason.
Vince Young played the entire first half and was very inaccurate on a rainy night. None of the other QBs had problems with their accuracy, although the Patriot QBs threw four picks. Two of them belonged to Brady, who was hit as he threw on each one. Kerry Collins was the best Tennessee QB. The Titans didn't score while Young was in the game, but did get down to the one-yard line.
Besides Finnegan's pick, Lamont Thompson added one and Michael Griffin had two.
Thompson outplayed Calvin Lowry, who started but only played the first quarter.
Griffin showed a lot of athleticism on his two picks. On the first, he simply stole the ball from the Pats' receiver. Griffin made a diving catch to intercept the ball before it hit the turf. for his second pick. He also looked good as a gunner on the punt team.
LenDale White didn't play due to his ankle injury and second-round draft pick Chris Henry got the starting nod. Henry gained only 15 yards due to hesitation, but I was more concerned about him not picking up a rusher who sacked Young.
I know there are a lot of Titans fans who don't like Chris Brown, and I'm one of them. Despite that, I hope he makes the roster. I just hate to depend on rookies for pass protection, which Brown happens to be good at. I don't believe Jeff Fisher will make the mistake of cutting him, unless he's released in favor of another veteran.
I don't believe Fisher will make that mistake, given his track record of concern for his quarterbacks. Remember that when he hired Norm Chow, he told Chow his priority was to keep Steve McNair upright. On another occasion in training camp, a rookie failed to pick up a blitz. Fisher was quick to yell at Travis Henry, "Travis, get in there and show that ******* rookie how to do it."
Henry and Dontrell Moore are both rookies and White is a virtual rook. At this point, I don't trust any of the three in pass protection.
I was impressed with Moore last night. It's been a while since the Titans have had a change-of-pace back, but I don't see them releasing White, Brown or Henry. Nor do I envision them keeping four backs. Brown led the Titans' backs with 10 carries for 67 yards (6.7 ypc), while Moore had nine for 40 (4.4 ypc) and Henry had only eight for 15 (1.9 ypc).
After missing a chip shot last week, rookie kicker John Vaughn was two for two. He should give credit to holder Craig Hentrich for getting a high snap down on one of them. Titans fans have seen Hentrich do that before, one reason I don't see him losing the competition for his job this year.
My biggest concern was the special teams' kick coverage unit, which gave up an average of 31 yards per return, with a long of 44. On kick returns, Griffin was tackled by the kicker on one return, which will result in a lot of ribbing in the DBs meeting room and the locker room this week