Some Titans need to step it up
The team is off to a good start, but there is still room for improvement. There are a number of players who need to step it up, both for the team and also for their own careers. In some cases, a player falls into both categories.
First, some guys haven't delivered the goods which have been expected of them. Ben Troupe obviously heads up that group. He has company, though. Defensive linemen Travis LaBoy, Antwan Odom and Randy Starks were all first-day picks in the 2004 draft and none have played like it. Vince Young needs help from the receivers, so Brandon Jones and Roydell Williams need to take their games to the next level. Ditto with tight end Bo Scaife. I'd like to see one of the running backs step up to seize control, instead of this RBBC approach, especially with a rookie second-round draft pick waiting in the wings.
Second, there are players in their contract years who need to have a good year to get another contract next year, either with the Titans or with another team: Albert Haynesworth, Jacob Bell, Eugene Amano, Troupe, LaBoy, Starks, Odom, Vince Fuller, David Stewart, Dan Loper, Scaife, Reynaldo Hill, Rob Bironas and Ahmard Hall.
Players on a one-year contract will also be looking for work next year: Chris Brown, Justin Gage, Ben Hartsock, Gilbert Gardner, Eric Moulds, Corey Simon, LeVar Woods, Donnie Nickey, Casey Cramer, Sean Conover and Biren Ealy.
Of the contract-year guys, Haynesworth has stepped it up more than any of them, with three very good games. He should be looking at a big payday when he signs with someone. GM Mike Reinfeldt hasn't spent big bucks on anyone in free agency yet, prompting the question, "Will Albert be the first?"
Linemen Bell and Stewart are playing well and deserving of new contracts. The o-line as a whole is playing well and don't need to have their chemistry and continuity disrupted. Bell will be unrestricted and Stewart restricted next year.
Odom is also playing well, but... he hasn't played well for a full season yet and it's still early. Can he keep his weight and stamina up? Can he play through minor injuries? Can he get some help from LaBoy and Bryce Fisher?
Hall needs to be locked into another deal, something which can be done on the cheap (in NFL dollars) this fall.
I don't know about Bironas. Kickers are sometimes categorized as being a dime a dozen, but Bironas is better than most. I'd personally like to see him back, assuming he remains consistent.
There's a reason why some players have one-year contracts. They're not thought of highly enough to warrant longer ones. Of the group mentioned above, Brown, Hartsock and Moulds seem to have the best chance of being Titans in 2008.
Of all the players named above, it will be interesting to see who steps it up and who doesn't.