Welcome to 2009! On behalf of Total Titans, I wish everyone a safe and prosperous New Year!
Meanwhile, as most of us have been celebrating the beginning of another year, the Tennessee Titans are in the midst of a bye week as they prepare for next weekend's home playoff game against an opponent that has yet to be determined.
Here are a few Titan-related happenings that you might have missed over the course of the last day or so.
Welcome back, Casey
Due to Josh Stamer's season-ending groin injury, TE Casey Cramer has re-entered the building. Cramer was on the wrong side of the numbers game at the tight end position last August as the Titans chose to release him before the start of the 2008 season.
Cramer's a blue-collar type of guy who will provide the Titans with a solid special teams' player for their postseason run. He's also versatile, as evidenced by his ability to play fullback, tight end and also serve as an emergency long-snapper.
In other news, Matt Ryan, not Chris Johnson, was the recipient of this season's NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. CJ wasn't too enthused about the second-place finish, as indicated by his recent comments.
I don't want to take anything away from Matt Ryan. He was a lifesaver for an Atlanta Falcon frachise that was mired in turmoil as a result of the loss of their former franchise QB and the exploits of a cowardly coach who quit on them.
However, Ryan benefitted greatly from the presence of Michael "The Burner" Turner, who had a great season as he finally escaped the shadows of LaDainion Tomlinson. A quarterback's job is made a whole lot easier when there's a stud running back awaiting his handoffs.
IMO, Johnson had just as big of an impact on his team. He provided the Titans with the playmaking presence that their offense so desperately needed. His presence alone was a big factor in the Titans' transformation from a borderline playoff team to legit AFC Super Bowl contender.
Regardless of the results, both teams should be commended for making the right decision on draft day. Ryan and Johnson should be studs for years to come.
Teams in hot pursuit of Schwartz and Dinger
Losing Schwartz would hurt, but the Titans already have a potential replacement on their staff: linebackers' coach Dave McGinnis. If the Titans are interested in another option, they could always rehire former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who was let go by the disappointing Jacksonville Jaguars.
As positive as I am regarding the Titans' ability to survive the potential departure of Schwartz, I feel the total opposite towards the possibility of offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger leaving town.
Hopefully, the Lions will ultimately go in another direction in their search for their next head coach. Besides, I'm not sure if Vince Lombardi himself could right the ship in Motown. I like Dinger and Schwartz too much to wish that fate upon them.