Normal probably isn't the word one should use to describe the 2011 offseason for the Tennessee Titans.
From Jeff Fisher stepping down as head coach, the inevitable departure of a former franchise QB and the potential arrival of another and last and certainly least, the doldrums of the seemingly eternal NFL lockout, it's been anything but your typical offseason in Titans-land.
However, just when you think change has totally seized the day, there's always that reminder that brings you back to the reality that some things never change. You know...that reoccuring theme that always stokes the fires of many Titans' fans yearning for the day that a certain talented yet enigmatic beast is unleashed from his self-made cage of inconsistency.
That's right folks....it's that time of year again, when we predict for the umpteenth time that TE Jared Cook is in store for a breakout season.
The latest prediction for Jared Cook's coming-out party has been inspired by the recent words of optimism uttered by new Titans' offensive coordinator Chris Palmer, who is excited about #89's potential and the way he'll be utilized in the offense in 2011. With more two-TE sets in place of three-WR formations, one can assume that Cook's opportunities to showcase his tantalizing playmaking skills will be in abundance next year.
Yes, we've read this script before. Prior to his rookie and sophomore campaigns, there was a lot of talk surrounding Cook's abilities and certainly a prediction or two regarding his chances of playing a major role in the team's offense. Unfortunately for Cook, courtesy of his inconsistency and sub-par blocking skills, the hope for him to make an impact never really materialized.
Towards the end of the forgettable campaign also known as 2010, with their playoff hopes dashed and destroyed, the Titans featured Cook in the offense a bit more, with some positive results. He caught four or more passes in four of his last six games last year, finally turning his vast potential into some level of production on the football field.
Hopefully, the combination of last year's positive momentum and Chris Palmer's desire to make him a key ingredient in the team's passing game will allow Cook to emerge as yet another #89 who turns into a pretty solid TE threat for the Titans next year and beyond.
I think Cook's time is now. He will get plenty of opportunities in the Palmer offense. There was something wrong with the Fisher/Heimerdinger offensive scheme. It wa too simplistic and lacked creativity. They couldn't get Moss and Britt on the field at the same time. They allowed Scaife to be the receiving tight end despite his obvious physical limitations. And they seemed to just want to constantly run CJ between the tackles play after play after play.
Palmer will, I believe, find a way to get the ball into his playmakers' hands. And Cook is one of those playmakers..