I'm sure many of you have been following the rampant speculation regarding a possible Albert Haynesworth reunion with the Tennessee Titans.
Due to the tug-of-war going on between two strong-willed individuals: Washington Redskins' new sheriff in town Mike Shanahan and Fat Albert, there's been reports suggesting that Haynesworth could be available. Naturally, since he established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the city of Nashville, there's been a thought or two regarding the Titans' possible interest in their former stud defensive tackle.
Of course, Albert's massive contract makes the situation a bit tricky. However, if the Redskins are hell-bent on ridding themselves of Albert, for the right price, the Titans would be wise to make a run at reacquiring Haynesworth's services.
In the run-up to last year's draft, I wrote a post going through the roster as it stood prior to the draft and questioning whether the Titans had room for all of their draft picks. While my prediction that the Titans would package together picks and move up proved, shall I say, inaccurate, I think the roster prediction part proved relatively useful and worth repeating.
Now, my point in this exercise is not to definitely categorize players one way or the other. I will once again try to be relatively conservative in describing players as locks and will avoid listing the Ricky Schmitts and Jay Moores of the world that I don't see as having a particularly realistic chance of making the roster. But, the following players all played in at least one NFL game last year and thus must be regarded as candidates for the active roster.
As we rapidly approach draft weekend, the positions of defensive end and cornerback have emerged as the Tennessee Titans' biggest needs. However, DE/CB aren't the only spots where the Titans could use some reinforcements.
Failing to replace the production and consistency displayed by former Titan Chris Carr in 2008, the Titans struggled badly on kick/punt returns in 2009. A motley crew of vets and rookies failed to get the job done as the return units went from being a strength to one of the team's biggest weaknesses from '08-09.
There's little doubt that the team will look to address KR/PR by adding someone who is capable of getting the job done with one of their draft selections. Here's a look at ten potential candidates as the Titans desperately seek a dynamic return-man.
In the first part of this little series looking at how much the Titans offense improved when Vince Young came in, I wrote about how Collins' and Young's statistics compared to what we'd expect based on teams that normally change quarterbacks midseason. The findings on that weren't too surprising, namely that Vince Young played a lot better than Collins, pretty much across the board.
One of the reasons the Titans were able to turn things around, quite apart from the quarterback play, was that the defense started playing much better. Even excluding entirely the Patriots game, the defense allowed 27.8 points per game the first five games and only allowed one opponent the last 10 games to exceed that, when they gave up 42 to San Diego on Christmas. And, bad defenses don't only give up points, they tend to allow yards. While total yardage stats can be an unreliable indicator of team quality, defenses that consistently give up a lot of yards tend to leave their offenses in unfavorable situations.
A good example of this is the first Jaguars game. The Titans put up 379 yards, their 5th best total of the season, but only scored 17 points, because their best starting field position for the entire game was their own 23. Lousy returns played a role in this, in addition to the defense, but either way the offense was starting backed up and needing 50 or more yards just to get into reasonable field goal range. Since point production is thus a result of field position, I thought I'd look at how the two quarterbacks did with similar field position.
We continue this series of prospect profiles with a look at defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.