In part I of this two-article series, I took a look at the Tennessee Titans’ surprise performers of 2009. The comeback kid a.k.a Vince Young and rookies such as Kenny Britt and Gerald McRath headlined the list of guys who came out of the blue to emerge as viable contributors last season.
As promised, today’s post will focus upon the players who, in my opinion, earned the dubious distinction as the team’s biggest disappointments due to their less than stellar performances in ’09.
Anyone in the starting secondary not named Cortland Finnegan
Outside of Finny, the remainder of the Titans’ starting defensive backfield struggled mightily in 2009.
After a stellar season in 2008, S Michael Griffin digressed in ’09 as he constantly bit on play-fakes while putting himself out of position as opposing wide receivers made big plays time and time again. Fellow safety Chris Hope was also guilty of being suckered by numerous play-fakes while also suffering from his share of struggles last year.
Last and probably least is the plight of starting CB Nick Harper, who, despite being lauded by Coach Fisher for his tackling skills, was often the weakest link as opposing signal-callers constantly threw in his direction.
Needless to say, I think all of us expected more from a DB unit that sent three of its four players to the Pro Bowl in 2008. Therefore, their overall poor performance as a group has to be considered one of the Titans’ biggest disappointments in 2009.
KVB and The Freak: Happy trails?
The Tennessee Titans received less than stellar production from two guys who have constantly produced during their careers.
Defensive ends Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse, who have combined to notch 116.5 sacks over the course of their storied careers, only produced a measly total of 4 QB takedowns in 2009. While KVB was able to play in all 16 games, Kearse’s season ended prematurely due to injuries and frustration that led to him being deactivated on many occasions throughout the year.
With younger more athletic talents such as Jacob Ford and William Hayes behind them, the days of KVB and The Freak chasing after opposing signal-callers may be coming to an end in the city of Nashville.
From game-manager to the bench: The Kerry Collins story
Praised for his stellar play during the Titans’ immensely successful 2008 performance, Kerry Collins took a step back to say the least in 2009.
Serving as the team’s starting QB during their 0-6 start, KC accumulated a putrid rating of 65.5 while tossing more interceptions (8) than touchdowns (6). His shoddy play eventually led to his benching and the re-emergence of Vince Young, who quarterbacked the team to an 8-2 finish.
Due to the team’s myriad of struggles at the onset of the year, it’s probably not fair to allow Kerry Collins alone to shoulder all of the blame for the 0-6 start. However, I think it’s more than fair to say that KC’s struggles played a key role in the team’s disastrous beginning to the ’09 season.
The Invisible rookie a.k.a Jared Cook
The only reason why I’ve included Cook on this list is due to the training camp/preseason hype machine that surrounded the Titans’ rookie TE.
Due to his scary athletic ability that was constantly on display at practices, the expectations were higher than normal for this rookie third round draft selection. Unfortunately, Cook was unable to turn potential into production in his debut, coming up with only 9 grabs for 74 yards and not a single touchdown.
While it’s still more than enough time for Cook to become a fixture in the Tennessee Titan passing game for years to come, I was expecting a little more than nine catches during his rookie debut.
Nate the un-great
I’ll admit it: I was expecting big things from free agent signee Nate Washington in 2009. On paper, Nate provided the team with a dimension it’s been missing: a guy who could stretch the field due to his blazing speed.
While Nate’s speed was as good as advertised, the impact of this attribute was often nullified due to his numerous dropped passes. It’s great if a guy can create separation and beat opposing cornerbacks but it’s wasted if the receiver is unable to hold onto the football.
Hopefully, Nate’s case of the dropsies will disappear moving forward.
Well guys, that concludes my list of the team’s biggest disappointments of 2009. Agree or disagree with my selections? Feel free to provide your opinions in the comments section below.