|Damian Williams is one of several young Titans who needs to get more playing time.|
In his press conference Friday afternoon, when asked about giving more inexperienced players more playing time during the last three games of the season, Jeff Fisher replied, “there is a chance we may play some younger players.”
I hope we see that. The season is going down the toilet and we might as well let the backups get some experience.
If Fisher follows through with his hint of change, here are some players I’d like to see get more playing time.
Damian Williams — Justin Gage and Nate Washington have been getting too much work, with not enough results, at Williams’ expense. Williams, the Titans’ second overall pick in the 2010 draft, missed most of training camp and the associated playing time in preseason games. I’d like to see him progress into an expanded role next year and wouldn’t it be helpful to give him some experience now? One thing that might hinder more playing time for Williams is Fisher’s claim, also in Friday’s presser, that the Titans may utilize Randy Moss with Kenny Britt on the field at the same time.
Lavelle Hawkins and Marc Mariani — It would be nice to see more of them, but that’s probably a luxury we won’t see. I don’t know if there’s enough playing time to go around for three more wideouts and if only one guy is going to see additional time, I hope it’s Williams.
Jared Cook — Unfortunately, Bo Scaife’s two touchdowns against the Colts will probably delay this move. I’ve said for two years that Scaife is the most overpaid tight end in the league and I want to see Cook get all of Scaife’s snaps for the next three games. I want to see how good Cook can be.
Fernando Velasco, Mike Otto and Troy Kropog — I’m not proposing that they start, but they could play the second half in a few games. Velasco is the only one who’s really had any playing time on the o-line and I’d like to see how well all three can fare against another team’s best d-linemen. We’ve mainly seen Otto and Kropog playing against second-stringers in preseason games, though Otto has been used on occasion in jumbo packages. Hopefully, Velasco would replace Jake Scott, since Eugene Amano and Leroy Harris still need all the experience they can get. Michael Roos, David Stewart and Scott don’t need any extra work and could enjoy taking off a half or two.
Rennie Curran — We now know what Will Witherspoon can do and he certainly doesn’t need any more experience. Curran was selected in the third round in April, the Titans’ third overall pick, and is quicker and more athletic than Spoon. He doesn’t have Spoon’s experience but he’ll never get any as long as he’s on the bench. Spoon was a godsend and has played decently, but he’s not the future at WLB and Curran could be.
Jason McCourty — He’s already had seven career starts, and has also become the team’s nickelback, so my desire to see more playing time for him doesn’t have much to do with experience. This is really more of a ‘send Cortland Finnegan a message’ thing. I know one thing. JMac probably wouldn’t have been beaten deep by Reggie Wayne the way Finny was several times Thursday night.
Nick Schommer — I don’t believe Chris Hope has been playing as badly as some people say he is. At least, he wasn’t playing poorly in the first half of the season. However, Hope has tailed off since then, and I wonder if he’s been slowed by an undisclosed injury. If Hope is indeed injured, why not give Schommer some playing time? If Hope isn’t injured, give the kid a shot anyway.
Knowing Fisher’s history of being overly loyal to most of his veteran starters, I don’t expect him to make wholesale changes. But if he’s serious about wanting to improve the younger players on this football team, he will give those guys more playing time.
Which players would you like to see get more experience? Rusty Smith for Kerry Collins, anyone?