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Playing favorites with the Titans

Some regular readers have noticed I seem to like some Titan players more than others. They’ve also noticed there are some Titans that I don’t particularly care for and for whom I seldom have good things to say.
I plead guilty. I do have some favorite players, just like many other fans. There are also some players who have given me reason not to make my list of favorites. Others simply haven’t been with the team long enough or had enough playing time for me to evaluate them. Others are neither on my good nor bad list.
In the full spirit of partial disclosure, I will reveal my favorite Titans below, along with some reasons why I like them. Afterwards, I’ll invite you to do the same with your comments.
The offensive line — all five starters make the list. I wrote an article in January saying they were my favorite guys and of course they still are. A good o-line is the best friend of a quarterback, a running back, the defense and the coaching staff. This o-line has a lot of friends. The Titans are second in the league in rushing, which says something about how much they’ve improved.
Ahmard Hall — I salute any man who volunteers to serve his country, which Hall did, serving tours of duty in the war zones of Kosovo and Afghanistan. I also admire men who overcome odds, which Hall has done twice in his football career. A walk-on at Texas, he earned a scholarship and a starting position on a national championship team. An undrafted free agent, he made the Titans roster as a rookie and became, at that time, the only fullback. An unselfish player, “The Big Marine” is a great lead blocker reminiscent of Lorenzo Neal.
Vince Young — I feel no need to explain this selection.
Brandon Jones — He’s got a good future with the team and could become their best receiver for years to come. Unlike one of his fellow WRs who will probably never be a favorite of mine, Jones has a great attitude, He also has a great work ethic, which undoubtedly played a large part in his earlier-than-expected successful return from ACL surgery.
Bo Scaife — Another guy with a great work ethic who’s overcome adversity. Scaife had three serious knee injuries in five years, blowing out both knees. He was forced to take two medical redshirt years in college, yet still managed to make his way back onto the playing field and into the NFL.
Casey Cramer — He’s a backup H-back and fullback but a star on special teams. Every team needs a few players like Cramer.
Kyle Vanden Bosch — I have never witnessed a player exhibit a stronger work ethic. Those of you who have seen him in training camp know exactly what I’m talking about. He wouldn’t even slow down after shoulder surgery, running sprints on the sidelines during every play in practice. Like Scaife, he’s also blown out both knees and persevered to overcome both career-threatening injuries.
Tony Brown — I was glad to see him rewarded with a new contract recently. If there’s a silver lining in every cloud, Brown was the silver in the cloud that was the Albert Haynesworth stomping incident. Picked up off the NFL scrap heap as a replacement for Big Al, Brown played some inspired ball at both DT and DE, where he helped fill in after injuries there. The guy also has a great positive attitude you have to love. I have heard speculation that Brown’s contract was one reason why Randy Starks stepped up his game against the Saints. Albert seems to draw continued motivation as well.
Keith Bulluck — Keith is one of the few Titan veterans who experienced the good times and then the lean times which followed. It could have been easy for him to become disgruntled; instead he became a leader, not only by example with his stellar play but also on the practice field, in the locker room, the meeting rooms, the weight room, and off the field. He’s also one of those Titans that is involved in numerous goodwill and charitable events.
Chris Hope — He’s a leader who came in a year ago and took over the secondary. This offseason he organized and led workouts and other functions for the secondary. His professionalism should be a huge factor in the development of Cortland Finnegan, Vince Fuller and Calvin Lowry. Oh, and he’s not a bad player either.
David Thornton — Very similar to Hope. His leadership skills are such that he was selected as a captain on the Colts after only two pro seasons. In a time when knuckleheads are drawing negative publicity for their off-field transgressions, guys like David Thornton represent something better. And Thornton is not just another nice guy off the field, he’s also one tough guy on the field. Not a lot of people know he was injured last year, perhaps because he continued to play well.
Cortland Finnegan — Good attitude, nice guy, hard worker. A seventh-round draft pick from a small school, he’s another long shot who made it.
Donnie Nickey — Somehow it’s hard for me to characterize him as anything other than a bulldog. His tenacity reminds me of a bulldog biting down on a bone and refusing to let go, which is what Nickey’s been doing with his roster spot for several years. There have always been better safeties on the team but he still holds on to a roster spot. He knows he won’t get much playing time at safety unless there’s an injury, but is another one of those guys like Cramer who stands out on special teams, playing on all of them.
Next offseason when I write about guys whom I’d like to see back on next year’s roster, those guys will be included and you’ll know why.
Please use the comments section below to agree/disagree and to let us know who your favorite Titans are.