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Titans vs. Colts: Players to watch

What a difference a year makes.

In 2007’s season finale, the Tennessee Titans were fighting for a playoff spot as they visited the Indianapolis Colts. This year, the stakes surrounding the season-ender against their division rival are significantly lower.

With a birth in the postseason already secured, the Titans will be looking to rest their starters as they prepare for a home playoff game in a couple of weeks. As a result, several Titan backups will get to exchange their clipboards and seats on the bench for some long-awaited playing time.

I’ll be keeping my eyes on the following Titan reserves this weekend.

Vince Young

2008 has been a learning experience for Vince. Accustomed to being the star QB on perhaps every football team he’s ever played on, VY has had to sit and watch veteran Kerry Collins lead the Titans to a postseason birth.

I’m curious to see what Vince can do in the season-finale. He took some snaps in the Titans’ Thanksgiving Day massacre of the winless Lions, but due to the lopsided nature of the contest, his playing-time consisted of mainly handing off the football.  

Against the Colts, Vince will be able to fling the ball around a little. I’ll be looking at Vince’s footwork, whether or not he locks in to one receiver, and other areas where he’s struggled in the past.

Chris Henry

As a result of the success of Smash and Dash, Chris Henry has been stashed on the bench the entire season.

With LenDale and CJ emerging as the Titans’ main backs, Henry has been the invisible man in 2008. That’s unfortunate, considering that he was a 2nd round draft pick in 2007. Ideally, you’d like a little more bang for your buck with a guy selected that high in the draft.

Despite his shortcomings, Henry has an intriguing blend of size and speed and I’d like to see those attributes on display early and often against the Colts.  

Paul Williams

Patience is a virtue, but it can also be a pain in the rear. My patience is wearing a little thin when it comes to Paul Williams. A third round pick in the 2007 draft, Williams has a grand total of zero career catches in two seasons.

I’m well aware that it takes some time for many receivers to adjust to the rigors of the NFL. However, with Williams, I’ve seen nothing that indicates that he is going to be anything but a disappointment.

Hopefully, that will change a little this weekend. I’d like to see a few balls thrown in Paul’s direction against the Colts. Maybe a jump ball or two that would allow him to take advantage of his size, a slant, a fade, etc.

It’s well-past time for Paul to get rid of the goose egg in the reception category on his player page.

Leroy Harris

Kevin Mawae’s elbow-injury will allow Leroy Harris to get his first NFL start this weekend. Harris did a solid job filling in for an injured Mawae last week against the Steelers.

At 37 years of age, Mawae isn’t going to play forever. Harris is being groomed as the Titans’ future center, so getting him some playing time has short and long-term benefits.

Chris Simms  

It’s anything but a guarantee, but hopefully, Simms will see some playing time against the Colts.

Coming off of a horrific spleen injury, Simms is attempting to breathe life back into his once-promising NFL playing career. Obviously, that may be difficult to accomplish in Tennessee, as he sits behind Kerry Collins and Vince Young. However, the team has stated an interest in re-signing Simms next year, so maybe he has a future in Tennessee after all.

Simms must be showing the Titans some promising signs in practice for them to even consider bringing him back in 2009. This weekend, maybe the rest of us will get the chance to see what Simms brings to the table.