Thanks again to Matt and bfd of the Texans blog DGDB&D for participating in this week’s Q&A exchange. For their responses to my questions, check out yesterday’s post. For my answers to their questions about the Titans, see below.
Is it true that Albert Haynesworth feasts on a strict diet of puppies
and kittens? And happens with him at the end of the year?
I have no idea of Haynesworth’s gustatory habits, but haven’t seen
anything reported about him consuming puppies and kittens. I have,
however, previously expressed delight about the inclusion of kittens in
vegetable soup. Never tried it, though-I can’t imagine kittens have
enough meat on them to make it worthwhile.
It’s not one of my most popular positions among Titans fans, but I
think Haynesworth is totally gone after this year. Unless he gets hurt
between now and the start of free agency, this is his one great chance
to really cash in. The only way I can see him re-signing with the
Titans before the start of the UFA period is if the Titans really blow
him away with an offer, and they haven’t given anybody that kind of
contract since Moon, and Adams hasn’t hugely paid for players outside
of league wars (Moon during the USFL era, Ditka and Cannon during the
AFL-NFL battles). And, if Haynesworth makes it to unrestricted free
agency, I see somebody offering him a completely insane amount of
money, and that somebody not being the Titans.
2. If VY were healthy, not depressed, and starting every week, would the Titans be better, worse, or the same?
Well, if VY were healthy, not depressed, and starting, it would be
because he’d be a better quarterback than he showed last year and the
first game of this year before he got injury/etc. In that case, the
Titans might have a more explosive passing attack-VY has shown, in the
Giants game his rookie year and the second Jaguars game last year, that
he’s capable of looking relatively fluid in a spread pass-oriented
attack. I’m not sure that would look quite the same way now, with
Heimerdinger replacing Chow as offensive coordinator (the most
under-reported story of the Titans’ success this year), but I could see
that happening in some alternate universe.
That’s the optimistic view. I’d imagine you’re looking for the
pessimistic view, that the reason VY looked so bad last year, visibly
working to make decisions, is because he wasn’t able to adapt quickly
to making the reads demanded of an NFL quarterback, and that with Chow
trying to make him more comfortable. THAT VY, if he were still
quarterback, would be making too many bad decisions that lead to
turnovers. The Titans have a good enough running game and a strong
enough defense they’d still have a winning record, but I’m thinking
more like 9-4 instead of 12-1. Worse, but not a great deal worse.
3. We’ve seen teams that are built around a stifling defense do
well in the playoffs in recent years (TB, Baltimore), so that seems to
bode well for the Titans chances, doesn’t it? At the same time, do you
worry that eventually Kerry Collins will have to win a game on his own
(rather than just not lose it)? Are you already making plans to head
I’m more confident about Collins now that I was earlier in the year.
I’m guessing you missed the Chicago game-the Bears really stacked the
box and pretty much shut down the passing game, so Collins sat back and
threw the ball all day consisently enough to put twenty-one on the
board in some mediocre weather. (“Bear Weather,” whatever. Stupid
local fans.) The bigger problem is the guys he’s throwing to. When
Kris Jenkins was blowing up the Titans’ line in the loss, Collins kept
trying to throw the ball to his receivers, and the receivers kept
dropping the ball. Justin McCareins is starting at wideout, and it’s
certainly not because he’s particularly good at (i) getting open or
(ii) catching the ball, which is what some of the primary
responsibilities for a wideout are in the universe I tend to think of
myself as inhabiting. Bo Scaife has been pretty good this year, much
better than I thought he’d be, but he’s still not a Gates/Gonzalez type
of guy you can structure your passing game around.
4. Is Vince Young still with this team next year? On a related
note, if you could go back and do the 2006 draft over, knowing what you
know now, would you still want them to take Young?
I can’t see any possible way VY is not with the Titans next year, if
only for cap reasons. Because 2010 is shaping up to be an uncapped
year, any acceleration event (trade or cut) would all hit in 2009
instead of hitting in 2009 and 2010, meaning the cap hit would be in
the neighborhood of $9 million. That’s an awful lot of cap space
they’d have to be ok with wasting. He’s also the only quarterback the
Titans currently have under contract for next year (Collins and #3 QB
Chris Simms are both scheduled to be UFAs, though they are apparently
interesting in keeping Simms around). As to whether or not he’s going
to be the starter, I hope he’s working hard to learn the offense and
working on reading defenses so that he will be a successful starter.
As to the 2006 draft, I don’t think it’s going out on too much of a
limb to declare that so far Jay Cutler looks like the best quarterback
of the 2006 draft class. I never thought that Cutler had a realistic
shot to be the #3 pick in the draft, and I have a tough time seeing
anybody give up the Titans enough to get the #3 pick. Knowing what I
know now, though, and keeping in mind former Titan GM Floyd Reese’s
dictum that “If there’s a guy who’s a franchise quarterback available
in the draft, and you don’t have a franchise quarterback on your team,
you have to draft him,” sure, I’ll take Cutler.
Roos has come out of nowhere (at least to non-Titans fans) and
established himself as a top-flight OT. Has his development been as
shocking to Titans fans or has he shown this kind of promise from day 1?
I’ve been raving about Roos since 2006 (see here), and wrote a fairly extensive breakdown about how he did against Mario Williams.
I don’t claim to have a great grasp on how other Titans fans think, and
most fans show greater appreciation for drive-blocking in the run game
than for his style of smoothly efficient pass blocking, but he’s looked
pretty danged good to me since he started at left tackle Week 1 of 2006
after spending 2005 at right tackle. I thought he’d end up like Brad
Hopkins-pretty good for a dozen years, but not that well appreciated
around the rest of the league (partly because he came in around the
same time as a bunch of historically great LTs). Seeing Roos get the
kind of league-wide recognition I think he deserves has been one of the
most satisfying parts of the Titans’ success this year.