So what is left for the Tennessee Titans in 2014? The second quarter of the season was an unmitigated disaster. It has put the Titans at 2-6, and the #5 draft pick if the season were over. With the recent dismal results from drafts for this team, not even that is comforting.
Jake Locker appears out for good as the starting quarterback—too many injuries, too much inconsistency, not enough toughness, not enough leadership, and not a good enough relationship with Coach Ken Whisenhunt. It appears to be rookie sixth-round pick Zach Mettenberger, hair or no hair. The fact the quarterbacks’ hair became a story illustrates perfectly just where this franchise is at the present time.
The season’s second quarter started with much promise with a 28-3 lead over the Browns. Then came another Locker injury and the biggest blown lead at home in a regular season game in league history. The 29-28 debacle was followed by a 16-14 win over Jacksonville in spite of their best efforts to blow that one, with only a blocked field goal on the last play preventing another loss. Another missed opportunity in Washington, losing 19-17, led to Charlie Whitehurst sitting in favor of Mettenberger and a 30-16 defeat to Houston.
The stat to perfectly encapsulate this season of Nashville football: Vanderbilt/Titans starting quarterbacks 7, wins 5. TSU has had little more luck than that.
Coming up in the season’s third quarter is a road game against the Ravens and a Monday night game against Pittsburgh at home, followed by road games at Philadelphia and Houston. I suppose this is what they mean by a ‘trial by fire’ that is in store for young Mettenberger.
There truly is not much positive to point to, and I am trying. You know about the quarterback situation. Bishop Sankey does show promise, as Shonn Greene has spent at least as much time in the police blotter of late than the field. The offensive line lost Michael Roos for the season, and first-round pick Taylor Lewan has been awful so far. As for last season’s first pick, Chance Warmack? Let’s hope this is only a sophomore slump. Delanie Walker is solid but Nate Washington has struggled through injury again. Justin Hunter is inconsistent and not much to help a quarterback there.
On defense, Jurrell Casey is proving the Titans’ best player. If anyone deserves Pro Bowl consideration on this team it is him. But as a unit, the run defense has struggled and the secondary leads all of football in pass interference penalties. The staggering giveaway of Akeem Ayers in trade did nothing to help either.
The coaching has been a disaster prompting bloggers to post apology letters to previous coach Mike Munchak. The decision to go on fourth down in their own territory late against Cleveland resulted directly in the defeat. Tennessee continues to be among the league leaders in penalties as well.
So what is left? You get Zach Mettenberger ready. You stretch him out. You open the entire offense to him, and see if he has what it takes to succeed in the NFL. You assess exactly where you need help; you thoroughly evaluate every player, every coach, and every system—all of which leads us to the question that really haunts this franchise. Is there anyone qualified to correctly evaluate everything and make the changes that need made for this dismal franchise to turn around? The Titans need upgrades on the field, but also in the front office. Until that happens, the playoffs will continue to be a memory.