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News » Tennessee Titans Inside Slant 2008-08-28

Tennessee Titans Inside Slant 2008-08-28

Tennessee Titans Inside Slant 2008-08-28
At the conclusion of the 2007 season, Titans coach Jeff Fisher vowed in his season-ending press conference to "fix" the offense.

There was plenty to be fixed, as the Titans had finished 27th in passing =

offense, been last in red-zone offense and had a quarterback in Vince Young with a horrible touchdown-to-interception ratio (9:17).

To that end, Fisher fired Norm Chow as offensive coordinator and brought back Mike Heimerdinger, who had the job for five seasons (2000-04) during the thick of team's era as a perennial playoff contender.

The Titans signed tight end Alge Crumpler and receiver Justin McCareins for veteran help, and then drafted speedster Chris Johnson, the fastest player at the NFL Combine, at running back to provide another weapon for Young.

In trying to remedy Young's situation, Heimerdinger has focused on getting his footwork correct, an issue that has still been ongoing, even through training camp and preseason.

The other part of Heimerdinger's mission with Young and the offense is to help his young quarterback with the maturation process.

Young's success at the high school and college levels are well documented, but at least in his time with the Titans, he has had issues with letting go of his failures and learning to not be as sensitive to the criticism.

"The good ones let it go," Heimerdinger is trying to preach to Young. "It bothers them, but you've got to let it go and go to the next snap. If you let a mistake bother you for the rest of the game, then you're not going to be successful in this league, because every quarterback is going to make a mistake. ... You've got to have a short memory and come back and compete.

"A quarterback makes a mistake, you've got to go right back with your team, no matter the situation. You've got to let it go. It's probably hard for young guys to learn that. But you've got to learn that."

In preseason, there have been plenty of failures to learn from. Through three exhibition games, Young and the first-team offense had plenty of unfinished business, as the starters had yet to score a touchdown through three games, and had just one trip into the red zone.

Publicly, at least, the Titans are not panicking and say that when the regular season starts, the game-planning (which should call for Young to use his legs as well as his arm) will begin to take hold and make the offense more effective.

"There's a lot of different things going on in the offense that y'all never see when we go back and watch film and get with our coaches," Young said. "At the same time, every position is getting better and better, and preseason is helping us a whole lot. When we get to Jacksonville (regular -season opener), we can really start pinpoint being what we want to do and take advantage of their defense and things like that."

The Titans believe their defense, led by Pro Bowl defensive linemen Kyle Vanden Bosch and Albert Haynesworth, can be at least as good, if not better =

than the one that finished fifth overall in the NFL a year ago.

If that's the case, then it will be incumbent upon Young and the offense to somehow improve enough for the Titans to advance past being a fringe playoff contender.

Fisher expects nothing less this season.

"I'm not anticipating any issues or any concerns with (Young). I'm really not," Fisher said. "He's improving, he's progressing. He is learning the position. He wins games. We got to the playoffs last year and we're a better team (this year) so we expect to do better. The people that we surrounded him with will allow him to be better."

COACHING: Jeff Fisher, 14th year, 14th with Titans (115-99).

REMEMBERING: 2007 record: 10-6 (3rd in AFC Central); lost in wild-card game to San Diego, 17-6.

PREDICTING: 2008 regular season record 10-6 (3rd in AFC South); lose in divisional playoffs.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: August 28, 2008

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Kyle Vanden Bosch Name: Kyle Vanden Bosch
Position: DE
Age: 29
Experience: 8 years
College: Nebraska
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