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News » Tennessee Titans Strategy and Personnel 2008-08-28


Tennessee Titans Strategy and Personnel 2008-08-28


Tennessee Titans Strategy and Personnel 2008-08-28
The Titans released three players and removed two others from their training camp roster to get down to the limit of 75 players Tuesday. Those waived included WR Chris T. Davis (the Titans also have a Chris C. Davis), T Brandon Torrey and DT Barry Booker. Tennessee moved RB Rafael Little to the reserve/non-football injury list and placed LB Jorge Cordova on injured reserve.


-- Earlier in the week, Tennessee made a couple of minor roster moves, signing LB Jerrell Freeman and DB Tuff Davis and waiving P Josh Miller.

--K Rob Bironas still has not kicked in the preseason, and there is now speculation as to whether his injured groin will be ready when the Titans open the regular season against Jacksonville.

--CB Cary Williams has been bothered by a quadriceps injury that has idled him for most of the preseason.

--RT David Stewart is back in the lineup after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Aug. 14.

PLAYER TO WATCH: LB Colin Allred - This undrafted free agent from 2006 and former practice squad player has been having a strong preseason, including a likely start in the finale at Green Bay. Allred, a former Baylor standout, might have done well enough to stick around past final cuts as a backup linebacker and special teams performer, even in a crowded field at that position.

DRAFT PICKS TO STICK

Rd. 1/24, RB Chris Johnson, East Carolina -- The Titans like everything they've seen from Johnson, from his breakaway speed to his blitz pick-ups. He has already earned himself at least 50 percent of the carries with incumbent LenDale White.

Rd. 2/54, DL Jason Jones, Eastern Michigan -- A tall rangy lineman able to play DT despite weighing just 275. Jones will be Tennessee's top backup in the tackle rotation and can also slide out to end when needed.

Rd. 3/85, TE Craig Stevens, California -- His immediate impact is not likely with veterans Alge Crumpler and Bo Scaife ahead of him.

Rd. 4/103, DE William Hayes, Winston-Salem St. -- A long-term project, but with upside. Hopes to crack the back part of the DE rotation with Jevon Kearse and Jacob Ford.

Rd. 4/126, WR Lavelle Hawkins, California -- Shifty receiver still has much to learn, but could be a factor once he learns the ropes.

Rd. 4/134, LB Stanford Keglar, Purdue -- His role, to help on special teams and continue to learn the defense in order to be a top backup at both WLB and SLB by 2009.

UNIT-BY-UNIT ANALYSIS:

QUARTERBACK: Starter - Vince Young. Backup - Kerry Collins.

Young must improve on last year's nine TD passes. Look for the Titans to emphasize pre-snap reads, and roll him out often to give him opportunities to run to maximize his athleticism. It could be a slow go, especially early as Young puts into practice a new offensive system. Collins has lost weight and gives Tennessee a steady, veteran understudy just in case.

RUNNING BACK: Starters - RB LenDale White, FB Ahmard Hall. Backup - RB Chris Johnson, RB Chris Henry, FB Casey Cramer.

White has a tenuous grip on the starter's job, despite a 1,110-yard season a year ago and a healthier knee. The Titans like Johnson's speed and will give him 50 percent of the carries. Henry would be in trouble where it not for his second-round pick status in '07. At fullback, Hall will get more touches, both as a receiver and occasional carry, while Cramer's value is on special teams.

TIGHT END/H-BACK: Starter - Alge Crumpler. Backups - Bo Scaife, Dwayne Blakley, Craig Stevens.

Crumpler comes over from the Falcons and provides a nice upgrade at the top of the rotation. Though technically not a starter, Scaife will see plenty of action in the two-tight end sets the Titans often prefer.

WIDE RECEIVER: Starters - Justin Gage, Justin McCareins. Backups - Brandon Jones, Roydell Williams, Biren Ealy, Lavelle Hawkins, Paul Williams.

A muddled group to be certain. Gage and Roydell Williams shared the team lead in receptions a year ago with 55. Williams, however, has tested the coaching staff's patience with his slow recovery from a broken ankle. McCareins is well versed in the offense and will start, while Jones could have the most upside, but his inconsistency is frustrating to coaches. Hawkins has a long way to go but could be solid long-term.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Starters - LT Michael Roos, LG Eugene Amano, C Kevin Mawae, RG Jake Scott, RT David Stewart. Backups - C/G Leroy Harris, G/T Daniel Loper, T/G Mike Otto.

This is the deepest and most solid group on the offense. The Titans locked up Roos and Stewart with contract extensions and imported Scott from the rival Colts to replace retired Benji Olson. Amano won the left guard position in the off-season. Loper is a solid backup, as is Harris, who becomes the heir apparent when the veteran Mawae hangs it up.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Starters - LDE Jevon Kearse, LDT Tony Brown, RDT Albert Haynesworth, RDE Kyle Vanden Bosch. Backups - DT/DE Jason Jones, DE Jacob Ford, DT Antonio Johnson, DE William Hayes, DE/DT Dave Ball.

The right side of this unit will attract all the attention with Pro Bowlers Haynesworth and Vanden Bosch. This group set the tempo last season with 36 of the 40 sacks generated. However, the Titans must replace the combo of Travis LaBoy and Antwan Odom at left end. They believe that some mix of Kearse, Ford and eventually Hayes can make up the 14 sacks that departed via free agency.

LINEBACKERS: Starters - LLB David Thornton, MLB Ryan Fowler, RLB Keith Bulluck. Backups - MLB/OLB Stephen Tulloch, OLB Stanford Keglar, OLB/MLB Colin Allred, OLB Josh Stamer, OLB Ken Amato.

The Titans have speed on the outside with Bulluck and Thornton and a technician in the middle with Fowler. Tulloch has proven himself capable of being a starter and has learned the outside spots to increase his value. The rest are on hand for special teams work, though Keglar, a rookie, could have some eventual upside.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters - LCB Nick Harper, RCB Cortland Finnegan, SS Chris Hope, FS Michael Griffin, Backups - FS/Nickel Vincent Fuller, CB/Dime Eric King, CB Reynaldo Hill, CB/FS Chris Carr, SS/FS Calvin Lowry, SS Donnie Nickey.

This unit should only get better with a year of working together. It combines cagey vets like Harper and Hope with young emerging stars in Finnegan and Griffin. Fuller is solid as the nickel, and King the same in the dime package.

Depth at corner is decent, but the Titans can ill afford to lose one of their starting safeties, as they did with Hope last year. In the event of injury, Tennessee would be reluctant to play Fuller at safety full-time because he is undersized, and they don't' want to juggle the nickel package, and Lowry, a former starter, would represent a drop-off in production.

SPECIAL TEAMS: PK Rob Bironas, P Craig Hentrich, KOR Chris Carr, KOR return Chris Johnson, PR Chris Carr, PR Lavelle Hawkins.

The Titans' red-zone problems allowed Bironas to enjoy a banner year with 35 of 39 field goals. Hentrich remains solid entering his 15th NFL season, =

despite back problems that plague him from time to time. The Titans are seeking to upgrade their return game, with Carr and Johnson vying on kickoffs, and Carr the likely winner on punt returns, especially with Hawkins nursing an ankle injury and still getting a feel for the job.



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

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Albert Haynesworth Name: Albert Haynesworth
#92
Position: DT
Age: 27
Experience: 7 years
College: Tennessee
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