Is it just me or are we having this kind of apocalyptic panic every time we play a string of teams that is decidedly better than are?
The long and short of this team is this. We are the Titans of the late 90's early 2000's. We are getting close. I don't think this is a team that will slowly climb from 7 wins to 12 or 13. This team, to me, will be a 7 winish team (8 or 9 is an outside possibility) for a couple of years (read that this and maybe next... though I really think next year will be a 11 or 12 win season). We have talent in a lot of places. We are missing talent in some key places. Add 3 or 4 guys to this defense and its instantly a vastly different team. I realize that you can say that about most teams... but you can actually do that in an off season.
I think the offense is much closer to what we saw in week 4 than what we saw in weeks 1 and 2. Its on defense that we need a few VERY key pieces to this puzzle. Plug in a big guy in the middle of the line. Replace greenwood. Get a real cover corner. This team is instantly better. Its nice to talk about how we didn't address the needs of this team last year or the year before last, but like everything else in football, its about small progressions keeping the situation manageable.
After the 2-14 season you weren't going to look up and go 13-3. You weren't going to go 10-6. You look to make up ground. Overhaul the OL (vastly different the next year and even more different the following year... now with brown we will finally get some continuity on the line and you guys will be amazed at what that does). Bring in a few components to build on, mario, demeco. Now you have manageable goals for the next year. Add some more pieces, if you can't add starters, add . Look at the roster turnover between years 1 and two of Kubes.
If you can't add starters, add depth. We've taken some gambles. Some haven't paid off (JJ yet) others have. Slaton on the other hand seems to be well on his way to paying off. JJ isn't bad depth, that's for sure. On DL, look at the posibility of having Mario,AO,TJ, and maybe Okam, if he develops (if not, another big guy in the middle) in the rotation. I'm a fan of turning AO into a DE at least part time, switching he and Mario and letting them stunt the hell out of the T/G.
There are bright spots for this team. I originally had us going 9-7... I bought into the hype so to speak because I think this is a 7-8 win team. Its a better team than last years, but its going to have some growing pains. We saw that in Pittsburgh. That was a disaster. We saw that on the punt return.. young players getting turned around... new players not sure of assignments... we'll see it again. Likely for a long time.
Not a fan of Smith's? I'm not saying I am president of his fan club. But I'm not president of the fire him club. Its pretty hard to run a defense when you're over matched talent wise. This just in.... we are over matched. Kind of hard to stop the run by scheming for it when your DL is undersized. I know we've got Okam but he's not ready. Not now. That's why he was a 6th rounder instead of a 2nd rounder.
The bottom line, is this is a team to wait on. How long did Tenn wait on mediocrity before coming dominant. I think we're that same kind of team. I see us putting people in poisition to play in this league for a long long time. If we're not vastly better by the middle of next year, starting to look like a 10+ win team... then its time to panic.
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