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Old 08-07-2004   #1
Vinny
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Default Titan Rookies Struggling with Pass Rush

Looks like trading back and talking quantity over quality has it's drawbacks. A ton of people praised the Titans draft and condemed ours right off the bat. The Titans gave up their first round pick for a bushel of second day picks and a net of one extra first day selection. For those who said Laboy was likely Babin's equal may have some crow served up if the early trends continue.

Jury will be out on this for a while, but you gotta love it right now. Word is Ben Troupe is struggling pretty badly also, but he is a heck of a prospect all the same. I think he will be the best of their 2004 draft bunch when it is all said and done. No absoulte conclusions drawn, but I can feel the balance of power shifting as Laboy gets pancaked over in Titan camp.

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The young defensive ends have played hard, but the difference between veterans Carlos Hall and Juqua Thomas and rookies Travis LaBoy and Antwan Odom is plain to see from the sideline. The Titans need the gap to shrink in the coming weeks.

LaBoy and Odom, both second-round picks, struggled against Atlanta's tackles just as they've struggled in practice against Titans veterans Fred Miller and Brad Hopkins.

LaBoy and Odom won some battles during the full-pads, full-contact work, but had to slot the day under the heading of learning experience.

Falcons veteran Todd Weiner appeared to have no trouble moving LaBoy to the outside during one drill, and in another rookie Steve Stewart drove LaBoy to the ground. Odom was mauled on some plays, but appeared to win some battles with moves to the inside.

''It is a whole different world at this level,'' LaBoy said. ''There's so much stuff I know I have to work on I can't even name it all. Hopefully I held up OK. I guess we'll know for sure when I look at the tape.''

''Just how good guys are, it's a struggle and it can get frustrating,'' said Odom, who had 21 sacks during his career at Alabama. ''But you have to just keep competing. When you get down on yourself, you have to look at it like these are some of the best guys in the league. You have to keep your head up and keep working.''
http://tennessean.com/sports/titans/...nt_ID=55496099
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http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/traini...ohn&id=1852605

Forget about Ben Troupe being the immediate replacement for the retired Frank Wycheck at tight end. His head his swimming with all the offensive strategy thrown his way. At the moment, he's running third team behind Erron Kinney and Shad Meier. Troupe is a good looking prospect but it's going to take him awhile to make the adjustment into the NFL.
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Old 08-07-2004   #2
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LaBoy is going to continue to get punished at DE, especially if they intend on using him on first and second downs. He's a small DE and I while I can see him coming in on passing situations, he would have made a better OLB prospect on a team that runs a 3-4.
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Old 08-07-2004   #3
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I don't think anyone should criticize either team in this trade. If Babin is the pass rusher we hope he'll be, it was a great move for the Texans. The Titans had their back to the wall with the salary cap and had to bring in some rookies for depth. Currently, the Titans have 10 rookies listed as either starters or 2nd string. The Titan DE's may become good players, but Babin was deemed to be more NFL ready by the Texans. It's a case of 2 different teams with different needs and the trade could look like the classic win/win in 2-3 years after the dust settles.
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Old 08-07-2004   #4
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The Defensive line is one of the hardest positions in the NFL to come in and contribute right away. Most of these guys needed only one move to get by O-Linemen in the college ranks, but when they get to the NFL they must develop more skills to get by the seasoned veterans of most O-Lines. Speed isn't as much of a benefit on the NFL level, because the O-Linemen are bigger and quicker. It's one thing if the Titans still had Kearse or Smith to help take some pressure off of the rookies, but with the expectations put on them to contribute right away it can be a tough situation for them. Generally you see a lot of improvement in D-Line prospects from their first year to their second, and I think the Titans will see that play out in at least one of the many they took in this years draft. As for Troupe, I think he'll do fine once he gets the feel for the offense. I'm sure coming from a Florida offense where he had a freshman QB tossing him the ball last year, and going into a offense with a guy like Steve McNair is a big jump for him. With his size and speed I don't see any reason why he won't be a great pickup for the Titans for years to come. Blocking will be the biggest adjustment for him I think, because he'll be a mismatch for linebackers in the passing game but he'll be a liability if he cannot help block DEs that line up over top of him. It will be interesting to see how it plays out this season.
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Old 08-07-2004   #5
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Currently, the Titans have 10 rookies listed as either starters or 2nd string.
The Titans have 0 rookie starters on offense and will probably only start 1 on defense (LDE).

They have rookies on 2nd string, especially on the DL, but that's not all that unusual and it's the way they've been for the last several years with all their turnover. They have managed quite well over the years but it will be interesting to see if the DL can perform up to standards this year because their defense is predicated on front 7 pressure and if they can't get it, their secondary will have a tough time. Losing Sirmon really hurts their LB depth with Boiman now moving into a starting role. All they have now at backup LB is Kassell, a 5th round draft choice (Robert Reynolds), and a bunch of FAs

Last edited by aj.; 08-07-2004 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 08-07-2004   #6
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I'm still disappointed by the cost/benefits of the trade. Especially since word out
of camp (I haven't been - must rely on the grapevine, press resports, etc), is saying the most impressive OLB to date is Peek. Maybe Babin is coming along reasonable well in his transition to OLB and overall performance, but Peek is getting kudos. Of course the big downside with Peek is him losing his cool and incurring a penalty at a critical time in a close game. But if he can get a handle on his emotions, why not him and Wong starting at OLB. And Wong ain't moving to the inside - forget about that. Part of his deal to come here was to play OLB, not inside backer like he did for the Vikings. Plus were hearing things about
the Anderson kid at OLB. But I'm gonna reserve final judgement until we can have some real games (if only preseason), to see how these guys (and the Titans rookies to) perform.
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Old 08-07-2004   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
The Titans have 0 rookie starters on offense and will probably only start 1 on defense (LDE).

They have rookies on 2nd string, especially on the DL, but that's not all that unusual
Well, you can undersell that if you want. The fact is that Texan fans know that a 2nd teamer is 1 play away from the starting lineup. I don't have the info available to determine how unusual it is for the Titans to have rookies in key roles. Ten in key roles seems a lot, in comparison to a 3rd year team like the Texans who have 2 rookies in key roles. The Titans have severe cap problems, are razor thin in experienced depth, and absolutely had to draft for quanity over quality back in May. Maybe they manage this situation as well as they have in this past. In the past they had George, Kearse, Robaire Smith, Justin McCareins, and Wycheck. I'm just not going to assume they handle it so well this time.
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Old 08-07-2004   #8
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jee hmm, i believe i've said since day 1 wait until u see this guy hes going to be worth it...and no one believed me..hmmm, strange
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Old 08-07-2004   #9
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Just passin' the news on as I see it. I just sense the gap between our teams closing as I follow both franchises. I clearly stated that I wasn't drawing conculsions in my first post. I just enjoyed the reading material.
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Old 08-07-2004   #10
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Well Peek is a 2nd year player, and DC believes that players improve the most from year one to year two. Peek has already dealt with the transition from DE to OLB, and Babin is still in the process of that transition. The most important point, however, is to remember that its just Training Camp. Willis McGahee scored 4 TD's in a scrimmage today, but that doesn't mean he's going to break the 25 TD in one season record by week 7. He practiced in goaline situations, and the same can be said for any performances we've seen thus far in camp. I think Peek is an outstanding athlete, and I think he'll be very productive for us this year, but also I understand that Babin is very promising too. If DC and CC thought enough of him to pencil him in as a starter over Peek, then I have to think they see a lot in him.
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Old 08-07-2004   #11
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Good read V, thanks.

In regards to Peek: he definitely has potential, but as evident from his numerous scuffles early this camp, (back to back sessions during the week) he cannot be trusted to maintain his head and keep from losing control. Practice is one thing but twice and then in a scrimmage? One could argue a pattern is developing.

I see the coaches able to best use Peek's atheltisism by keeping his emotions tempered by using him a play here, and a play there, depending on the situation. Peek rushes the passer, Peek nails the return man, Peek blocks a punt.....but even then you are playing with fire.

The Dolphins, although with another variety of unstable player in Ricky Williams (an unstable player none the less) found out what can happen when you play with fire.

Not sure if Peek has any other bad habits other than losing his temper but it is something he needs to keep in check, at least enough to keep the zebras away.

We can all hope that Babin exhibits the same burst and athletisism as Peek in rushing the passer, with the added benefit as a force against the run and cool under fire. I would love to have Capers prediciton of success ala Kevin Greene come true.
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Old 08-07-2004   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky
I don't think anyone should criticize either team in this trade ... The Titans had their back to the wall with the salary cap and had to bring in some rookies for depth ... It's a case of 2 different teams with different needs and the trade could look like the classic win/win in 2-3 years after the dust settles.
I agree. The Titans are in salary cap hell and lose players every year. They had to get picks and they gave up a good talent in McCairns and a number one pick to get them ... good job Titans, I hope it works because we want to see the best games each week and to have the best division everyone is talking about. (There is no point in beating up hopeless teams (like the C'boys did over the Giants and Redskins) only to think you're a competitive team and then lose in the first rould of the playoffs.

The Texans had extra picks in the first two years and wanted quality over quantity. I was thrilled to end up with two #1 picks WITHOUT LOSING FUTURE FIRST DAY PICKS. Good job. I hope the selections work out.

CC, congratulations on a 'Dare to be Great move.'
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