The Best of Times, the Worst of Times
I follow the Titans like a prom-queen's hyper-vigilant daddy. While I sit through the most painful year in recent memory, I can also say it's one of the best.
It's the best because its shown Tennessee to be exactly what their fans have always said they are. They are the anti-thesis of modern professional athletes.
Lots of folks know that the Titans have had some injury trouble this year, but no one in the national media seems to realize how bad its been. They compare the Titans to Carolina, and point out that Carolina is still in playoff contention. This is ludicrous on numberous levels. It neglects the fact that the Panthers play in the NFC, where a team with a losing record will probably make the playoffs, while the Titans play in the AFC, where a team with 10 wins might not.
It also is not taking a good hard look at the injury lists of the two teams. When considering the Titans injuries, one moment in Monday Night's Game was telling of the whole season...
In the fourth quarter, down by 7, the titans found themselves with 5 o-linemen. That's it. 5. Olson was inside with a toe injury, Fred Miller was out with an ankle injury... Then Justin Hartwig got his finger stepped on, and effectivly split in half. He left the game and had surgery immediately.
What's 5 minus 1? Right. Now umm... How many positions are there on the offensive line? right. 4 does not equal 5.
Fisher looked around for Erron Kinney, a tight end, to plug him in to the position left by Hartwig, but guess what? Right. Erron Kinney was out hurt too.
So on 2nd down fisher looked at Mike Munchak and told him to get ready, because they were gonna have to punt it away.
Think about that... second down... the 4th quarter... down by seven... and you are going to punt, because you don't have enough guys to play offense. Of course... this is Tennessee. This isn't Oakland or Minnesota. Fred Miller got up off the bench and played with a severely sprained ankle.
Michael Waddel, Scott McGarahan, Donny Nickey, and LaMont Thompson played ever down on Defense, as well as every kickoff or punt coverage play. They had to. They have no backups. They are the last string.
The Titans have not one starter on their o-line healthy. Thier tight-ends are banged up. Their RB can go a half, and can't practice at all. 2 of their 3 starting linebackers are out. 2 of their three best d-linemen are out. Their secondary is minus both starting safeties, and one of the best corner's in the league.
The NFL allows each team to have 53 men on the roster. A great personell man can draft, sign, and develope 30 awesome players, but the remaining 23 are interchangable throughout the league.
The plain truth is, the Titans are starting a lot of those 23 guys.
For some of us though, wins and losses are secondary to heart and effort. Sometimes it just ain't your year. How you respond in those years, builds character for the opportunities that will come.
The Titans are paying dues, for the Ring to come.