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titans0021


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:10 am    Post subject: Positional Battles Preview Reply with quote

I know we have the TC thread rolling but I figured it wouldn't hurt to have a solid discussion about the spots up for grab in the next couple months. With training camp less than a month away and the regular season a little over two months away, football season is almost upon us fellas.

Quarterback

Jake Locker vs. Matt Hasselbeck


Easily the most important and probably the most intense battle we have on the team right now. Veteran vs. Potential. Experience vs. Future. Hasselbeck is coming off of a solid year where we finished 9-7 with him under center. With that said, he struggled to close the season, throwing three touchdowns and eight interceptions from weeks 10-16.

Locker on the other hand, brought a deep ball and an ability to work outside the pocket in limited playing time last year. Though his accuracy wasn't incredible, we saw flashes of greatness that Hass, at this point in his career, simply isn't capable of producing.

Although I know a few media members, as well as a number of Titania members, don't believe this is truly an open competition, I have faith that Munchak and company will go with whoever gives us the better chance to win. While the argument can be made that the difficult early schedule should favor Hass, I think putting whoever proves to be the better playmaker should serve as the better option regardless of the opponent.

#3 Wide Receiver

Kendall Wright vs. Damian Williams vs. Lavelle Hawkins (?)


Boy how things have changed in the last few years. It wasn't too long ago that a player like Wright or even Damian would arguably be our most talented receiving option, now they will be forced to compete simply for even a decent amount of playing time.

Damian Williams may not have been amazing last year, but he flashed the kind of ability that made all of us optimistic when we took him in the third round. He can make plays downfield and has after the catch ability.

Kendall Wright obviously has the advantage of being a first round pick as well as the fact that he has a skillset that is almost tailor-made for the slot spot. Quick, elusive, solid hands and big play ability. The man will be used this year, it's just the question of how much playing time we're going to be willing to give him early on.

Center

Eugene Amano vs. Kevin Matthews vs. Fernando Velasco


As much as I would like to believe that we couldn't possibly be foolish enough to allow Eugene Amano to start another game at center, it seems as though he might just be given chance #1,000,000,000,000,000 to prove that he has no business starting in the NFL.

Though the argument could be made that the fact that Matthews and Velasco have failed to beat about Amano in the past is indicative of their potential at the spot, the production increase that has been seen when they have filled in is certainly telling.

I'm going to be blunt. Amano is garbage. He is my least favorite player in all of sports and is a worse starting center than Lamont Thompson was a starting safety. If he is indeed starting week one, it will be my first major questioning of Munchak. Obviously it won't make me lose faith in a coaching staff that has certainly earned respect, I truly hope Munchak is ready to just admit failure on this project and move on.

Defensive Tackle

Mike Martin vs. Shaun Smith vs. Karl Klug


As a massive Jurrell Casey fan, I'm just going to assume that he has one of the starting defensive tackle spots locked down. With that said, this should be a pretty interesting battle amongst three players that bring many different things to the table.

I loved the Martin pick in April and I still love it now. Frankly, he reminds me of Casey in both size and playing style. He has great hands and an ability to get upfield when single-teamed. He can absorb double teams and while may not be dominant, has the ability to be a damn good defensive tackle for a long time.

Shaun Smith is tough. He was almost invisible last year but reports say that he has rededicated himself to the game and has worked hard to find a place on this roster. He also has experience going for him. It's tough to know how much that will factor in, but I expect him to see decent playing time early on to at least gauge his effectiveness.

Klug is the kind of guy that will see a solid amount of snaps regardless of whether or not he is the #2 defensive tackle or the #4. He simply has the kind of pass-rushing ability that is rare from a 4-3 defensive tackle and that will get him on the field in passing downs.

Weakside Linebacker

Will Witherspoon vs. Zach Brown


I feel as though this is one that isn't being talked about nearly as much as it should be.

While I understand why many are willing to simply hand the job to Witherspoon, I think our coaching staff showed last year that they were willing to give linebackers starters reps early on and they really talked up Brown throughout the post-draft interviews.

Brown has a ton of athletic ability and a skillset that really fits with what McCarthy and Ayers bring to the table. Beyond that, they are simply the future of our linebacking corps and I would not be surprised if Munchak and Gray simply wanted to give the three the chance to gel immediately in the hope that this will be a top unit for the next decade.

Witherspoon is solid. But really, that's it. He does nothing terrible but, at this point of his career, he really doesn't excel at anything and will very rarely impress you with his play. With that said, he knows his limitations and finds himself in the right position often.

This battle is similar to the quarterback one as it involves two players on the opposite ends of their careers.

#3 Cornerback

Tommie Campbell vs. Chris Hawkins vs. Coty Sensebaugh


Though it's just the number three cornerback spot, this is a battle that's going to be critical heading into the year. With Finny gone, whoever wins this will be in line to see a large amount of snaps on the outside as Verner moves into the nickel spot on passing downs.

Right now, it sounds like Campbell has the advantage. Although Hawkins looked pretty good when he saw the field, if Tommie has really made the progress technique wise that has been claimed, it's tough to imagine him not winning this job. His size and speed combination is almost unmatched and that is something that simply can't be taught of a young player.

Sensebaugh is a complete question mark. Much like Hawkins and Campbell last year it's impossible to know what we have in him until he steps on the field.



So......discuss? Laughing
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MrOneWayRoad


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good write up.

I'll add my two cents.

I think Hasselbeck starts the season, but will not finish it. Might not even make it to or passed week 8. Locker just simply impressed me last season. I know his completion percentage wasn't great, but we're talking about a guy who came into the game on 3 separate occasions in which we were behind and forced to throw the ball. As I recall, he made the games more interesting and almost brought us back at least 2 of those times, if not all 3. Something tells me that his completion percentage would look quite a bit better in a game in which he starts from start to finish, and can actually somewhat lean on a (hopefully improved) running game to take the pressure off. Plus, we are installing several variations of the run-n-shoot into our offense. Hasselbeck simply is NOT that type of QB. Locker is the future, and I think this coaching staff will want to see what he has to offer well before this season is up.

I absolutely LOVE our WR corps. I'm not sure I've ever been this particularly high on a single position on our team before. We have one of the deepest units in the league, that in all honesty, could be one of the top 4 or 5 corps in the league if Britt stays healthy (big "if" I know). However, I'm completely high on the Kendall Wright kool-aid and I have no shame in admitting it. I loved this kid coming out of Baylor and I fully expect him to become a bonafide playmaker by seasons end. As for whether or not he will be our true #3? I don't know. I actually expect both he and Williams to be on the field quite a bit, because I'm expecting many 3 and 4 WR sets. I do think Wright will be either #2 or #3 on the team in terms of yards and TD's. So I'd probably lean towards him being our true #3 guy, maybe even #2 by either season's end or next year (with no disrespect to Washington, who is an excellent and reliable option, I just think Wright will be more explosive and has the potential to make more plays).

As for center, I'm on the verge of just saying no comment. If neither Matthews nor Velasco can beat out that scrub, then I will have lost faith in all of mankind. Seriously. I want Velasco to win, because I believe he's the best offensive lineman of the 3 based on what I've seen on the field.

At defensive tackle, I'm hoping Mike Martin can win. Another draft pick that I liked. I wasn't impressed at all with Shaun Smith last season, and Klug is a good situational player, but that's about as far as I will go with him. I also echo your sentiments on Jurrell Casey.

Hmmm....Witherspoon vs. Brown. Not going to lie, I wasn't a fan of the Zach Brown pick, and I still really haven't warmed up to it. I'd love for him to prove me wrong, but at this point, I fully expect Spoon to start the season.

With the loss of Finnegan, I think the #3 CB spot is the 2nd most intriguing battle in camp outside of QB. Let's face it, in today's NFL, you need depth in the secondary. At this point, I'm liking Campbell. Is it just me, or does it seem like he is the one guy who people can't stop talking about? If true, then he should (hopefully) be a viable option. If not, then I'd like to see if Hawkins can continue to improve as well. But at this point, I think Tommy Campbell will continue to show out in TC, and earn a good deal of playing time.
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MdTitansFan56


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good stuff!

My take on each battle...

QB- I feel as though Hasselbeck will inevitably win the job coming out of camp. But I do feel if we have a poor start of the season Locker will take over week 6.

WR- Kendall Wright hands down. I do believe Damian will still get a healthy amount of snaps but Wright just seems perfect for the slot.

Center- I honestly feel like Amano will win the job. With him at Center last year we had a prolific pass blocking line. He's terrible at run block and not the greatest but our pass blocking last year was amazing. Unless Matthews which I hope shows something incredible during camp it's Amanos job to lose.

DT- Martin wins 2 Shaun Smith is 3 Klug pass rush specialist

Will- I think Brown will earn the spot through out the season but to start he will just be a package guy like the Ruby defense, coverage guy things like that. But eventually he will be every down will this season.

CB- Firstly the nickel back is important that is where we had Finne lining up last year so don't just say only a 3rd corner.

1 of 2 things I see happening here
Tommie Campbell slides to one of the outside spots and we move Verner inside to man the nickel spot. So McCourty and Campbell on the outside and Verner inside.

2nd Sensebaugh wins it and plays nickel. Hawkins may be the odd man out but with all the exotic looks this year we may hold onto 5 starting caliber corners.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Tommie Campbell is all but guaranteed to be the #3.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VYoung10 wrote:
I think Tommie Campbell is all but guaranteed to be the #3.

This. In fact, I could see him challenging ATV for the #2 spot, especially since the coaches like playing ATV in the nickel position. I have a feeling we'll see Campbell on the outside quite a bit this year.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

-Hope- wrote:
VYoung10 wrote:
I think Tommie Campbell is all but guaranteed to be the #3.

This. In fact, I could see him challenging ATV for the #2 spot, especially since the coaches like playing ATV in the nickel position. I have a feeling we'll see Campbell on the outside quite a bit this year.


I'm vertical passing situations I'd agree otherwise I think you have to Verner's instincts and ball skills over Campbell's elite athleticism.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

latinoaustino wrote:
-Hope- wrote:
VYoung10 wrote:
I think Tommie Campbell is all but guaranteed to be the #3.

This. In fact, I could see him challenging ATV for the #2 spot, especially since the coaches like playing ATV in the nickel position. I have a feeling we'll see Campbell on the outside quite a bit this year.


I'm vertical passing situations I'd agree otherwise I think you have to Verner's instincts and ball skills over Campbell's elite athleticism.


The thing they love most about Campbell is the fact that he won't get burnt.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VYoung10 wrote:
latinoaustino wrote:
-Hope- wrote:
VYoung10 wrote:
I think Tommie Campbell is all but guaranteed to be the #3.

This. In fact, I could see him challenging ATV for the #2 spot, especially since the coaches like playing ATV in the nickel position. I have a feeling we'll see Campbell on the outside quite a bit this year.


I'm vertical passing situations I'd agree otherwise I think you have to Verner's instincts and ball skills over Campbell's elite athleticism.


The thing they love most about Campbell is the fact that he won't get burnt.


He won't get burnt but he could get punked by some of the better WRs. They will know how to take advantage of that athleticism to get him just far enough out of position for them to make a play.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

latinoaustino wrote:
VYoung10 wrote:
latinoaustino wrote:
-Hope- wrote:
VYoung10 wrote:
I think Tommie Campbell is all but guaranteed to be the #3.

This. In fact, I could see him challenging ATV for the #2 spot, especially since the coaches like playing ATV in the nickel position. I have a feeling we'll see Campbell on the outside quite a bit this year.


I'm vertical passing situations I'd agree otherwise I think you have to Verner's instincts and ball skills over Campbell's elite athleticism.


The thing they love most about Campbell is the fact that he won't get burnt.


He won't get burnt but he could get punked by some of the better WRs. They will know how to take advantage of that athleticism to get him just far enough out of position for them to make a play.


I just don't think they would put him in that position unless he was truly ready.
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titans0021


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe Gray came out and said that Verner would be filling Finnegan's role in the defense, meaning he'd be moving all over the field on passing down. That leaves the #3 corner seeing roughly the same amounts Verner did last year (i.e. a ton) on the outside.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quarterback- As much as I'd love to see the ball passed to Locker, I don't think it happens. In fact I really can't imagine a scenario where it happens aside from an injury to Hass (which is actually very likely). But lets be straight here, the bald dude was good last year. With all the downsides we had on offense and barely any time to work with his guys and coaches, he really took charge. Quarterback changes can be really dramatic for a whole team. And with this team in a very good position to make a playoff, Munchak would be foolish to modify the entire offense again.

Wide Receiver- It hardly matters who's third on the depth chart to open the season. But since that's what this discussion is about I'd go with Kendall just because his style fits that slot receiver model the best.

Defensive Tackle- I honestly have no idea about this. But my guy tells me Mike Martin is going to become a big time player and a fan favorite. Something like Klug was last year but better.

Linebacker- I think we need Witherspoon out there for the sake of leadership. I know McCarthy is a natural leader, but I think the veteran presence will matter more than the speed and athleticism of Brown. Could be interesting if they bring him in on passing downs for coverage.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice thing, I honestly believe we will have a great d-line this year. And I know its only Titan fans that think this, but the future is bright with this team.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VYoung10 wrote:
Nice thing, I honestly believe we will have a great d-line this year. And I know its only Titan fans that think this, but the future is bright with this team.


Thats all we need is for us to believe our future is bright. Everybody else will be sorry when we're winning multiple SB's. Munchak is building a dynasty Laughing
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T1TANS f4n LIFE


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ttitansfan4life wrote:
VYoung10 wrote:
Nice thing, I honestly believe we will have a great d-line this year. And I know its only Titan fans that think this, but the future is bright with this team.


Thats all we need is for us to believe our future is bright. Everybody else will be sorry when we're winning multiple SB's. Munchak is building a dynasty Laughing


I honestly do not see a weak spot with this team... well, outside of center..
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

T1TANS f4n LIFE wrote:
ttitansfan4life wrote:
VYoung10 wrote:
Nice thing, I honestly believe we will have a great d-line this year. And I know its only Titan fans that think this, but the future is bright with this team.


Thats all we need is for us to believe our future is bright. Everybody else will be sorry when we're winning multiple SB's. Munchak is building a dynasty Laughing


I honestly do not see a weak spot with this team... well, outside of center..


I don't either really. This is assuming the picks work out of course. Center, maybe RG(Harris could be much better at RG), and then SS(bc Bab's is older and just average) would be our needs going into next year's offseason assuming our picks work out. Maybe DE as well. That's alot better than this past offseason when we had needs everywhere.
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