Tag:Rusty Smith
Posted on: May 7, 2011 10:51 am
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Titans are done with Randy Moss

Moss Posted by Josh Katzowitz

If there was any doubt in your mind – and really, there shouldn’t have been – it’s now official. WR Randy Moss will not be rejoining the Titans squad.

That’s the word from Tennessee GM Mike Reinfeldt, who took part in a conference call with Titans season ticket holders and broke the predictable news to them.

“I honestly don’t think we’ll try to re-sign him,” Reinfeldt said, via the Tennessean. “We’ve got some young guys we like and I think at this point in his career he will probably go elsewhere.”

Where that is, well, no one knows, though Moss has made it clear he wouldn’t mind a return engagement with the Patriots, and the Jets might actually be intrigued in perhaps trying to find a place for him – though I think most of us would agree that Rex Ryan’s squad shouldn’t bother.

In other Titans news, Reinfeldt said he liked second-year QB Rusty Smith, but not necessarily as a starter (“He could be a pretty good darn backup for a while,” Reinfeldt said in comments that I’m sure Smith would LOVE to read). Reinfeldt also said he’d love to have back MLB Stephen Tulloch. This, even though Tennessee drafted two linebackers (Akeem Ayers in the second round and Colin McCarthy in the fourth round) with its first four picks last week.

Right now, it’s unclear whether Tulloch would be a restricted or an unrestricted free agent.

“I think what we tried to do (in the draft) at the linebacker position and in all the positions is really create as much competition as possible: Get as many good football players as you can at each spot,” Reinfeldt said. “(But) Stephen Tulloch is a good football player and we want him back.”

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Posted on: April 28, 2011 10:46 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 11:26 am
 

Some teams still keeping doors locked Thursday

Posted by Andy Benoit

Judge Susan Nelson has made it as clear as she possibly can: the lockout is over. NFL owners don’t seem to agree. It’s one thing to delay the enactment of transactions (signing free agents, making trades, etc.); it’s another to continue keeping the doors locked.

That, however, was the case in some NFL cities Thursday morning. According to the Washington Post , Redskins linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, defensive end Vonnie Holliday and center Casey Rabach showed up at the team’s facility Thursday, only to be turned away.
“The doors are still closed and as I understand it, they will remain closed until the appeals process is completed,” Holliday said. “The courts made a ruling, and you would think that would carry more weight. Guys wanted to get back to work, resume getting physical therapy at the facility and train with our strength coaches, but the doors are still locked. It’s unfortunate that they’re choosing to handle it this way.”

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Pro Football Talk reports that the same thing happened in Arizona and Miami. Players on those teams who showed up to workout were told that the league is waiting out the Eighth Circuit Court’s decision.

Given Nelson’s orders Wednesday night, keeping players out borders on owners being in contempt of the court. It would be somewhat surprising if all 32 teams choose to keep their facilities locked on Thursday, as that could spark legitimate accusations of collusion (and anger the courts). Having some teams welcome players and other teams turn them away only adds to the chaos, which, at this point, plays to the owners’ argument that they can’t possibly do business without knowing how the Eight Circuit will rule.

UPDATE 11:21 a.m. EST: A fourth team has been reported as keeping their doors locked. Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean tweets that the Titans turned away quarterback Rusty Smith on Thursday.

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Posted on: April 26, 2011 6:22 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2011 12:01 pm
 

Is Andy Dalton really a top-10 pick?

Dalton Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Since when did Andy Dalton become a top-10 pick for this week’s NFL draft? Hell, when did he become a first round pick? I must have missed that memo, but apparently, somebody thinks quite highly of the former TCU quarterback.

That team, according to NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora is the Titans – who apparently are thinking of picking Dalton with the No. 8 pick (rather than, as convention (and our mock draft gurus Rob Rang and Chad Reuter) dictates, go with Auburn DT Nick Fairley).

La Canfora’s sources told him that Tennessee – which, after losing Vince Young and probably Kerry Collins, is in desperate need of a starting quarterback whose name happens not to be Rusty Smith – considers Dalton an elite prospect who is less of a risk than the other quarterbacks who might fall to No. 8.

Considering Auburn’s Cam Newton and Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert likely will be off the board by the time the Titans pick, Tennessee could want to avoid Washington’s Jake Locker and Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett and pick Dalton instead. The Titans also could be worried that by the time they get to their second-round pick, Dalton would be gone.

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Greg Cosell of the NFL Network disagrees, telling the Sacramento Bee that Dalton is no better than (gasp!) a fourth-round pick.

“He won't go there. He'll go higher," Cosell said. "But he doesn't throw it very well. He doesn't spin it very well. He's a guy you'll have to camouflage. He needs a strong running game to be successful."

Either way, it’s nice to know that Dalton’s red hair might not be that big a consideration with at least one NFL team.

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Posted on: April 14, 2011 12:57 pm
 

Offseason Checkup: Tennessee Titans

Posted by Josh Katzowitz



Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups.



The Titans are in need of an overhaul, which is exactly what they’ll be getting this year (whether they want it or not). Long-time coach Jeff Fisher is gone, replaced by his former OL coach, Mike Munchak. Defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil is gone, replaced by Jerry Gray.

So is offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger, replaced by Chris Palmer. So is QB Vince Young, replaced by, um, who exactly?

You might have forgotten this, but at one point last season, Tennessee was 5-2. Then, the Titans lost eight of their final nine games of the season to finish the season on a disastrous note. A note that signified that the organization needs a makeover and fast.




New coaching staff

The end of Fisher’s tenure in Tennessee was awfully strange. Though it seemed like owner Bud Adams thought about picking Young over Fisher, he actually didn’t. He wanted Fisher to stay, and Fisher agreed to return. Until he didn’t, changing his mind and resigning his position. Which means that the Titans are going through a wholesale change, and considering the lockout is preventing the staff from meeting with the players, Tennessee will have a tough time catching up.

One of the biggest losses to the team, though, was when DL coach Jim Washburn left for Philadelphia. Jason Babin – who made his first Pro Bowl last season – was really upset with the transition, because he knows how much Washburn tutored him. Washburn also helped develop Albert Haynesworth, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Antwan Odom, and his loss will be felt, especially if Babin leaves via free agency.




1. Quarterback
Young is gone, and though he compiled a 26-13 record and two Pro Bowl appearances in his five seasons with the Titans, a clean break from the organization clearly was needed. So, who to replace him? Kerry Collins, but he’s 38 years old. Rusty Smith, but he’ll be a second-year player with only one start of experience. So, where do you go next? Backup Brett Ratliff? I don’t think so.

2. Interior Offensive Line
LG Leroy Harris and C Eugene Amano struggled last season – one reason RB Chris Johnson’s numbers weren’t as good as he expected. Harris is still young, so the Titans might continue to use him, but Johnson might be appreciative if the Tennessee played somebody else at LG and C. RG Jake Scott, meanwhile, is solid and dependable.

3. Defensive Tackle
When the Titans talked about trading back for Albert Haynesworth last season, you know they were desperate for another DT. Thus, the Titans have to be loving the recent supposed drop in value of Auburn DT Nick Fairley. Although the undersized Jason Jones is quite a strong player at one DT spot, Fairley could add big talent to the defensive line if he’s still available for the Titans to draft at No. 8.




Is there optimism for the Titans next season? I don’t see how. Not after they lost their quarterback and then hired a head coach who’s never even been a coordinator to lead the team. Munchak, a pro football Hall of Famer because of his playing skills, is well-respected inside the game, but it might take a year or two to turn around the organization that, let’s face it, was left in total disarray.

And while we can say the AFC South isn’t necessarily going to be dominated by the Colts next season, I’d put the Jaguars and Texans ahead of Tennessee in the race for the division crown. By far.

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Posted on: March 31, 2011 3:55 pm
 

Rusty Smith wants to start for Tennessee

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

You might remember the day last season Titans backup QB Rusty Smith was called into action after the whole Vince Young/Jeff Fisher/walking out on teammates saga and then backup Kerry Collins getting hurt.

It occurred Nov. 28 when the then-rookie Smith went 17 of 31 for 138 yards and three interceptions in a loss to the Texans, and immediately afterward, he was relegated to backup duty once again.

Smith Still, Smith wants to compete for Tennessee’s starting job heading into next season.

Especially since, you know, Young isn’t around any more and it sounds like the Titans will look to add a veteran and a rookie QB to the roster before next year. If you think Smith is the forgotten man – and honestly, he probably is; his name hasn’t crossed my mind since that Texans game – he’d like to persuade you that you’re wrong.

"A lot of that has to do with newspaper people talking about that stuff," Smith told the Tennessean. "They tend to forget about small guys like me. I think the coaching staff knows what I can do and that I'm still here and working hard."

Smith obviously is dealing with a new head coach in Mike Munchak (though someone who’s familiar with Smith’s work) and a new offensive coordinator in Chris Palmer, so, in some respects, he’ll get a fresh start.

But if last season was any indication, he’s going to have to be really good early on in preseason practices to convince anybody that he’s ready to handle an NFL starting quarterback role.

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Posted on: March 30, 2011 2:53 pm
 

Hot Routes 3.30.11 Rusty Smith self confident?


Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit

Posted on: December 12, 2010 10:43 am
 

Fisher seemingly on shaky ground

Bud Adams has some decisions to make regarding Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Every day, it seems like Titans coach Jeff Fisher is closer and closer to becoming the fourth coach this NFL season to get the pink slip.

While Tennessee owner Bud Adams has been more than loyal to Fisher – even though his teams have had more non-winning seasons than winning seasons in his 16-year tenure – you have to wonder if Adams’ patience is running thin. And if he could, gasp, actually choose to keep QB Vince Young with the squad and get rid of Fisher.

"I am not too happy right now, I'll tell you that," Adams told the Tennessean . "But I think it is too early to talk about it. We have three more games to go and I'll be able to talk a lot better after those three games. We'll go up to the end of the season and then I'll make my decision. I am not very pleased with what has happened here, though. It's not what I had in mind.''

Assuming Tennessee doesn’t make the postseason this year, it’d be the fifth time in the past seven seasons the Titans didn’t earn a playoff berth.

One positive aspect for Fisher: Adams doesn’t hold him responsible for the injuries to Young and backup QB Kerry Collins, and he understands that playing rookie Rusty Smith wasn’t exactly ideal.

"You can't blame (Fisher) when you don't have your key guys playing,” Adams said. “But I have to look at the whole picture and what has been happening since we have been in Nashville, what our record is, where we stand in the league. That is important.''

For the record, Fisher’s record with the team is 141-118.

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Posted on: December 8, 2010 9:53 am
 

Chris Johnson unhappy with Titans offensive plan

Posted by Will Brinson

Ahhh, happier times.

What's the old saying -- when it suns it shines? Er, maybe it involves pouring water. Either way, it's raining in Nashville right now, and there aren't many people happy with the way the Titans are playing, which naturally creates some unrest in the locker room.

Go ahead and add Chris Johnson to the list of people who aren't thrilled with the way Tennessee's been playing.

"We are just not running it," Johnson said Tuesday via Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. "It is easy for a defensive coordinator to stop the run when you are running the ball seven times. We need to stay on the field and execute plays."

Johnson's got a point -- in the last two games, he has 20 carries for 58 yards, which isn't exactly what anyone (Titans coaches, Titans fans, fantasy owners) were expecting when they eyed games against the Texans and Jaguars late in the season. But at least he's not pinning it on everyone else. Wait, he is. But that's a good thing maybe.

"Everybody is doing what they have to do. It is that everybody is not doing what they have to do on every single play," Johnson said. "It is always a different position messing up on each play. So we just have to execute as a whole. It is tough to deal with. But the frustration that comes is not the team stopping the run game, it is ourselves stopping us."

Okay, so that sounds nice (like, in a "we're losing as a team" kind of way) and all, but the truth is that he's pointing straight to the playcalling when it comes to blame for the Titans' woes.

This is awkward for two reasons: first, his offensive coordinator has cancer. This may be why Johnson's comments are toned down a little bit. And secondly, Rusty Smith started one of those games -- you can't run with him under center, because you're trying to cut through 11 guys when you do.

That being said, the Titans get the Colts at home on Thursday and even with Peyton Manning and Co. weakened right now, this is a game that they could easily lose (and by a large margin) if the Titans don't realize that you can run on Indy and feed CJ 20-plus times in order to generate some offense and keep Peyton off the field.

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