Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:Tennessee Titans
Posted on: September 23, 2010 8:12 pm
 

Titans response begs V. Young questions

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

I found this article in today’s Tennessean to be quite interesting. It dealt with the Titans and why they didn’t retaliate when the Steelers triple-team body-slammed QB Vince Young to the ground last Sunday. See video below to watch the play over and over again.



You’ll notice that there was no pushing by the Titans OL after the play, no attempting to defend its quarterback – only RG Jake Scott attempting to point out the perceived injustice to one of the officials. Hell, it appeared the first guy to try to help Young up was DE Aaron Smith – one of the Steelers who blasted him in the first place

So, why didn’t anybody try to get even with Pittsburgh’s defense?

A sampling of quotes from the men who could have/should have retaliated:

"All of us saw it and clearly it was in view of enough people. But by then everybody was looking at it and if you retaliate, one or more of us would be getting a fine or at least a 15-yard personal foul penalty," OT Michael Roos said. "It is unfortunate (a penalty) didn’t get called. We were definitely trying to plead our case to the officials on the field but it didn’t happen."

OT David Stewart: "I’ve seen the play on tape since, and it was borderline. A lot of times the second punch, that is what’s going to get flagged."

Scott: "I thought it was dirty. I asked the official, 'Why didn’t you call that?' Of course he didn’t have an answer. It was a dirty play, a dirty hit and it should have been a penalty and it wasn’t. But it doesn’t help the team to go in there and hit somebody after the fact, to go dive on the pile, because if you dive on the pile you are just adding one more guy on top of Vince. So that doesn’t help either."

OK, I understand not wanting to draw the 15-yard penalty, though if it was just a little pushing and shoving that probably wouldn’t have happened. But in some cases, isn’t a little bit of extra roughhousing worth it to let the other team know they have to answer for their actions? I’m not talking about somebody throwing a punch and getting ejected from the game. But something extra needed to be done. Somebody needed to get even.

And what does it say about Young if his teammates aren’t rushing to defend the QB – the guy every team tries to defend the most? How much respect do his teammates have for him if they let him get trampled by a group nearly as dangerous as the Fabulous Freebirds?

My theory: coach Jeff Fisher saw that the Titans weren’t rushing to defend Young. So, in his mind, he knew that he needed to make a change at QB. After the game, he talked about needing to find a spark, and he said that was the reason he inserted Kerry Collins into the game. Apparently, not even a trio of Steelers treating Young like a ragdoll could spark much emotion into the Titans.

That might be a big problem.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: September 23, 2010 10:32 am
Edited on: September 23, 2010 11:44 am
 

Hot Routes 9.23.10 sober but still volatile

Posted by Andy Benoit

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter ( @CBSSportsNFL )

The Patriots extended their naming-rights deal with Gillette to 2031. This likely means another 20 years of seeing those razors painted near mid-field in New England.M. Singletary (US Presswire)

Anyone who saw Mike Singletary’s testy interview with KPIX’s Dennis O’Donnell last week will be disappointed to know that the 49ers and KPIX have jointly agreed to replace O’Donnell with Kim Coyle.

Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill is out with a right leg injury that was originally called a calf problem but, according to Pete Carroll, is closer to the Achilles. (This likely means it is an Achilles injury since there isn’t anything particularly close to the Achilles, except, of course, the calf.) Call this karmic justice – Hill probably should have been suspended for more than just Week 1 anyway.

Very few teams are scrutinized enough to have stories written about their kickers struggling in practice. Unfortunately for David Buehler (Buehler?...Buehler?....Buehler?), the Cowboys are one of those teams.

Besides acting like a punk about his DWI arrest and saying he doesn’t understand why it’s a black eye for the organization, there’s another reason to find Braylon Edwards’ behavior this week reproachable and inexcusable: Two years ago, Edwards was one of the men drinking earlier in the night with Donte Stallworth hours before Stallworth drove home and hit and killed Mario Reyes.

Derrick Mason is not speaking to the media for the rest of the season. This is big news for Baltimore journalists because Mason is one of the better interviews in the league. Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun is holding out hope that the veteran wideout will still blow a fuse sometime in November, though.

More Ravens news, linebacker Tavares Gooden is out at least a couple of weeks with a shoulder injury.

Beanie Wells told reporters he will definitely play Sunday. Sounds like someone saw Tim Hightower’s 80-yard touchdown run last week.

The Panthers are having a little trouble finding a quality No. 2 receiver. Fortunately, not having a No 2 receiver is not a big deal when you don’t even have a No. 1 quarterback.

Safety Kareem Moore is finally back for the Redskins. Left tackle Trent Williams did not practice Wednesday due to a sprained knee, but he’s expected to play Sunday. (We can assume that, even while sitting out, Williams still had a better practice than replacement Stephon Heyer.)

Chris Johnson responded to Hines Ward’s assertion that he “gave up” after being hit so many times by the Steelers last Sunday.


For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow  @cbssportsnfl   on Twitter   and subscribe to our  RSS Feed .

Posted on: September 20, 2010 2:52 pm
 

Hot Routes 9.20.10 Some box score tidbits

Posted by Andy Benoit

In this week’s 10 Stories That Deserve Your Attention, we focused on how LaDainian Tomlinson appears to be handling a much heavier load than expected for the Jets. This is supposed to be Shonn Greene’s backfield. Well, the man Tomlinson essentially replaced, Thomas Jones, is doing the same thing in Kansas City. Jones carried the ball 22 times against the Browns Sunday (83 yards). Jamaal Charles, who is coming off the bench, had 11 carries (49 yards).

Third-round rookie tight end Tony Moeaki led the Chiefs with five catches for 58 yards.

Ndamukong Sun flashed dominance for the second week in a row. Suh recorded a sack against Michael Vick (he may have gotten away with a facemask on the play) and consistently pushed the interior pocket.

How about these rushing statistics for the Cowboys: Marion Barber 11 carries for 31 yards; Felix Jones 7 carries for 7 yards; Tashard Choice 1 carry for -1 yard. Somehow, you can’t help but think this is Tony Romo’s fault.

Trent Edwards was 11/18 for 102 yards and two picks against the Packers. When Marshawn Lynch ran for 14 yards to end the first quarter, that brought Buffalo’s net yardage on the day back to zero. C. Matthews (US Presswire)

Jermichael Finley has his second career 100-yard game. Expect at least five more this season for the best tight end in the NFC.

Should we just go ahead and vote for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award now? Packers linebacker Clay Matthews had three sacks for the second week in a row. This for a guy who sat out virtually the entire preseason with a hamstring injury.

Actually, we’d better not crown Matthews yet. Mario Williams followed his stellar Week 1 performance with a shimmering outing against the Redskins. Williams recorded three sacks, two tackles for a loss and two pass deflections. It’s safe to say the Texans probably don’t win that game without him.

Adrian Peterson rushed for 145 yards on 28 carries against a fairly-staunch Dolphins D. There wasn’t a cheap yard in the bunch. Peterson put on an absolute show late in the second half, showing his familiar powerful burst and uncanny change-of-direction prowess. However, his show came to an abrupt end on the second to last drive, when the Dolphins kept him out of the end zone on four-straight plays from inside the 10.

Chris Johnson had his streak of 100-yard games snapped at 12 by a Steelers D that has given up just one 100-yard rushing performance in its last 36 outings. Johnson managed just 34 yards on 16 carries. He had an 85-yard touchdown called back because of a Eugene Amano holding penalty (even with nose tackle Casey Hampton out, the Titans center had a rough afternoon).

A week after his impressive return to the NFL, Seahawks wideout Mike Williams had just one catch for seven yards against the Broncos.

Wes Welker and Randy Moss were both held to 38 yards receiving.

The Chargers held Maurice Jones-Drew to 31 yards on 12 carries. Rashad Jennings actually got nine carries, producing 38 yards.

Philip Rivers 334 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions and an unofficial 3 screams at his offensive linemen against the Jaguars.

Shawne Merriman got on the field for the first time all season and recorded three tackles.

Tim Hightower was the lone bright spot for the Cardinals. With Beanie Wells still out with a knee injury, the third-year running back carried the entire load Sunday. Hightower rushed for 115 yards on 11 carries, including an 80-yard touchdown scamper in which he showed newfound quickness and acceleration.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow  @cbssportsnfl   on Twitter   and subscribe to our  RSS Feed .

Posted on: September 20, 2010 3:20 am
Edited on: September 20, 2010 9:17 am
 

10 Sunday stories that deserve your attention

Posted by Andy Benoit

1. Too much Manning

This is not an objection to NBC’s heavy Manning Family coverage Sunday night. We’ve come to expect the Manning home videos and Olivia/Archie luxury box shots. And, let’s admit it, we like it. And credit NBC for not ramming too many “AndE. Manning (US Presswire) let’s not forget, Cooper is a successful human being, as well!” reminders down our throats.

In this case, the “too much Manning” headline has to do with the fact that both players were on the field deep into the fourth quarter. Why? Why play either star in garbage time?

For the Colts, backup quarterback Curtis Painter clearly needs extra work (word is he gets close to zero reps in practice). Why not work Painter? And why not rest Manning and protect him from injury?

Ditto this last sentiment for the Giants. In fact, given the beating Eli took Sunday night, ditto it in all caps: WHY NOT REST MANNING AND PROTECT HIM FROM INJURY!? The Giants offensive tackles couldn’t get a fingertip on Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis (each had two sacks and at least one forced fumble). Plus, backup Sage Rosenfels, acquired from Minnesota after the preseason, could benefit from some live game experience in Kevin Gilbride’s offense. So why keep Eli in there and risk injury?

You may be thinking that it doesn’t matter, the Manning brothers never get hurt anyway. Yes, and Tom Brady was once a player who never got hurt. Injuries are always a real possibility.

In fact, on that note, why do you think the NFL conveniently schedules these Manning Bowls for early in the season? (The 2006 Manning Bowl took place in Week 1.) The guess here is that the league knows that the deeper in the season the game is, the greater the possibility that one brother will be out with an injury.

2. Bad day to be a bad quarterback

There were plenty of quarterbacks who did receive the treatment that the Manning brothers should have received in the fourth quarter.

***Derek Anderson was benched late in Arizona’s blowout loss at Atlanta. Anderson was 17/31 for 161 yards and two interceptions. Backup Max Hall managed to complete two of his three pass attempts, though one of those completions went to Falcons fifth-round rookie cornerback Domonique Franks.

It’s likely that Anderson will be the starter against the Raiders in Week 3. It usually takes a head coach six or seven games to come to grips with the fact that they won’t be the one to solve Anderson’s accuracy woes. Hall’s name is more likely to surface in serious discussion around Halloween.

***Dennis Dixon left Pittsburgh’s win over Tennessee in the second quarter with a left knee injury. The Steelers have three different starting quarterback candidates next week (it’s like a Democratic primary election in Utah, and Ben Roethlisberger is the incumbent Republican candidate). Dixon is one option. Charlie Batch, who was 5/11, 25 yards Sunday is another. And third is Byron Leftwich, who was released earlier in the week but will be re-signed soon (if this was dating instead of football, Leftwich’s friends would be telling him he’s getting played by the Steelers).

Of course, if the Steelers are going to force seven turnovers and score a special teams touchdown each week, then maybe the man to start at quarterback should be whoever is best at taking a knee. That’s all this team seems to need from its offense right now. (For taking a knee, Batch is the best option, given that Dixon and Leftwich are both getting over knee injuries.)

***Sticking with the Steelers-Titans game, Jeff Fisher sat Vince Young late in the second half, citing the need to “get a spark” on offense. The Nashville crowd, forgetting last year’s 0-6 start, cheered Collins’ arrival, which means we get to spend the next few days once again wondering about Young’s psyche (If we’re lucky, he’ll publicly pout or get in trouble, which will allow us to also wonder about his maturity).

Don’t expect Jeff Fisher to wonder about Young’s psyche. “I wasn’t concerned, to be honest, about (Young’s) feelings at that point,’’ Fisher said afterwards when asked about the benching. “I was trying to win the football game.”

Young was a languid 7/10 for 66 yards with two interceptions and two fumbles (one lost). Fisher insists that Young is still the team’s starting quarterback (unless a certain hotheaded 87-year-old suddenly says otherwise). But how can a starting quarterback truly lead a team when the head coach has already tried to spark a comebacker by benching him? (By the way, thanks to an uncharacteristic soft zone defense from Pittsburgh late in the game, the Titans almost did mount a comeback.)

***Raiders head coach Tom Cable wanted to put a spark into his offense as well, so he pulled the covers off the ridiculous lie that Raider fans had somehow tricked everyone into believing: that Jason Campbell is a quality quarterback. The same problems that plagued Campbell in Washington – indecisiveness in the pocket, slow mechanics and a paralyzing fear of taking chances downfield – are, not surprisingly, plaguing him in Oakland. J. Campbell (US Presswire)

Trailing 7-3, Bruce Gradkowski opened the second half under center for the Raiders and led the offense to 13 points, pulling out a 16-14 win. Gradkowski’s numbers were fairly pedestrian – 11/22, 162 yards, a touchdown and a pick – but the Raider offense was markedly livelier under his direction.

Cable hasn’t committed to a Week 3 starter at this point, but it’s hard to imagine him not choosing Gradkowski. The other players love the veteran’s energy. Take a look at this thoughtful, though albeit somewhat illogical, quote from left tackle Mario Henderson: "I said it last year, (Gradkowski) is a great quarterback. A good backup and definitely a great starting quarterback."

While we’re on the Raiders offense…

We (I) have been extremely harsh on the first-round skill position players for Oakland. It’s not fair to boisterously criticize guys and then go quiet when they actually play well. So, I’m making sure to point out that Darren McFadden had an excellent game Sunday (30 carries, 145 yards). McFadden now has 48 carries for 250 yards on the season. Also, wideout Darrius Heyward-Bey is showing noticeable improvements as a route runner. Heyward-Bey has a unique ability to stop and start with a crisp suddenness. He caught six balls for 80 yards against St. Louis.

***In Carolina, Matt Moore was 6/16 for 125 yards and one benching, as Jimmy Clausen relieved him late in the second half. Moore’s completion percentage through two games is 40.8. Clausen may not be ready – if he were, John Fox probably would have used Moore’s Week 1 concussion as an excuse to start the second-round rookie – but with opponents now familiar with Moore’s weaknesses (which mainly center around pocket toughness), there are plenty who believe the Panthers need to make a change. 

***Finally, the quarterback controversy we’ve all been waiting for seems to have arrived in Jacksonville: David Garrard out, Luke McCown in. At least, that’s the way it went late against San Diego. Perhaps it was just a blowout factor. Or, perhaps it was a harbinger of change.
Garrard’s four interceptions (three his fault), weren’t a result of him trying to make a big play (because he doesn’t try to make big plays). They were simply poor execution. The Jags may not be prepared to make the switch under center just yet, but does this sound like a coaching staff that’s fully in Garrard’s corner?

“We need him to be more consistent. I thought he missed some easy things today.”
–head coach Jack Del Rio

“We protected good enough. We’ve got to throw and catch better. It’s that simple.”
–offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.

3. Here you go, Bears fans

I got ripped by Bears fans last week for making three of the 10 Stories That Deserve Your Attention negative bits on the Bears. Well, despite some early pass protection issues, Chicago went into Dallas and came out 2-0. Am I about to offer a mea culpa here? Absolutely not. I still think, ultimately, pass-blocking will be a crippling weakness for Mike Martz’s offense. But, just focusing on Week 2 Sunday, the Bears deserve a lot of praise. So let’s enjoy the moment and spread some around…

***Jay Cutler was terrific when he got time to throw. And he handled the early pressure from the Cowboys front seven well. Cutler finished 21/29 for 277 yards, three scores and zero interceptions (and for Cutler, a no-pick game is the equivalent of a 550-yard day….so, theoretically, he had 827 yards passing this game). Something Cutler doesn’t get praised for enough is his deep ball, which is probably the most accurate in the game.

***Devin Hester’s touchdown grab in the back corner of the end zone was the type of play that only happens after hours and hours of footwork drills.

***Matt Forte had 10 carries for 29 yards. (Oops, sorry, didn’t mean to include these numbers. I forgot that a positive Bears piece includes pretending that Forte is potentially the next Marshall Faulk.)
***New nickelback D.J. Moore intercepted Tony Romo twice.

***The Bears defense held the Dallas offense to just 13 points.

4. Speaking of the Dallas offense…

This is where we talk about Wade Phillips being on the hot seat, Jerry Jones assembling a team with no chemistry, Tony Romo not being a leader and the myriad of other stars in Big D being underachievers, right?

Well, what if I told you the Cowboys aren’t in that much trouble? Yes, the offense has scored just 20 points in two losses on the season. But teams as talented as the Cowboys are always just a few clicks away from exploding.

The Cowboys are still dangerous. Miles Austin looks even better than he did a year ago. Dez Bryant is living up to the hype. Jason Witten is too fundamentally sound to be anything less than the star that he is. Felix Jones, Marion Barber and Tashard Choice haven’t forgotten how to play. And guess what? The rest of the NFC East is 1-1, which means the Cowboys are only a game out of first place. It’s Week 2, folks.

Of course, if the Cowboys lose next week, then the (stuff) might actually hit the fan. Next week, the Cowboys are facing…

5. The Houston Texans

It’s not a Cinderella story if we’ve all been expecting it for three years. We’ve been waiting  on the Texans forever. (Imagine how we’d view Cinderella if she’d been invited to the ball but shown up late. What a brat!)
A. Johnson (US Presswire)
Still, there’s no denying that it’s fun to see the Texans succeed. One week after upending the AFC South bully Colts, Houston came from 17 down in the second half on the road to defeat a decent Redskins club in overtime.

Gary Kubiak masterfully used his icing the kicker timeout (insert your own “the NFL should do something about icing the kicker timeouts because it just doesn’t seem right” comment here….then insert the hollow follow-up comment that inevitably comes after you think about it and realize that there really isn’t anything the league can do about icing the kicker timeouts). Right before Redskins kicker Graham Gano successfully booted what was thought to be a game-winning 51-yarder, Kubiak motioned to the line judge. Gano then missed the unwanted mulligan attempt, and the Texans drove down the field and silenced a Redskins crowd that had already gone silent sometime shortly after Matt Schaub’s 400th passing yard.

Schaub finished with a gaudy 497 yards passing on the day. His performance overshadows the fact that Houston’s D has given up over 400 yards passing in back-to-back weeks. It’s almost gotten to the point that it’d make more sense to track Houston’s pass defense not in terms of yards given up but in terms of miles given up. But obviously, big days from Peyton Manning and Donovan McNabb against this team haven’t been enough. One common theme in both Texan wins has been dominant play by Mario Williams.

Redskins-Texans Part B: karma, irony or just bad blocking

How’s this for irony: late in the fourth quarter, Donovan McNabb converted a crucial third-and-20 to keep a potential game-winning drive alive. However, the play was called back thanks to a holding call against Washington’s backup offensive tackle, Stephon Heyer. Heyer is a former starter who plays both the left and right side with poor technique (ala a certain Cowboys offensive lineman who made Redskin fans quite happy a week ago).

6. A joke sits out

Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was deactivated for this game because of an ankle injury. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports said before the game that the team was sick of Haynesworth making the injury a distraction during the week. Jason Reed of the Washington Post noted, “Haynesworth did not watch the game from the sidelines, which team officials said was normal for inactive players. Offensive lineman Will Montgomery and safety Kareem Moore, however, both joined their teammates on the bench for the game.”

The Skins would love to trade Haynesworth, but there are no takers. They can’t just cut him because then he would win the power struggle. Haynesworth deserves a 2005 Terrell Owens-like suspension, but the Players Union would raise a stink about that, which only exacerbates the current distraction.

So here’s an idea: since Haynesworth is an underachieving part-time player and fulltime headache for Mike Shanahan, why don’t the Redskins just put him on Injured Reserve? There’s always something physically wrong with the big clown anyway – ankle, knee, (heart?). Wouldn’t it be great if, one day, Haynesworth is milking an injury and one of the coaches comes up to him and says, “Boy, Albert, sure does look like you’re too hurt to practice. We’re going to play it safe with you and keep you out…for the rest of the season.” Putting Haynesworth on IR would send a message and give the coaching staff as much power in this whole disaster as possible.

7. Eagles not saving talk radio after all?

Could And Reid actually be curtailing the quarterback controversy in Philadelphia? Despite a very stellar performance from Michael Vick, the sentiment around the league seems to be, “Don’t get your hopes up, Reid says Kevin Kolb is still The Guy.”
M. Vick (US Presswire)
Come on, Andy! Please – please – just let us at least have the fun of speculating about the possibility of Vick stealing the starting job. Pleeeaaaasssseee!

In fact, let us see a little more of Vick before you go putting him on the shelf and running your team the right way. We never get to see electrifying mobile quarterbacks these days. (Probably because of what Bill Walsh once said, which is essentially that athleticism-based quarterbacks put the head coach at the mercy of the man under center.) But the mobile quarterbacks are fun! They're so much more fun than the fundamentally-sound dropback passers.

Yes, it’d be a political nightmare to turn your back on Kolb at this point, but think of how much fun the Vick storyline would be each week!

By the way, for those of you who read last week’s Key Matchup on the Lions defense against Vick, for the record, Detroit did indeed wind up playing zone, which still didn’t neutralize the speed of the Philly receivers (see DeSean Jackson’s 45-yard catch-and-run touchdown). And the Lions did indeed shadow Vick. Instead of using a linebacker, they went with safety Louis Delmas. It wasn’t a poorly-executed plan – Vick was held to only 37 yards rushing. But the plan was contingent on Vick not making consistent throws from the pocket. On Sunday, Vick was able to make those consistent throws from the pocket, in part because his escapability eradicated several would-be sacks.

8. Don’t fall in love with the Chiefs

Kansas City is a young, up-and-coming team. At 2-0, it will be very easy to forecast them as the breakout club of 2010. Don’t.
Yes, the Chiefs are much improved. But their Week 1 win over San Diego was influenced by weather, home opener momentum and huge plays on special teams. Their Week 2 win came against a Cleveland team was counting on Seneca Wallace at quarterback and that specializes in losing home openers (1-11 since 1999). Kansas City’s win was also propagated by a Brandon Flowers interception return score and a late missed field goal by Phil Dawson. The Chiefs still haven’t shown they can sustain offense under Matt Cassel (check out the iffy Week 1 and very average Week 2 box scores). They’re getting better, so be encouraged. Just don’t let go of that grain of salt yet.

9. J-E-T-S counting heavily on L.T.

Upon closer inspection, it appears that LaDainian Tomlinson is the No. 1 running back in New York. Can that really be?

We thought Shonn Greene sat most of Week 1 as punishment for early fumbles. But against the Patriots, Greene had just 15 carries for 52 yards. Tomlinson had 11 carries, but they came in bigger moments. He gained 76 yards on those 11 carries and 26 yards on four receptions, showing hints of the lateral quickness and acceleration that made him the best running back in football three years ago.

This isn’t to suggest that Tomlinson is the L.T. of old. But Phil Simms said something very interesting during Sunday’s broadcast: “What I see with LaDainian that I didn’t see as much in San Diego, with him, it is (now) all out every play.”

P.S. Tomlinson isn’t the only old-timer getting serious work in New York’s backfield. Fullback Tony Richardson has handled a majority of the load ahead of Hard Knocks star John Conner (The Terminator). Richardson was excellent against New England.K. Kardashian (US Presswire)

10. FOX chickens out

We’ll wrap up by throwing FOX under the bus. This is because the network kept things too P.G. During the Cowboys-Bears game, FOX did a full-screen three-graphic special on Miles Austin. The theme was, basically, how great is it to be Miles Austin right now?

The first graphic was about Austin putting up big numbers on the field. The next graphic was about his big new contract ($20 million guaranteed). The third graphic was about his ripped abs, which he recently showed off on the cover of Men’s Fitness.

And that was it. Numbers, contract and abs. No mention of the best thing in Austin’s world right now (the reward that those three previous things undoubtedly helped him earn): Reggie Bush’s ex-girlfriend.

FOX didn’t have the guts to do a Kim Kardashian photo during a football presentation. Fortunately, we do. (And, just to prove that Fox could have done it, we actually used a rare tasteful photo of the sex symbol.)

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

 

Posted on: September 19, 2010 3:24 pm
Edited on: September 19, 2010 3:36 pm
 

Vince Young benched by Titans

Posted by Will Brinson

Vince Young was profiled by the NFL Network before Sunday's games, and while most of the analysts (Marshall Faulk, Michael Irvin) agreed he was becoming an "NFL quarterback," Warren Sapp was much less optimistic, stating that his "style is pedestrian." Looks like Sapp will get the last laugh, at least for today, as Jeff Fisher benched Young during the second half of Tennessee's game against the Steelers in favor of Kerry Collins.

When Collins started warming up on the sidelines, the Titans didn't have a single first down in the second half, Young had passed for just 66 yards, rushed for just 12, fumbled once and thrown two interceptions.

So it's not entirely unreasonable for Fisher to be a little upset -- especially when you consider that the Titans were losing by double digits to a team that required Charlie Batch to take snaps at quarterback.

You'll of course recall that both Young and Collins have won and lost their starting jobs after poor in-game performances by the other quarterback, so it's not like this a new experience for either one.

A strong performance by Collins could keep VY on the bench, but a mediocre showing could always bring Young right back onto the field, although at least for today that seems doubtful.

Update (3:30): It's doubtful that Jeff Fisher is really thrilled about the replacement work, because it took all of four plays for him to throw an interception.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: September 19, 2010 2:07 pm
 

Dennis Dixon carted off against Titans

Posted by Will Brinson

The Steelers miracle run without Ben Roethlisberger -- which included a win against Atlanta and a strong start against Tennessee -- took a nasty little turn on Sunday as starting quarterback Dennis Dixon was carted off the field against the Titans.

Dixon has been taken to the locker room for X-rays on his left knee and his return is listed as "questionable."

Charlie Batch took over the reigns for the Steelers (remember, they released Byron Leftwich yesterday, not that he could play anyway) and that means that the only other option -- should, hypothetically, Batch go down -- would be Antwan Randle El, who is now the backup quarterback until Dixon's status is updated.

Follow us on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL) for the latest news on the Steelers quarterback situation.
Posted on: September 17, 2010 7:29 pm
 

Chris Johnson vs. the Steelers front seven

C. Johnson hasn't had great success in the past against Pittsburgh (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

I wondered if Andy, in his weekly key matchup feature, would look at how the Steelers front seven would try to shut down Titans RB Chris Johnson.

Andy went with Michael Vick vs. the Lions defense (read it; it’s a fascinating look), so that leaves me to make sense of the Tennessee-Pittsburgh game.

Johnson, as you know, has 12-straight games where he’s rushed for at least 100 yards. That’s two off Barry Sanders’ all-time record. But remember, the Steelers are traditionally pretty good at stopping the run – in the past 35 games, an opponent has reached the century mark in rushing only once (Baltimore’s Ray Rice).

So, what will happen Sunday? Well, if the past is any indication, it could be a long day for Johnson. Last year, in the season opener, he gained 57 yards on 15 carries, and the season before, he was held to 69 yards.

But the past two seasons, Johnson – no matter what Adrian Peterson thinks – has been the best RB in the league. Yet the Steelers have their gameplan.

"It's a big priority,” OLB LaMarr Woodley told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. "You stop the run, you force a team to go to its passing game, which allows us to bring a little heat and get to the quarterback.

"We hit him as a team (the past two seasons). We constantly got to him. When running backs are taking hits after hits from big guys, they slow down a little bit."

True, but not every team can boast the tackling skills of Woodley, James Farrior and James Harrison. This week, though, Johnson might catch a break because starting NT Casey Hampton is out for the game.

Most important for the Steelers is for the defense to maintain gap control.

"He's not real heavy but he's so fast and strong," NT Chris Hoke told the paper. "He jump-cuts on a dime, he's very quick at making his reads. You have to make sure you're gap-sound on every play because he gets a little crack and he's gone.

"It's easy for a guy like that, to get everybody a little over-excited – you want to make sure he doesn't make a big play so maybe you get out of your gap a little bit and you run to the ball and he cuts back when you're running to the ball. You have to make sure you stay square to the line of scrimmage so there is no cutback lane."

And what does Johnson – and his teammates – have to do in order to get that 100-yard game? The Titans offensive line has to work harder than the Steelers.

"One thing they do a lot of times is just outwork guys," Titans guard Leroy Harris told the Tennessean. "Every guy is working to the whistle, no matter what. Their technique is sound. They hold responsibility. They do their job. They outwork guys and they keep running to the ball.

"You can’t let the other guy outwork you. You don’t let the other guy make the play. We’ll do that. We also make sure we see the different looks they have and the blitzes they have. We get bodies on guys."

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: September 17, 2010 5:24 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2010 7:50 pm
 

Five questions (or more) with John Thornton

J. Thornton is the subject of our Five Questions (or more) ... segment (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Former defensive tackle John Thornton is a 10-year veteran who had a solid career for the Titans and the Bengals and who started all but four of the 92 games he played in the final seven seasons of his career.

Since retiring after the 2008 season, Thornton has kept active, serving as a mentor to many of today’s current players with his Jockbiz organization (tagline on his website: Leveraging your athletic success with a lifetime career) and turning himself into a social media maven with his blog (All Pro Blogger) and his Twitter page.

We talked to him about the (retired) players’ perspective on the labor dispute and why players should use the social media opportunities that are available to him. As always, he was a thoughtful interview.

1. CBS: How do you see the labor dispute that’s coming? Obviously, you’re a former player and you still have some stake in what happens. But you also can see the big picture now that you’re not in the league any more.

JT: I kind of look at it from afar. I’ll always side with the players in the sense that I think the players have the right to get every dime they can get. The owners want to fight for every dime they’re going to get. There has to be a change in the system. There are so many older players that are struggling right now. Now I’m a retired player. I understand what they go through. There has to be a way to take care of the older players. There has to be a way to not give so much to the rookies, but yet you can’t just take all the money from the rookies because their careers are so short. The average career is three years but you’re not vested until your fourth year. Why take the money from the rookies if you’re not giving it to the veterans? They won’t get that stuff done until the end. I kind of feel for the players now, because the guys are still ramped up in it. They don’t see the big picture.

2. When you were a veteran with the Bengals, Carson Palmer came in as a rookie with his huge contract. You had a big contract in your career too, but as a veteran, how tough is it to see a rookie who hasn’t done anything make so much money?

“You have to understand the system. The better you play in college, the better prospect you are. But you have the opportunity to play well, and you have the opportunity to make a lot of money. You can talk about (former Bengals center) Richie Brahm. You’re telling me he’s not as good as (Browns guard) Eric Steinbach? Eric Steinbach got a $49 million contract. Richie never made more than $1.5 million in season. He got caught up in the system. Look at a guy like (Bengals guard) Bobbie Williams. He’s one of the top guards in the league, but he can’t get paid like one. As a veteran, you have to understand your position. I never got mad about that.

You have to understand, that’s how it is right now. There are a lot of great players that missed out in the money. In the end, you just have to worry about your own lifestyle. Money makes a big difference, but in the end, it’s the money you save as a player.  It’s not about the money you make; it’s about the money you save. But when a player is playing, his ears are closed to a lot of those things.

It’s just shut up and play. Even last (week) with the whole unified players thing, people hate that. They see football players and they just want them to put their helmet on and play. (The football establishment) doesn’t want you to be this intellectual guy. Then, they’ll think you don’t want to play long. They’ll think that if you’re smart and you’re always wondering about the future, you’re not going to be worried about now and about the team. It’s a fine line you have to stand on.

CBS: Were you ever penalized for being a “smart” football player.

JT:  I didn’t, because I never slighted football. That was the thing that drove me. That took care of my family. I never missed an offseason workout. I always did what the coaches wanted me to do.

Thornton 3. So, tell me about what you’ve been up to off the field. I know you’re big on the social media scene, but you also have JockBiz. Tell me about that.

You see a guy like (Bengals director of player relations) Eric Ball, and Eric does a great job with the team. But players aren’t always going to go to Eric Ball (with problems), because he’s the guy on the team. When you see an authority figure, you don’t always go to him with your issues. I’m more of that personal guy. It’s also about getting out there in the community, learning to talk other people’s language that don’t play football.  I met a lot of people doing charity stuff. I met people who were more successful than me and made more money than me, and you may get more (traction) in the business world. You learn to get out there in the public and you learn to get out of the locker room. I always did that when I was playing because I wanted to do it. Yet it opened up doors. We have unique connections where we can give players a lot of information just by being mentors in the game.

The community service is a part of it, but it’s more about being the mentor. Guys have issues with a coach, they can come to us. With my partner, Charles Fisher, if Darrelle Revis is having a problem, Revis will call him at 3 a.m. He won’t call his agent. Players need those kinds of people in their lives. We feel like that might hold you from doing something silly in the streets.”

4. CBS: You’ve become a force on Twitter and with your blog. Why is that so important to you?

JT: I started blogging back in 2004, and I was probably the first player to host a fan site. Bengalscentral.com was mine, and it was the first player-run site for fans. I would answer questions and interview players. I saw that as a unique way to connect with fans. I always enjoyed the Internet. That’s what I do most of my day. You can be on Twitter. That’s a way to put yourself out there, but still be guarded. You can control the information that’s out there about you. You can get people to know you through your eyes. But you have to take it for what it is. You have some people who have a million followers, and they don’t say anything. But there is good in social media. I just don’t think a lot of players know how to use it.

5. CBS: I’ll get you out on this one. I have a different perspective than you might, but it seems that some players want to use Twitter and social media so they can bypass the traditional media. Think about it. I’m interviewing you right now, but I can edit it any way that I want. I can make you look good or look bad. Is that a concern for players?

JT: With some guys, it is. I’ve seen situations where you may have an interview, and it comes out totally different than you intended it or the interviewer asked it in a different tone. With Chad Ochocinco, it’s like, once you start to get on Twitter, I’m cutting the middle man out. I’ll show people what I’m about. Now, he’s not misunderstood anymore. It’s a way to clean stuff up. Now, it’s forced the media to change things. You still have traditional media, and that’s where you’re going to get your news. If there’s an earthquake, I’m turning on CNN. I’m not going to Twitter for my news.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .



 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com