Thursday, December 17, 2009

Titan-ing Up For The Final Stretch - or - Miami vs Tennessee

Before I get started with our little look in to the road game vs the Titans, a special thank you goes out to reader, Kent from Tennessee for his help getting me acquainted with a team I know very little about.  Enjoy the game from your luxury suite, Kent.

In typical NFL/CBS fashion, the match-up between two East Coast play-off contenders will not be aired locally in 90% of the East Coast  (subject to change) although for some reason it's being aired in Greenville, North Carolina and in Savannah, Georgia, two places full of both Titans and Dolphins fans.  The majority of the East Coast will get the New England/Buffalo game.  However, if you're in North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Washington or Oregon, the Dolphins are on your local TV this week, so congratulations. (also being aired in FL, GA, AL, AR, TN, MS, IN, IL, MI, and NE - this just in, Austin, TX, and Tyler, TX just picked up the game - they must not like the texans in those two cities). On top of that luck, Dick Enberg and Dan Fouts will be commentating.  Those two, while not perfect, are clearly a notch above CBS' other regulars, Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Dan Dierdorf, Greg Gumbel, Solomon Wilcots, Rich Gannon, and Steve Tasker.


So I think it's been well accepted by most NFL fans that the Titans have a top notch coaching staff, starting with Jeff Fisher.  Despite his poor sense of humor shown when he donned his Peyton Manning Indianapolis Colts jersey in wanting "to feel like a winner," he has gotten his team to turn things around after an 0-6 start to the season.  They have won 6 of their last 7.  Miami has won 5 of their last 7.  

So these two teams have started out pretty badly and now have narrow playoff hopes that make this a playoff-type game in it's own right.  Lose and you're eliminated.  

Expect this to be a very physical, smash mouth type game.  Tennessee is 7th in the league versus the run and 31st versus the pass.  A stat that will likely lure Miami into a pass-first game plan. I do worry about Henne's arm being over-used in this final stretch, but it may be our best option for now.  It seems like our O-line is coming back into full-strength/health and we may be able to push around Tennessee's 4-3 defense a little bit.  We should match up our strength and size versus their speed.

In the past, when talking about the Titans, one would focus on their defense, but these days it's their offense that makes the most noise - averaging 360 yards per game including 165 on the ground - good for 2nd in the league (the Dolphins are currently third with 150 per game).  Chris Johnson is clearly the best player in the league this year, besting his pro-bowl recognized performance of 2008 in fewer games this year (this is in part due to the fact the Titans decided to just eliminate their two-headed attack featuring Johnson and Lendale White, and go with the feature-back system starring Johnson).

Meanwhile, Vince Young, who didn't look to even be in the Titans plans for this year, is having his best season since entering the NFL, posting a 90.9 QB rating.  He has committed just 4 turnovers in 9 games - something that has always been his downfall (he had 20 in 2007, 16 in 2006), but he is prone to fumbling the ball.  He's also prone to scrambling and taking off when he's chased out of the pocket.  If you're a Miami fan, you'll know how dangerous that trait has been and could be headed into Sunday's game.

Another strength of the Titans are their tight-ends (Bo Scaife, Alge Crumpler, Jared Cook, Craig Stevens).  These guys are all know for their blocking, but Scaife is fast and Crumpler is huge, and both provide safe pass targets.  Word today out of Dolphins camp is that Yeremiah Bell was limping, taped up and sitting out individual drills today.  That could spell trouble.  If he doesn't play, I would hope the Dolphins would put in Chris Clemons at Free Safety and slide Gibril Wilson over to strong safety, but my hopes in that regard are rarely met by the coaching staff.

The Titans have a decent WR group, featuring rookie Kenny Britt (remember him?  he was my favorite WR not named Crabtree in the 2009 draft).  He has started the last 5 games and in that span has caught 18 balls for 346 yards (19.2 ypc) and 3 TDs.  

Britt and Scaife are the biggest threats downfield, but the leading receiver on the team is Chris Johnson.  Tennessee is a team that runs the screen.  You know how Miami does against the screen.  

So, the good news is that we're 98% healthy heading into this game and focused on fundamentals and playing mistake-free football.  The bad news is this game is probably our toughest remaining on the schedule, and it will be played in their house under playoff-type atmosphere.

Other than a big win, coupled with a surprise unveiling of Buffalo's new 'gimmick' play, the 'WildBill' vs the reeling Patriots, what are you looking forward to seeing on Sunday?


  1. I want to see the Bills become very un-Patriotic on Sunday!

  2. LOL that was terrible...are you a writer for TMZ?

  3. Tennesee is not really a team I am familiar with...I think the only things I truly know about them is they used to be the Houston Oilers and they "almost" won the SB by what a yard??

    So it is interesting to read this info moreso than our division because with those teams, I am pretty well versed. Sooo again THANKS TIN for the read!

    As for Tenn. DAYUM four tight ends, a great running back AND a pretty damn good receiver??? Plus a QB that can run out of the pocket?? I have to say, that I was feeling neutral going into this weekends game, but now I am a little intimidated. I mean our downfall this year has been covering the tightends, scrambling qb's and coverage over the middle...eeekkk and with Bell possibly hurt (he has chased down quite a few of those long passes this year to save TD's or at least delay them) and with Fergie out at NT. Eek I just hope Solia (sp) and Mcdaniels are up to the task of stoping that run on that end.

    Regardless, last year teams had some advantages on us and we managed to pull through, I am hoping it will continue this Sunday. GO FINS!!!!

  4. damn, I suck at using a laptop! Could I have any more typos? egads.

  5. One thing to keep in mind is that Tennessee has only played 3 games this
    year vs a 3-4 front (we'll be the 4th). They lost all 3 of those games.
    Chris Johnson has been held under 100 yards 4 times this year. 3 of those
    times were against a 3-4. There may be something in that stat.

  6. <span>well, since you asked, i am looking forward to some homemade smoked wings, smoked beef.  some cream of broccoli soup, some tripled fried home cut french fries.  </span>

  7. No kidding! That's the Steelers, Jets and Jags, right?

  8. A tough opponent with a mobile quarterback (if he plays) that we need to have a 'spy' cover. Tin, you ar right, they may have issues dealing with our 3-4 alignment.  The team that wants to win this game more will prevail!
    Go Dolphins!

  9. The Pats. The Jags play a 4-3

  10. Hey, everybody to ffr's house for the game.  What beverages are you serving?  Or do we have to bring our own?  And dessert, don't forget that.  LOL ;)

  11. ffr what's with all the food talk from you ?  That's for herd and I !!

    Sorry I can't go to the party we're going to Disney this weekend to see the Candlelite prosession.  We've been doing this for years.  Those of you that live in Ca. or Fl. should try to catch that show.

    Oh yea there's a game this week.  Looks to me like both teams have been beat by the same teams.  So trying to handycap this matchup won't be easy.  I think the edge goes to the Titans, mostly because I still have little confidence in the Dolphins and this is a home game for them.

    It' s hard to get rid of the taste of losing for so long, so I nearly always think we will get beat no matter who we play.  Am I the only one that feels that way ?

  12. No Fang, you are not the only one! LOL  Every game I sit on the edge of my seat, and since the N.O. and Indy games (and every other 4th qtr meltdown this year) I have been worse.  We can be up 17 pts in the 4th and I still say "OK here we go" every time the other team gets the ball.  Even the last two when we have shut out the Pats and Jags in the 4th I've had the same fealing.  However, I just have this feeling that we are going to win out the rest of our games this year AND get help with Denver and Baltimore losses. (heck the Bills might even suprise us) I am very up beat about our chances.  Home Superbowl 2010! (no I wasn't addressing you! LOL) make it, beat the undefeated's and win the big show in our own back yard! 

  13. If we could play some defense on regular basis I would feel better about our chances.  We are so up and down on that side of the ball how can we feel good about them.  The good teams always bring the D, sometimes offenses have trouble in a game, but their defenses always show up.  I think sometimes our defense gets on the wrong bus to the stadiums. :)

    In the past few weeks they have been showing up and we have some wins because of that.  I'd like to see them play like someone was trying to have their way with herdfan or slush and they were trying to stop it.  Make it personal.

  14. The Jags are now officially out of the race.

  15. Here are some BOLD predictions for this Sunday's game....
    C. Henne - 380yds - 3Td's
    Tedd Ginn - 2 tds (one on a long bomb, one on a K.O. run back. + 35yds rushing)
    D. Bess 10 catches +100 yds
    Hartline - 5 catches 80yds, TD
    Ricky 116yds, TD running, TD rec.
    Cam Wake 3 sacks

    Dolphins win 34 - 26

  16. Rockphin, your scoring predictions don't add up to your final score:
    Henne 3 TDs = 21 points
    Ginn return TD = 7 points
    Ricky TD run = 7 points
    Total = 35 points
    unless we miss an extra point?

  17. LOL of course you have to call me out!! I noticed my math was off right after I hit post!!! LOL Actually, I meant to add in a FG too so my final prediction would be 38 - 26. 

  18. Oh, and Sean Smith get's his first pick of the season.

  19. do you really want me to answer what is for dessert?   LOL

    as far as beverages, open bar, a free for all.  but, it is a fix your own bar.  and remember no drinking and driving

  20. While I'm throwing out crazy predictions here's another one.  After the game Herdfan posts a picture of herself topless on this site!! ............................................which later we find out is actually a photo-shopped "after" picture of one of her clients. LOL

  21. Yep Rockphin, that is some crazy stuff you're smoking to share?  LMAO! 

  22. Tin,

    Sorry to all your regular readers (again) for dropping a round football bomb onto an oval football blog site but here are the Champ League draws.

    First knockout round draw
    Stuttgart v Barcelona
    Olympiakos v Bordeaux
    Inter Milan v Chelsea
    Bayern Munich v Fiorentina
    CSKA Moscow v Sevilla
    Lyon v Real Madrid
    Porto v Arsenal
    AC Milan v Manchester United

    First leg ties to be played February 16th/17th and 23rd/24th, second leg ties to be played March 9th/10th and 16th/17th.
    And the league cup dates:

    Great win for the Colts last night knocking Jax back, but I woulda preferred a tie? ;)

  23. Oops - hit enter before I meant to. League Cup:

    Wednesday, 6 January 2010Man City v Man Utd, SF, L1, 19:45 Tuesday, 19 January 2010Man Utd v Man City, SF, L2, 20:00 Quick comment on Ch League - Mourinho returning to Stamford Bridge with Inter and Becks com,ing back to Old Trafford with AC. You couldn't script it if you tried?!?Gotta dash. Ciao.

  24. Is AC Milan any good? Who are the favorites in that list? Real Madrid?
    I'm still waiting for an upload of the MUFC vs Wolves game so hush hush wink
    wink nod nod, k?

  25. LOL, Only if you care to share some "after" photos!!!

  26. I can't keep track of Beckham did he end up with AC Milan?
    Does this mean the Beckhams will have another kid and name it Lombardy?
    That's a geography joke, people....(sigh)

  27. rock,

    herdfan is a caring fellow dolphin fan, i am sure she will all want us to remain in the best of health and post all the large breasted pics we need to keep us in tip top shape.

  28. Oh yeah FFR the only reason I would suggest such a thing would be for our health!  Love the study you posted!

  29. I want to make sure the effects stick so I intend on spending at least 20 mins a day!

  30. wow, you are a quitter.  i plan on living to see some great great grandchildren.  i am going to dedicate myself to at least 10 minutes every hour.  i mean my health depends on it. :-D

  31. Tins,

    That was a very informative & well written piece!  However, although it is somewhat interesting that the Titans have had little success against 3-4 teams this season, those losses occurred before Vince Young took over as QB.  As you know the only loss that the Titans have had since Young has taken over was to the Colts & they play a 4-3.  This is a REALLY tough team to beat on the road.

    As you pointed out, Chris Johnson is the best football player in the NFL right now.  There aren't that many players in the league that truly "scare" me but he's right at the top of my list.  I've watched this kid play a number of times this season & he has looked unstoppable.  Even if we were able to slow him down coming out of the backfield, I'm more concerned with him being used as a receiver.  Once this kid gets some space, I've never seen a running back with this much acceleration & speed.   He's truly a unique & special talent.  Now throw in the production of their TE's (which we have struggled with all season) & then the running ability of Vince Young &....I just don't see our defense being up to the task.  Although I have been impressed that we have managed to "patchwork" our interior after the loss of Ferguson, this is the kind of game that his presence will be sorely missed.  However, even with a healthy Ferguson, I believe it will be the failure of our ILB's to contain their offense.  It is imperative that we are able to sign or draft a LB that possesses sideline to sideline speed, the ability to cover receivers, & is just an absolute tackling machine.  Between WR, TE, ILB, etc. I think Parcells & Co. are going to have their hands full this offseason. 

    I also think you made an excellent point about the Titan's 31st ranked passing defense & the temptation to have Henne throw the ball.  Although Henne is coming off his best game as a pro, I'd like to see us pound the ball up the middle & control the clock.  I've stated my opinions of their offense & our mismatches on defense but if we use a little more Polite & Hilliard on top of Ricky since they no longer have Haynesworth, I think we can wear them down. 

    If I sound like a cynic when it comes to our defense, it's only b/c I am!!!  LOL!  Believe me, there is no one who would be happier than myself if I'm dead wrong tomorrow.  With that said, I'll be screaming my balls off for a win & some costly Vince Young turnovers could change everything.

  32. LOL@Rob!  BTW--That study is 100% accurate.

    Every time I see a good looking pair of breasts, I feel better.  It also increases my heart rate so that study is irrefutable IMHO.

  33. Hmmmmm,I didn't notice any typo's,but (I'm not known to be grammarically correct)!!
    I THINK that's a word??  *DONT_KNOW*

    Thought your style was FUNNY,and RELEVANT!!
    I probably wouldn't have understood it,had it not looked like one big word,(SERIOUSLY I'm JUSKDN!!)..

    AGAIN,I truely didn't notice any typo's!!  :)         

    TAP YOUR HEALS 3 TIMES,and for 60 mins repeat ""THERES NO PLACE LIKE 8-6,THERES NO PLACE LIKE 8-6"",
    OR something to that affect on a play by play basis!!!   (affect/effect ???), *DONT_KNOW*  LOL!!  
    GOD O L P H I N S   >:o >:o >:o >:o >:o >:o >:o >:o >:o >:o >:o >:o >:o >:o >:o >:o >:o >:o =-O   :-P   :-D   8-)   !!!!!!!!!


    Though we're still in the EMBRIONIC STAGES of TOTAL TEAM COHESION,
    I feel like we're NEVER OUT OF A GAME,(NO MATTER HOW FAR UP,DOWN,or the opponent!!!)

    SOON,the IMPATIENT will get-it!!!
    and the D (though NOT YET on the same page either) 
    is ALREADY better than any D we had that forced #13 to do what he did!!!

    SCHIIISHH,GLAD THE PLAYERS DON"T THINK LIKE YOU GYZ,(we'd never win a single game)!!

    THANK HEAVENS,the majority are thinking something positive might happen on a play-by-play basis,
    (whether we're up or down by 17)!!!

    """We can be up 17 pts in the 4th and I still say "OK here we go" every time the other team gets the ball."""

    I say the SAME THING EVERYTIME,but it's ""OK here we go"" TAKE-IT-AWAY,TAKE-IT-AWAY,TAKE-IT-AWAY!!!
    And I say ""OK here we go"" EVERYTIME the O has the ball toooo,(AGAIN,IN HOPE FOR GOOD THINGS)!!!

    You GYZ need to re-direct your priorities of HOPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
    You have a minimum of 2 games left to LEARN HOW TO APPRECIATE THIS TEAM,and a GAME!!!
    OTHERWISE, your gonna remain miserable gameday fans,

    GO         M        I        A        M        I            D       O       L       H       I       N       S    !!!!!!!!