Fisher’s talent assessments hurt team

Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher recently stated that the team needs bigger bodies at the defensive tackle position. Is this a recent conclusion?

Tennessee has been counting on the oft-injured Jason Jones to start at defensive tackle along with veteran Tony Brown. Jones is 6’6” and 275 pounds, which places him at a disadvantage in leverage and bulk.

According to reports earlier this season, the Titans had two opportunities to make a deal with the Washington Redskins for disgruntled defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. The former Titan is currently suspended by the Redskins for conduct detrimental to the team.

Defensive tackle is not the only position at which Fisher underestimated or miscalculated the team’s talent level. While the team’s linebacking corps and secondary has had their share of lapses, they are not lacking in talent or potential. The biggest miscalculations in 2010 have been on offense. Let’s take a look.

Journeyman Kerry Collins played well as he replaced Vince Young in 2008 and helped the team win 13 games. Fisher stuck with Collins in 2009, and we all know the result: an 0-6 start.

Fisher and Titans General Manager Mike Reinfeldt decided that Collins was worth a $5.5 million base salary this season and kept him on the roster. The game manager has occasionally piled up stats, but his ability to throw the deep ball has diminished significantly. Should Fisher and Reinfeldt have signed a younger, experience backup to Young?

Running Back
Tampa Bay’s LeGarrette Blount is second among rookie running backs with 667 yards rushing. Blount spent the summer in Nashville and was released before the start of the regular season. In November, Fisher said he regrets cutting Blount “every day.” Did he expect a player with Blount’s talent to clear waivers? Yes, he did.

I did not want Blount on the roster, but Samkon Gado, a veteran running back of size, spent part of training camp with the Titans and played well. Tennessee chose not to keep Gado to help the goal-line offense, relying on talented. Chris Johnson serves as the team’s home run hitter and goal line bruiser.

Offensive Line
Tennessee chose not to bring back likely Hall-of-Fame center Kevin Mawae, who really wanted to play another season. The Titans decided to move left guard Eugene Amano to center and insert the inexperienced Leroy Harris at guard. “Catfish” Harris, by all accounts, has been terrible on the offensive line. Today, Amano was placed on injured reserve.

Yet another undersized defensive tackle

The player who replaced Amano on the roster — defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard — is 6’2” and 280 pounds. Even after Fisher’s recent realization about the defensive line, he did not add bulk to the position.

Jeff Fisher and Mike Reinfeldt have not provided adequate depth and have overestimated the capabilities of players at key positions on the roster. This type of leadership is hurting the Titans, along with poor on-field performance and team dissension.


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