White Needs to Impress to Be Named Starting RB


Titans RB LenDale White still hasn’t escaped the coaches’ doghouse because of his attitude and work ethic this offseason, which led to the late signing of veteran Chris Brown. Still, coach Jeff Fisher wants White to be the starter, though White will have to take some major steps in the preseason to secure the position. White has the strength to win the job, but he has been overweight and expects the starting role to come to him, rather than taking care of the RB spot for himself. He rushed for only 244 yards last season on 61 attempts. White’s yards per carry average was at a low 4.0 and he failed to reach the end zone in ‘06. The only “long” running he turned out doing was to the buffet line, as he can see by his frame.

He had only one rush for over 25 yards and is not a good pass catcher out of the backfield, with only 14 receptions last year. Vince Young needs all the help he can get and Tennessee should turn to more of an all-around back that can pose a threat on passing downs (Chris Henry or Chris Brown.) Not in one game did he rush for a total of 50 yards and White has some catching up to do if he wants to be the featured RB for the Titans offense. The coaching staff envisioned his as a second round steal in the ’06 NFL Draft out of USC; that did not work out as Travis Henry made sure of that. Right now he is looking like a bust if he does not get into game shape and change his workout approach and attitude. I personally think Chris Henry and Brown will take the majority of the carries at RB in ’07.

They bring more to the offense – Henry is more talented and faster, and Brown is more experienced and is a proven 1,000-yard rusher for Tennessee. Look for the Titans to be patient and wait for White one more year. The choice is up to White to perform as a talented RB. Right now he is not living up to his “hype” or end of his bargain. If he does not put up good #s this season, I see him getting dropped or traded to a team like the N.Y. Giants. Coach Fisher will not deal with his problems and lack of productivity. This team needs to have a strong rushing attack to support #10 right away if they want to win; QB Vince Young isn’t getting much help from his receivers besides young TE Ben Troupe and WR Brandon Jones (not the most reliable pass targets).

Look for this not-so “Titan” of a running back to fall down faster than a bad stock report. I think White’s success in USC was a fluke and was based on the weapons around him. He did so well because of the stars next to him: Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, and Dwayne Jarrett. It had more to do with the team in Southern California, then his output on the field obviously. Also, he had been part of a college powerhouse and a great coach in Pete Carroll. Look for White’s struggle to continue and question marks to be raised, on why he is not the back he was in college.

The answer is very simple and one has to look no further than his teammates at USC, surrounding the 240-pound back, giving him enough room to operate and put up the big stats during the course of 2005. White will be nothing more than a successful college RB, whose career will not resemble what he accomplished in the NCAA. It will not translate into a long, NFL run of touchdowns and 1,000-yard seasons, as some experts projected. It may be too early to tell, but for me the juror is out on this once valued second round selection.

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