The Tennessee Titans seem to almost be taking a hands-off approach to the 2009 season. Perhaps that’s to be expected from a franchise that’s employed the same head coach for 16 years. Owner Bud Adams — who’s so hands-off that he still makes his home in Houston, some 785 miles from Nashville — believes Jeff Fisher and his Titans, who were an AFC-best 13-3 last season, have enough weapons to capture the Lombardi Trophy that has eluded this otherwise successful organization.
Only two new starters were brought in over the offseason, both to fill spots vacated by departed free agents: wide receiver Nate Washington steps in for Brandon Jones (now a 49er) and defensive tackle Jovan Haye replaces Albert Haynesworth (now a Redskin). The Washington acquisition is nothing new, really. The Titans have been infusing their mundane passing attack with middle-tier free agent receivers for years, each time investing a little more hope in the chance at striking gold. They did this with Yancey Thigpen in 1998. Then Carl Pickens in 2000. Then David Givens in 2006, and Eric Moulds in 2007. None worked out. Washington could buck this trend if he adjusts to this precision-passing offense. Or, he could represent a fruitless six-year, $27 million expenditure. In the end, the Titans will still be a run-first offense either way.
As scrutinized as it has been, the Haynesworth loss is also nothing new. After all, in 2007 Fisher and GM Mike Reinfeldt saw defensive linemen Antwan Odom, Travis LaBoy and Randy Starks break out and immediately leave for greener (as in money) pastures in free agency. None of the three did much in their respective new homes in ’08, while the Titans, on the other hand, actually got better.
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