This past week Herm apologists across the globe came up with a new rallying cry. The claim? That the Tennessee Titans are living proof that our current rebuilding will lead us to glory, and by some mysterious link that is untouched by logic, vicariously makes Herm Edwards the right man for the job.
The basis for this claim? That would be that the Titans: (a) blew up their team and were 5-11 and 4-12 in 2004 and 2005, respectively; and (b) they are very good today.
And that was it. No real logic to connect the two. No facts or stats to back it up. In fact, this was one whopper of a “yadda yadda”. Yet all the usual suspects in the mainstream Chiefs media repeated it as fact. If they had done the slightest bit of research, they would have quickly realized that the conclusion above holds no water and the similarities between the Titans and Chiefs ends there.
First of all, the Titans blew up their roster starting in 2004 because they were in “cap hell”, not because of some grand idea of rebuilding with a college squad that can’t get to the quarterback. They just couldn’t afford their team anymore under the league rules of the time. They didn’t stink on purpose; not like the Chiefs are (in part) doing right now.
I will give the Hermeheads one more similarity. The Titans did stockpile draft picks in 2004/05, much like the Chiefs did this past draft. The Forever Herms therefore jump to the conclusion that this is directly responsible for the Titans success today. But yet again, the smallest bit of research debunks the whole theory.
Of the twenty-four draft picks the Titans had that year (nine of which were “first day” picks), the Titans now have three starters from that group, one of which just became a starter this year. None of these three are currently considered game changers by observers. So three of twenty-four, that’s a 12.5% success rate. To put that number in context, that’s worse than the widely panned Dick Vermeil drafts of 2001-2005, which produced five long-time starters out of thirty-eight picks (13%), most of which were very low “second day” picks. If you count all the quality starts Vermeil also got out of traded draft picks (Green, Roaf, Surtain, Welbourne), then those Vermeil drafts start to look like strokes of genius compared to the Titans’ drafts of 04/05.
Interestingly, those three draft “hits” for the Titans are all offensive linemen. Although they’re not superstar linemen, the Chiefs sure did make them look like it this past Sunday. This also reinforces the fact of how important quality offensive linemen are in the NFL. Herm never realized this and completely ignored the offensive line and let it deteriorate until it was too late. How the retirement of perennial all-stars Willie Roaf and Will Shields didn’t send that message, the world will never know. Complain, if you will, that Vermeil didn’t get enough young linemen, but you can’t argue that he didn’t put a high premium on the offensive line. In fact, offensive line was perhaps his highest priority for the team and went on to have one of the best lines in the NFL for his five seasons with the Chiefs. I’m not saying Vermeil was the greatest coach, I’m just pointing out that he at least understood fundamentals.
How much the offensive line draft successes are responsible for the Titan’s current quality is highly debatable. I’ve heard from those more familiar with the Titans that Kevin Mawae and Jake Scott (free agent signings) are considered their best linemen. In the end, there are lots of things that go into building a good team besides drafting (e.g. training, re-signings, trades, free-agent signings, etc), but Herm doesn’t know of these.
Finally, all one has to do is look at the Titans starting lineup to realize it resembles nothing of the Chiefs current “plan”. Take these names: Jake Scott, Kevin Mawae, Alge Crumpler, Justin McCareins, Justin Gage, Kerry Collins, Craig Hentrich, Javon Kearse, Tony Brown, Kyle Vanden Bosch, David Thornton, Nick Harper, and Chris Hope. That’s thirteen of their twenty-four starters that are FA signings from other teams. The fact that Kearse and McCareins were originally drafted by the Titans only to leave and come back, only underscores the fact that there is little difference between drafting a starter and signing one as a free-agent if your “rebuilding” takes more than four years (the typical length of time a team controls a draft pick before going to free agency). Then throw in the fact that some of their biggest stars are long-time vets (e.g. Keith Bulluck, Albert Haynesworth), and this team resembles nothing of the “trash and rebuild with just young draft picks” Chiefs plan.
Sorry guys, but yet another Herm excuse/hope shot down after a mere five minutes of research. Try again.
There’s no point in handing out grades this week. F’s all around. A few points, though:
- What the heck was Rocky Boiman (#50) doing on the field just days after signing? He made Pate Thomas look like a superstar out there, chasing the wrong guys, having his back to the ball. “Who the hell is #50?!” was a common phrase in my house on Sunday.
- With Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard knocked out, Herm salivates as he gets to pull back out the “I had to use five QBs excuse” he tried using in New York. He’s already at four (Marques Hagans).
- Yet another week without a sack (although they didn’t really have to throw much). To top it off, 332 yards rushing. Could our DL be any worse?
- It’s official, Herm has worn out Colquitt’s leg, err groin. Now who is our best player?