Once again, we visit with Tom Gower of Total Titans. Tom also contributes over at the Footballoutsiders.com. Tom is a must follow on Twitter as well, and not just for this week. We spoke to him a couple of weeks ago before the first Titans game. I answered some questions for him too, so check them out
1. An inspired performance over the Texans. A dead on their feet game against the Chiefs. Which Titans team do we see in Indy this Sunday?
The game against Kansas City was their third dud performance of the year, following the first Texans game and the second Jaguars game. I suspect the whole team is ready for the year to be over, and my expectations for Sunday are not very high.
Now that the Titans are officially eliminated, it may be time for some younger players to get their chance at a larger role. Jeff Fisher indicated this week the offense may be opened up more; what that means, I'm not really sure, but I wouldn't be surprised to see more playing time for rookie wideout Damian Williams and second year tight end Jared Cook.
The Titans have had three incredibly flat performances already, and a fourth in the last six games would confirm the players have stopped listening to whatever Jeff Fisher is trying to tell him. Fisher is still under contract for next year for a pretty high price, so I'm not completely sure he's gone even if they do put up a stinker, but a win would make it more palatable.
They come out ready and motivated to play, maintain that concentration and energy for the entire game, and the Colts help them out by turning the ball over a few times and/or not accepting gifts the Titans try to give them. I hate to talk about motivation and coming out flat, and all this other stuff, because it normally strikes me as wishy-washy nonsense used to confirm what somebody already thinks. But it's Week 17, and there no team goals at stake for the Titans, so it's a much major factor.
Well, both teams need to have something at stake. Both the Colts and Titans were good in 2008, and the Week 17 game was a total stinker because they were both locked into a seed. Ditto to a lesser extent the 2007 game for the Colts, though the Titans needed it to make the playoffs.
In terms of the broader picture for the Titans, they need a reliable answer at quarterback. My best guess right now is they'll try to make Vince Young that guy. If they do, there's a chance he could finally develop the off-the-field skills needed to be the right guy on the field, but I doubt it. They could also use a linebacker or two who could cover and probably a safety as well.
Historically, he has pulled out the stops against the Colts, especially in weeks like this one where the Titans seem like a major longshot. You remember the onside kicks in 2004. In 2006, they were roughly 17-point underdogs and came out with an extremely run-heavy gameplan and inspired a rule change with a trick play at the end of the first half. He could be coaching for his job, so you could see anything. On offense, that is. I wouldn't expect much creativity from the defense, aside from maybe a couple more ineffective zone blitzes like they've been doing all year.