Posted by:
The Ram

Coaching Changes:

Norm Chow leaves after an unimpressive stint as the offensive coordinator and is replaced by Mike Heimerdinger.  Heimerdinger was previously the offensive coordinator for Tennessee from 2000 to 2004.  Looking at those offenses should give us a very good idea of what to expect in 2008.  In 2000-2004 Tennessee ran the ball 486 times for 1864 yards per season.  They threw 514 times for 3528 yards per season.

Under Norm Chow, the Titans ran 506 times for 2162 yards per season, and threw 455 times for 2737 yards per season.

Heimerdinger's offense will pass the ball more and run less.  I'm aware of the difference between Vince Young and Steve McNair, but I do think that in the NFL, systems often trump players.  They may not be as successful passing the ball as they were 2000-04, but they will likely push in that direction.


Tennessee did not perform well as a run blocking unit in 2007.  While they did have the fifth most rushing yards in the NFL, that stat is a bit deceptive.  They led the NFL in rushing attempts, and only averaged 3.9 yards per carry (tied with Atlanta).  Their success running was due to their complete neglect of the passing game.  They were one of a handful of offenses that failed to gain 3,000 yards through the air.

St Louis signed away LG Jacob Bell with preposterous amount of money, and RG Benji Olson retired in the offseason.  Tennessee signed Jake Scott away from Indianapolis to replace Olson.  Backups Eugene Amano, Leroy Harris and Daniel Loper are battling for Bell's spot at LG.  Both of these positions are downgrades from 2007.  The LT, RT, and C are stable and may be able to hide the weakness of the guards, however.


What do you do with Vince Young?  Point and laugh at the person who drafts him?  Or take a buy-low gamble hoping that the new offense throws more and he is allowed to scramble?  There's no easy answer.  If the price is right, he is worth a look.  Part of winning in fantasy football is to turn left when everyone else turns right.  There are a lot of "Vince Young blows" parrots out there now, and justifiably so.  Young's play has not earned him any better.  But don't simply assume that players cannot improve.  I would rather have a young player who might break out on my team than a consistent stiff who has peaked at mediocre.  The cost of a backup QB bombing is low, so feel free to gamble with the position.


First round pick Chris Johnson was brought in to complement the plodding Lendale White and injury magnet Chris Brown was finally shown the door.  White played all of 2007 with a torn meniscus, which likely contributed to his 3.6 yards per carry.  His workload will be decreased based on the changes in the offense and the new addition of Johnson.  I don't like his chances of topping 1,000 yards again, but he may make up ground as a goal-line back.  I like him a bit more than Johnson at this point.  That could change based on how things shake out through the preseason.  The coaches are very happy with Johnson.  Second year RB Chris Henry is all but done in the NFL already.


This is one of the sorriest groups in the NFL.  The best players here would be fourth receivers on most teams.  Mike Heimerdinger described the WR corps as "one giant wad" with no favorites to start.  First things first: drop Roydell Williams off any draft lists permanently.  He caught 55 passes for 719 yards last year, but he has a broken ankle and won't be fully healed until 2009, assuming his NFL career even lasts that long.  Justin Gage and Justin McCairens are the starters with Biren Ealy running as the third receiver so far.  I wouldn't hold my breath on any of these guys being useful fantasy assets this year.  Don't draft them, just check in a few weeks into the season to see if anyone is establishing themselves.


I really like the addition of Alge Crumpler.  He had a down year in 2007, but with knee problems and QB's like Joey Harrington throwing the ball, every TE would have a down year.  From 2004-2006 Crumpler averaged over 800 yards and 6 TD's per season.  He probably won't reach those numbers, but he should come close.  He has a good shot to be the Titans leading receiver.


They're not a sexy pick like the Bears and Ravens usually are, but they're very solid.  They force turnovers, and generally keep the score low.  They're a perfect selection of a defense that you can draft in one of the last rounds that will be just as good as any other defense.

They did lose a bit at Left Defensive End as Antwan Odom left in free agency.  His spot will be determined through camp.  The contenders are Bryce Fisher, William Hayes and the corpse  of Jevon Kearse.  The rest of the defense remains intact.


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