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Dan TM is Stupendous Man
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 It's Friday, which means it's time for Josh and Dan's Friday Debate!

This week, we disagreed on several games, and decided that Tennessee-Tampa Bay would make the best debate.  Dan thought Tampa Bay would win, Josh favored Vince Young, I mean Tennessee. 

Let the debating commence!

 Josh:

We're talking Titans-Bucs...a storied rivalry, recreating ghosts and legends of the past...

Wait, scratch that, we're talking about 2 teams that once had powder blue and "don't shoot me" orange as their main colors...yeah, sorry, this really isn't a great rivalry...but it should be a great game.

As stated in my picks, the Titans will be standing on the field victorious.  Why you ask?  Simple, I have 2 letters for you...

V

Y

If one took the time to read my whole blog from beginning to end...and I'm not suggesting anyone does this as it might take several weeks to complete, as I tend to be wordy...they would find that there is a certain love affair with Mr. Young through all the posts.  And win good reason...

He wins football games.

It's the one constant he brings to the table...

Does he have perfect mechanics?  No.

Did he score high on the wonderlic? No.

Will he ever be a passer like Brady or Manning? No.

But he wins football games.

The Titans weren't supposed to do anything last year, but then VY took the reigns, and they just missed the playoffs...managing to knock off the Colts along the way.

And the Titans weren't supposed to do anything this year, and looky looky, here is VY again, leading his team to victory.  And the Titans run an offense that is perfectly tailored to his strengths.  They aren't trying to make him something he's not (Falcons with Vick), they are embracing his strengths, and allowing him to be the leader of the team.  And he is in every sense of the word.  Watch him with his teammates...they listen to his every word, and will run (the key word being run) through a brick wall for him.  That is a rare thing...don't underestimate it ever.

Don't know if anything more needs to be said...just VY.

Dan:

Of all the players in sports all over the world who are alternatively known by their initials, I think VY is least effective.  It just doesn't roll off the tongue smoothly.  It looks cool - fairly uncommon letters, both symmetrical, but I'm not sure I've ever heard someone say "VY" verbally.  LT, LJ, MJ, all good.  VY?  See, the problem is, I hear words aloud in my head when I read and write.  So I can't just see VY as a symbol for the Titans' QB.  I hear vee-wye in my head, and it doesn't sound right. 

Yeah, you can throw that "Vince Young wins football games" at me all day long, but the fact of the matter is, he has also lost football games.  It doesn't happen as often, but it does happen.  And why doesn't anyone say "Jeff Garcia wins football games"?  He, like Young, plays quite well in pressure situations, thus far boasting a 105.2 passer rating in the 4th quarter and a 110.1 rating with less than 2 minutes in a half in 2007.  Young's numbers are 90.9 and 78.2.

Young's record over the past two years, in games in which he's thrown 20 or more passes, is 8-7.  Garcia's in the same time span? 6-3.  Yes, Young has won several with fewer passes thrown, but if your quarterback isn't even throwing 20 times, how can you say HE won the game? 

Both teams have lost to Indianapolis, beaten up on New Orleans and another awful team, and won one against a division rival.  Both teams are outplaying expectations, recognizing that their coach's job has been on thin ice.  Both offenses are outmatched by the opposing defense.  Both starting running backs have had one good game, inflating their numbers artificially.  So this will be a close one, a defensive battle to the end.

I expect to see Cato June light it up this game.  He's played the Titans many times before, and will be the X-factor that pushes the Bucs to victory.

So there you go, JH.

-DB

Josh:

Well, DB, you make a good point about VY...but you missed something...don't pronounce the letters, just sound out the word...but still, yes it's lame.  It only works in print...and since that's where I'm using it...I'll keep using it.  (On the flip side, DB works great...although due to my line of work, I immediately picture you as a database...not a very becoming thing.)

Mr. Young doesn't do as well in games where he throws more than 20 passes because that's not his game.  To paraphrase the great Magic Johnson, "Vince Young is going to do what Vince Young is going to do."  And what he's going to do is manage a fantastic power running attack.  When the goal is to run the ball and then run it some more...you don't want your QB throwing...and you definitely don't want your QB needing to throw.  But with the offense the Titans have built, that shouldn't be an issue.

You mention the inflated numbers of the running backs...but you forget that that Titans don't run just one back at you.  And seeing how their best runner lines up under center...you never know how is carrying the ball.  This isn't an offense that is going to trick you...they are going to line up and run.  And they'll run right at you...and dare you to stop them.  The problem is that this is exactly the type of offense that can give a Cover 2 team fits...those smaller LBs and Lineman can get pushed aside too easily.

As for "how can you say HE won the game"...all anyone needs to do is watch Vince (yep, on a first name basis with the guy now) and you'll understand what this means.  The guy was a born leader, one that has the utmost respect of his teammates.

Let me cut you off before you bring up Tampa's history against Vick...cause if you remember they were very good at shutting him down.  There are 3 things that separate these 2 players...

Leadership - Vince has it, Vick never did.

An offense tailored for him - They kept trying to make Vick what he wasn't.

An understanding that the team comes first - Vince's stats won't always look great, that's cause only 1 stat matters, W.

Vick was always looking for the home run, and that's what got him into trouble against this D...Vince is looking to move the chains...and that's what you need to do against a cover 2...take what they give you, and wait for your chance to gash them.  Vince will be ready.

And while I become a charter member of the Vince Young Fan Club...let's not forget that the Titans are playing so great D themselves.  That will be huge in this game...and without the benefit of a running game, Garcia is going to have a hard time finding his receivers.

JH out, come in DB...come in DB....shepherd to lost sheep....

Dan:

Tampa Bay's defense is nothing to scoff at either.  Sure, they gave up a big game to Kenton Keith last week, but most of that came on Indy's last two drives after Peyton had buried them through the air.  Before that, his 7-yard TD run was his longest; other than that it was a lot of 1-4 yard gains.  Tennessee doesn't have the playmakers to put Tampa Bay away early, so they can't hope to do the same. 

And Tennessee's run defense is quite fearsome, led by Albert "Stomp" Haynesworth, but Tampa Bay isn't expecting to win this one on the ground.  The game will be in Garcia's hands, and he won't let them down. 

In a close matchup like this, it's going to come down to the turnover battle.  The Bucs' current turnover differential is +4, tied for fourth-best in the league.  The Titans' is -1.  Garcia hasn't yet thrown an interception.  Vince Young has thrown five. 

I don't care how good of a leader a QB is - VY's (and if it's pronounced as a word, not two letters, then it should be "Vy's") game has serious flaws, and soon someone's going to figure out how to shut him down.  And someone like Monte Kiffin is just the guy to do it.

Next!

Josh:

Another thing about Vince Young, his tears cure cancer.  He can turn off the lights and be under the covers before it gets dark.  And he can crochet a mean sweater.  That all being said, I'll stop talking about this guy...cause this game has more going on than just Vince Young...and I'll also seek help for my unusual obsession with the guy.

Yes, the Tampa Defense is a good unit, bringing back memories of the Defenses of years past...but it is ranked 22nd against the run this year...and they'll be facing the number 2 rushing team in the league...

But let me turn to another figure in Tennessee...Mr. Jeff Fisher....did you know he's 13-1 against the NFC South?  13-1.  That has a nice ring to it, don't you think?  Did you also know that the Titans have won 11 straight against the NFC South?  Yeah, they've been on a roll.  Now, yes, I know, streaks and trends are just that...but that's a heck of a number.

As a young boy, growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, there was one show that was a can't miss show for me...the Dukes of Hazzard.  Bo, Luke, Daisy (my first boyhood crush) and the General Lee...between that, and Blues Brothers, my childhood was forever shaped.  In every episode of Dukes, you knew it was going to come down to the General Lee out running the bad guy, or jumping over a stack of hay, crates, bushes, palets, people, cows...basically anything that could hide the real ramp.  You knew it, and yet, you still watched, and cheered when it happened...okay, I did...but I'm taking liberties with the universal appeal of the General Lee.

Even the bad guys knew it was coming...and yet, every week there was the General Lee, along with Bo and Luke...winning the day.

Everyone knows the Titans are going to run the ball...but at the end of the day, the General Lee will still jump that river and win the day...and the Titans will still run through the middle of that 22nd ranked rush defense to victory.

Over to you lost sheep...

Dan:

If I'd ever watched Dukes of Hazzard, I wouldn't have had to do research to figure out what all this "lost sheep" stuff is about.  I had a sheltered childhood - Mr. Rogers was the edgiest thing I was allowed to watch.

Imagine I'm saying this in my best Yoda voice (which is pretty good, btw):

Look beyond simple rankings you must.  Extenuating circumstances there can be.

Yes, Tampa Bay's defense is ranked #22 against the run.  One reason is Kenton Keith's huge game from last week, which I made excuses for in my previous argument.  That skewed the numbers.  Another is the fact that teams are running the ball 30 times per game against them.  Their YPC is ranked #15.  Furthermore, they've done well against rushing attacks similar to the Titans'.  The Deuce McAllister-Reggie Bush platoon combined for 76 yards, and the DeShaun Foster-DeAngelo Williams supposed platoon managed 69, only five of which came from Williams. 

And the Titans' rushing game is ranked #4, not #2.  And in YPC, they're #13.  Sounds like a much better matchup all of a sudden, doesn't it?  And the averages have gone steadily down since Chris Brown's 175-yard explosion in week 1.  Against Indianapolis, a cover 2 team like Tampa Bay, they only managed 4.1 YPC, and, by the way, didn't win. 

As for Jeff Fisher's record against the NFC South, the last time he played the South was 2003, when those teams were quarterbacked by Aaron Brooks, Brad Johnson, Michael Vick, and Jake Delhomme, and his own QB, Steve McNair, was on his way to a co-MVP award with Peyton Manning, whose Colts tied the Titans atop the AFC South. 

I'll assume your 13-1 record "against the NFC South" means against teams currently in the NFC South, since the division didn't exist before that.  So the previous time Fisher played Atlanta and New Orleans was 1999, when those teams finished a combined 8-24, and the Titans, in their first season with the new name, went on to the Super Bowl after a 13-3 regular season record.  The previous time he played Tampa Bay was 2001, and the previous time he played Carolina was 1996, which was that 1 loss. 

Point being, this is ancient history, the players are entirely different now, and this was all back when Fisher had a dynamite team led by McNair and Eddie George in their prime. 

Back to you, lost marbles.

Josh:

Here's the problem Dan...you're making too much sense...all this research and facts is making my head hurt...and I don't like it when my head hurts...

Deuce-Reggie and Foster-Williams aren't anything like Brown-White...the reason?  Those guys haven't had any success against ANY team this year.  Neither the Panthers or the Saints can run on anyone this year, so that's not a valid comparison.  And you know why?  Offensive line play.  The Titans line is rock solid, and very underrated, the Saints and Panthers have some serious issues with their lines.

And Indy and Tampa comparisons?  Wow...yes, same scheme...but vastly different personnel...plus the fact that Indy actually has a potent offense...no one would mistake the Bucs for having a potent offense.

As for Mr. Fisher's record against the South...let me just state for the record, again, that trends or streaks that I bring up, are rock solid facts, and are not open for interpretation or debate. 

Can I just pause from this debate and mention that I love the fact that Eddie George has been mentioned here...it's a great day when you can throw his name out there.

Okay, what was I saying?  Oh right, Titans, beating the Bucs....

Let's take a peek at something here....the Titans have the 3rd best rushing D in the league...and the Bucs are playing Ernest Graham and some practice squad players are RB this week....it's safe to assume they aren't running on the Titans.

That will make the offense completely one-dimensional...never a good thing against a good defense.  If the Bucs had any playmakers at WR this might be different...but they don't, Joey Galloway and Ike Hillard do not strike fear in the heart of any defense.  Without the threat of a running game, the Titans can sit on the pass...which means...look for Garcia's first pick or 2 this week.  Now don't get me wrong, Garcia is a solid veteran QB, one that I would love to see playing for a certain Chicago team...but he's not someone that can carry the offense with no running game, and no WR talent...wait...maybe he isn't the right fit for the Bears...crap.

Let's take a quick peek at common opponents...both teams beat up on the Saints, with the score in those games being identical (31-14)...and both teams have played the Colts...the Titans played the Colts tougher than anyone else this season, losing 22-20....while the Bucs got killed 33-14...not a good sign...

In the end, this is going to be a low-scoring game...without a lot of glitz and glamour...just good D and a lot of clawing for yards and points.

Come Monday morning, we'll be staring at a 17-10 win by the Titans.

Over to you Yoda....(And I'm deeply hurt you didn't know my lame Dukes references...I almost cried....)

Dan:

The difference between the Titans-Colts game and the Bucs-Colts game is that the Titans' defense is built to stop the Colts--it's the only way to survive in the AFC South.  Same story with the Texans.  The Titans play the Colts eight times as often as the Bucs do, so they have a natural advantage.  Plus, Tony Dungy used to coach Monte Kiffin's defense, so he has an advantage there. 

You say "Joey Galloway and Ike Hillard do not strike fear in the heart of any defense," which may be true, but they like it that way.  They thrive on being underestimated.  Both are on pace to approach 1000 yards this season, and each has multiple receptions over 40 yards.  Between Garcia's arm, and the speed that Galloway and Hilliard still have, the Bucs have some solid big-play ability.  Besides, who does Tennessee have?  Brandon Jones, Eric Moulds, and Roydell Williams?  Please.

Every time an offense has scored a touchdown against the Titans, it's been on a drive sustained through the air.  That's exactly what the Bucs will be looking to do, and they have the personnel to do it well.  And they can't just sit on the pass and dare the Bucs to run it.  Last time someone underestimated Earnest Graham, he went for 75 yards on just 8 carries.

I think the Titans' stats will look better.  They'll win the battle of first downs, yardage, third-down conversions, and maybe even penalties (though they've committed more infractions in four games than the Bucs have in five).  But they're going to have trouble putting the ball in the end zone, and all the Bucs have to do is win the turnover battle and get a couple of huge plays, and the win is theirs.

Get well soon,

Dan

Josh

Man, after this beating you're giving me...I might be sick for awhile...

I feel like it's the first day of school, and I've shown up naked, with no books, and a bad case of acne...

Your superior research methods have made me look foolish...and so I lay down my sword for the day.

That being said.... I'll be smiling so big when the Titans blow the Bucs out of the water...

Dan:

You know what they say - "He who is right needs no research."  Has anyone said that?  If not, I'm claiming it.

 

And that's the debate.  Wish you could vote on this throwdown-style?  Join the group and respond to the poll!

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