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Your views on Titans' myths

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Our question about myths that have grabbed hold of the Titans, but may no longer be true, elicited thorough response from Titans' fans. We always appreciate such dialogue.

Here's a sampling of what you had to say, with some of my thoughts weaved in.

Charles in Goodlettsville: The Titan's are always picked to backslide, because they don't resign their best players. The reason that this is a myth, has been proven over the last three years. They always spend up to the cap and the players they don't resign for example: 2007 Travis Henry Colby Bockwoldt Bobby Wade Zach Piller Robaire Smith Drew Bennett 2008 Chris Brown Ben Hartsock Ben Troupe Eric Moulds Jacob Bell Travis LaBoy Antwan Odom Randy Starks Most of the players are either out of the league or are below average. Apparently the Titans know what they are doing.

clint_taurus08: biggest Titans myth? that they are cheap or unwilling to pay free agents...
one only has to look no further than our 2 starting OTs to know this isnt' true...the organization rewards players they see as having upside (see also: C. Finnegan) but never over-pay...last time I checked, that was sound business decison-making...
the Drewl Bennet situation is another great example...we placed a certain value on him a coupla years ago and were fine with letting the Rams overpay ridiculously for him...2 years later he's coming back to us with his tail between his legs willing to play for the vet minimum...
I'm probably in the minority, but I love the way the Titans do business and am glad we don't go on yearly spending frenzies like other teams do...

akabatmada: The Titans are cheap; unwilling to spend the money to get impact players in free agency. I hear this every year a week into free agency when the Titans are just getting involved. The Titans didn't get into cap hell the first half of this decade by saving for a rainy day. Even after they spent in excess of $110m extending four players they were still called cheap. The truth of the matter is that, especially under Reindfeldt, they place a value on each player and don't panic if Plan A doesn't pan out.

Paul Kuharsky: I think the idea that the Titans don't re-sign people or are cheap definitely qualifies as one of their biggest myths. I hit on it in this post back in March. They get very little credit for securing guys before the hit free agency, but a lot of flak for letting guys they believe are overvalued walk. And very few players have played better football after leaving -- Jon Runyan may be the biggest exception to that. Keep in mind we aren't counting guys like Derrick Mason and Samari Rolle, who were salary cap casualties they released, not guys who got to unrestricted free agency who were not pursued.

Jon in San Diego: Paul, In response to your Titans mythology. I'd have to say that the biggest complaint for Titans fans is that Jeff Fisher is too conservative. He's all about running the ball, playing stout defense, kicking field goals and winning in the fourth quarter. Everyone knows that defense wins championships, but everyone wants to complain about the Titans not putting up 30+ points per game. I would rather see the Titans score less than 20 points per game and shut down the other team than to have a 45-42 shootout. It's not like the Titans made the playoffs once or twice. They've been 6 of the last 10 years. I'll stick with Jeff's philosophy with maybe a small amount of tweeking, just to open up the offense a little more, but I'll take defense over offense any day of the week!

Unknown from Hendersonville: The biggest long lasting myth about the Titans is that they like to keep it close and win close games at the end in the 4th quarter. This was certainly a pattern we saw for a long time, but to say that they like this method of winning and actually set out to achieve victories in this fashion simply isn't true. The Titans defense over the years has been good enough to keep their opponents scoring down and their offense hasn't been explosive enough to put up 30 plus points on a regular basis and the result has been close games. Last year however, with the improved offense the Titans widened their margin of victory over previous seasons and went 13-3 as a result. I hear national tv announcers describe Jeff Fisher's approach to winning games as by keeping is close and win it at the end and that just sounds ignorant to me. Jeff Fisher and any other couch would much rather build a substantial lead and protect that lead to win the game than leave the fate of the game to a bounce of the ball or a field goal attempt at the end of the game. The problem is whether you have the talent and execution to pull it off. Last year and hopefully this year I think the Titans do. Here's to winning by a touchdown or more 75% of the time this season, and putting this myth to death.

Triveni in Nashville: It drives me crazy when people refer to the Titans as a "conservative" team. I recall numerous onside kicks by Jeff Fisher throughout the years, not to mention one of the most aggressive defenses in the NFL, if not the most blitz-happy. And there were plenty of times last year where the Titans went for it on 4th down, specifically citing the Steelers game, and converted (CJ's touchdown run). The Titans aren't conservative!

jerry of Jonesborough: the biggest and most lasting myth about the titans is about fishers football philosophy. most believe he is a run and play defense coach. but i believe he is a play to the strength of your players coach. while i do agree he is very comfortable with that style, i believe he has been forced to that style because of the qb's he has had to work with.

Paul Kuharsky: Does he want to win them close? No. Is he perfectly happy to? Yes.

Sure the style suits the personnel, but Fisher's long had a hand in the personnel and it usually fits the style too. If he wanted to play a different style, he could bring in the sort of players who would allow him to do so.

Ken in
Smithville, TN:
Myth: That the Titans defense somehow doesn't measure up to the Ravens or Steelers. Myth: That the Titans offense scores little and only manages games by playing like the Dilfer-led Ravens.

Dash in Nashville: The biggest Titans myth for me is that "....could play the nickle for the Titans." GOD I hate that quote! I keep hearing how there's a new CB who could play the nickle role for the Titans every year. This year Mouton got that label after he was drafted. Titans fans KNOW Vincent Fuller has that position locked down, and might just be the best nickle player in the NFL!

Jon K in Franklin, TN: Weakest position is middle linebacker. While the Titans do not put an emphasis on this position in recent years, it has more to do with the players manning the position. Last impact middle linebacker was Godfrey. As disruptive as our d-line is, they should have more of an impact.

Chuck in Smyrna: The biggest myth that comes to my mind is that they within 1 yard of winning the Super Bowl. They were within 1 yard (and an extra point) of tying the Rams, but it would not have put them ahead. It was even stated that way in the Tom Hanks movie "Cast Away" They were within 1 yard (and an extra point) of TYING the game, but it would not have won it. Not huge I know, but it's the one I hear the most.

Paul Kuharsky: That's an excellent one, Chuck, and it's amazing how many people say and write that. It's almost as if people just wanted it to be so, so they've made it so when they talk about Super Bowl XXXIV. If Kevin Dyson broke free of Mike Jones and score, the Titans kick an extra point and we would have had the first Super Bowl overtime. Guys from that team believe the Rams were reeling and Tennessee would have carried momentum into the extra period.

Ross in Brentwood: In response to the Titans' mythology entry... I think the single biggest thing that Titans fans and local/national pundits believe is that the Titans HAVE to have a big-time receiver on the team. I'm gonna contradict myself right now and say I am excited that they have gone out this season and attempted to get playmakers (Washington and Britt) at the position, but since they have moved to Nashville, the predominant thinking has been, "If only we had X receiver on our team...". The Titans made it to the Super Bowl with Kevin Dyson and Isaac Byrd starting. They've made the playoffs with guys like Drew Bennett, Justin McCareins (in his first stint with the team) and Justin Gage playing large roles in those offenses. Derrick Mason has easily been the best receiver the Titans have had over the past decade, and I would argue that even then he wasn't/isn't a "star" receiver, he's just great at getting open and catching the ball, and THAT is what I would say the Titans are lacking. They don't need a Terrell Owens type, they need someone who is fundamentally and mentally sound who just knows how to make plays. I don't care if he's a speed demon or a "possession" guy, Mason was the latter and still just always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. The offense is not predicated on the success of the passing game, it is based on the run game. Maybe the tide is turning this year in their offensive philosophy (which, once again, is fine by me), but based on past history and success, there is no NEED for a big-time receiver, they have proven time and again that their offense can work with a strong running game and average-to-above-average receivers (and a good tight end for good measure).

Gallipolis from Ohio: Here is a myth for the Titans: If the Titans expect to get better, they need to improve their passing game -- they will never be considered a top team until they can pass the ball better. That is a myth! Over the past ten years, the Titans have been a top team and passing yards have had nothing to do with it. Over this ten year stretch, the years they posted an 8-8 or better record they averaged just over 3200 yards passing. But, the years their record was under .500, they averaged over 3700 yards passing. Therefore, I say it is a MYTH that the Titans biggest need is to improve their passing game. Just because their passing the ball is not their forte or because it is not their focus (see Jeff Fisher - I love him), does not mean it must be improved to improve the team. I feel that speaks of changing the team philosophy of run the ball - play defense, and they should not do that. As far as being an elite team....well we do not play in NY, we are not the Cowboys (thank all that is Holy) and we do not have a quarterback with the initials BF (* see Cowboy note), so I guess the powers that be will never consider us ELITE. But, I don't mind. They are elite in my book just the way they are. Peace!

Paul Kuharsky: A better passing game would help the Titans. They'd be more balanced, they'd have better alternatives on days when the run game or the defense or both aren't working they way they like. But it's not a necessity. They just won 13 games with a limited passing game. I think a team like last year's could win a Super Bowl with the sort of quarterback and receivers they had.

rick, st Louis: Paul Perhaps the most prevailing long term 'myth' regarding the Titans/Oilers franchise is the status of being choke artists. They normally put together a superior product on the field during the regular season only to collapse in the playoffs. This team will break your heart. However just as in real life, the heartbreak never diminishes the attraction. In the short term; I would say that the 'myth' surrounding us is that we are a tough nosed yet vanilla team. What you see is what you get. We play smashmouth football; which is great and wins games. However we are rarely dynamic on offense and it seems Coach Fish is reluctant to change that. He seems to prefer grind it out clock management which usually leads to close games. It was said a few years ago that the Titans play to the level of their opponents and I tend to agree. I rarely see any creativity on offense or occasional gadgetry. Case in point; if any team was equipped for the wildcat from a personnel standpoint it was us. However we never saw it. When CJ went down in the playoffs and we were in dire need of a play; could we not put in 10 and let him run? Knowing VY's competitive nature and desire to be out front; the chance of a big play in the playoffs surely outweigh ego and coach discipline. I am not second guessing Coach Fish, just stating that we play old school football to a stubborn fault. I will say this in closing; this years draft has got me very excited for the second time in recent memory. The first was the 2006 draft for obvious reasons. The weapons we drafted this year give reason for optimism of a dynamic quick strike offense in the near future. I am especially enamored with Cook and the effect his injection into the offense will have. I am almost tempted to hope the Titans make him LOSE weight and work him as a pure WR but I realize the potential mismatches down the seam might be too tantalizing to pass up. I would just hate to see him bulk up and lose speed. Anyway sorry for my ranting and I apologize for any grammar errors as I am writing this from my Blackberry. Kind regards.

Chris from Idaho: Biggest myth that drives me nuts is that Jeff Fisher is a
bad playoff coach. I wanted to get violent with all the people that where talking about Fisher can win the playoffs after the Ravens loss this year. Which makes sense because Fisher threw a pic,fumbled twice,missed a FG and hit CJ in the ankle with a bat. It is all his fault. That is the myth that drives me crazy.

Brandon in Nashville, TN: Titans mythological misconception: Jeff Fisher by record is a mediocore coach. Statistically, the coach's record floats around .500. Some interpret this as being mediocore. However, when analyzing anything statistically, there comes a point in time where an average will find it's "home" and flatten out... like the stock market for example. There are ups and downs which create an average and after a significant amount of time you should expect to see an average fall within a medium range. Fisher has not won a Super Bowl, but his longevity and ability to survive while sucessfully managing his team speaks a grerat deal about his ability as a coach. He's always in control of any given situation and maintains a great staff. People tend to forget the Houston to Tennessee move... and then there's Pacman and VY. He's endured a lot and has dedicated his life to the franchise. I believe Bud Adams recognizes his ability and dedication and therefore has rewarded him with longevity. While his record may interpret as mediocore, one must take a more objective look. He's always in the running and, if he keeps at it, is bound to win the big one.

Paul Kuharsky: If your team cycles through the good and the bad over a long period, a record near .500 is OK. I think, though, you need to have more success in the playoffs than they have. And after last season's postseason loss to Baltimore, I decided it's fair to call them an underachieving playoff team. In their two best chances, when they went into the playoffs as the AFC's top seed, they were one and done.

Darren in TN: Biggest myth surrounding the Titans: Clearly the biggest myth is that the Titans still believe Vince Young is the long term starter for them. Internally I'm sure they have their doubts about the QB situation when Kerry Collins is done. I don't fully believe in Vince Young and I don't believe anything the Titans say about him staying past 2011. I think in his contract year of 2011 he'll play, he'll stink, and he'll get the boot. You can't convince me Vince Young will be successful anymore. I've had his back the past two seasons but I saw enough from him in the preseason and 3/4 of a regular season game to know he was going to be awful last season. It's definately a big unanswered myth that the Titans believe he can be their long term QB.

Paul Kuharsky: They have to spin to retain any chance at him turning the corner. But like you I don't believe that they really believe he's their guy for the long-term.

Christopher, Gallatin, TN: There are so many! How about, "The Titans need a fullback. Ever since Lorenzo Neal left, they haven't run the ball as effectively." Of course, Eddie ran for about the same yardage with Neal as without. Or the most persistent one, "Jeff Fisher wants to win games 13-10 and doesn't want to throw the ball downfield." This one is the most preposterous. Any coach who actually WANTS to decide games by field goals late in the 4th quarter is a moron who should be summarily dismissed. As far as not wanting to throw the ball downfield, the Titans have ALWAYS attempted to throw downfield, they just haven't often had the personnel to do so with great effect. Also, I think just the other day on your radio show, some knob said the Titans FINALLY drafted offense in the first round, which they never do. It was you who reminded him (in the background, overwhelmed by one of Howard's many interruptions) that they just drafted Johnson last year. At least I think it was you.

Paul Kuharsky: The fullback one is a good one. Neal was a great player for the Titans and a very likeable guy. But the Titans have run as well when they had no fullback as when they had Neal or now, Ahmard Hall, and underrated lead blocker.

Rob Richland, WA: My biggest issue is with everyone calling Collins a game manager. He played within the offense last year, did what he was asked to do, and actually exceeded that when he was called upon. Home against Indy, at Chicago, and at Jacksonville he was called on to make all the throws and he did. Not to mention his strong performance against Baltimore. Even Titans fans don't think that he's a capable drop back passer, and when he did struggle last year i'd like to point out that Justin Mccariens was our number 2.

Kamels: To echo another post this idea that the Titans are not an elite team. If one looks at it the Titans beat Baltimore on the road last season, beat Minnesota, and laid a couple of whoopins' on the Colts and Steelers. Its odd to me that a team like the Jets can be crowned "Super Bowl Champions" after beating the Titans, but the Titans lay the smack down on a media darling and all of a sudden we are buried by all the excuses for why it shouldn't matter. Whether it be Steve Young lamenting the health of Peyton Manning or Bill Cowher moaning about a black and gold hanky.

marinejld: 1. That the Titans don't score points...10 of their games last year they scored 20+ points and 5 of those were 30+.

2. Losing Haynseworth will cause the team to spiral into the cellar of the AFC South. While Haynesworth was a great DT he wasn't the whole defense.