Posted by Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson
In light of the New England Patriots' 59-0 destruction of the Tennessee Titans in Week 6, not one of coach Jeff Fisher's players should escape consideration for this dubious distinction. Every Titan is to blame for this team's 0-6 start.
But as part of the ESPN.com blog network's look at underachieving players thus far, I'm going to focus on one guy who simply isn't getting it done. That guy is defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who prior to this season has a formidable track record for success.
When defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth bolted for the Washington Redskins, perhaps no Titans player was more affected than Vanden Bosch. Haynesworth used to line up next to and took a ton of blocking attention away from Vanden Bosch. Haynesworth's presence often allowed him to do battle with opposing left tackles in one-on-one matchups, which he often exploited.
But, those aren't the only reasons for Vanden Bosch's underachieving play in 2009. As with almost every Titans player, the production just isn't there this season.
Vanden Bosch remains an every down player whose run defense has been solid and he has gotten some pressures, but he's yet to record a sack. That total is unacceptable, especially considering how many snaps he has been on the field. Opponents love to throw against the Titans awful pass defense.
Vanden Bosch still is playing very hard and his famous motor still is running hot, but the production is not matching the effort.
At 30 years old, this nine year veteran's physical skills could be diminishing. He was terrific in 2007, but his production began to slip last season. Then, the slippage was thought to be due to injuries.
He was never the strongest, fastest or most athletic edge rusher in the league, so Vanden Bosch could not afford to lose a step. Technique and hustle only goes so far. But Big Al is gone and the remaining players needed to step up to fill the void.
Vanden Bosch has not stepped up, but he also is not alone in that distinction.