by J.R. Lind
This Week In The 'Drome, We're Hoping There's Not A Repeat
In an age when the default position for someone who has failed is to dismiss criticism as "hating" and to stand by a position even if it's demonstrably the wrong one, it was refreshing for Britt to come out after the win against San Diego and admit he wasn't very good (for the second week in a row).
Now, it would be better if, instead of talking about how bad he played, Britt would instead play better, but baby steps are at least steps in the right direction.
Britt wasn't lying, of course, when he suggested the Titans were shutting him out of the offense. The coaches are, indeed, doing that, but in his tweet, Kenny didn't acknowledge the underlying reason for that:
He is playing badly. Very badly, at times. The system doesn't make him hold, the system doesn't make him drop passes, and, while talented, he's not so talented a receiver that he has the leeway to make errors because eventually his contributions will outweigh them.
It seems Britt wants to be better and that he's not going to shrug his shoulders at the criticism, but he has yet to actually be better. So he'll trod the sidelines until he is, until he demonstrates that watching he's better suited on the field as opposed to watching forlornly as the team puts together a thrilling drive without him.
And he might get there, but, for now, he isn't, but at least he's blaming himself and not casting aspersions on his haters.
The Week Behind
Party Like It's 1992: The Titans, such as they are, had never beat the Chargers. Ever.
The Oilers last beat the Chargers in 1992. Nineteen-ninety two.
But that two decade stretch of futility ended with when Justin Hunter — who was one the last team the franchise beat the Chargers — leaped up and grabbed a 34-yard touchdown pass. It was Hunter's first catch as a pro.
Other than the curse-shattering good vibes, the 20-17 win provided a broader sense of hope for the Titans, with the bulk of those good vibes flowing from Jake Locker, like a quarterbacking John Sebastian.
Locker looked precise in the pared-down, quick pass heavy offense the Titans have structured for him. He ran well and at the right times, carving through the Chargers defense who looked flummoxed at times with too many problems to say grace over. Locker spread the passes around which kept the Chargers corners off-balance — when there's no Number One receiver, double-teaming becomes a crap shoot. Nate Washington was his usual steady self and the rest of the receivers pitched in. Delanie Walker made a brilliant push on a Chargers corner who had a certain game-ending pick in his clutches — a reach out of the darkness that saved the day.
UMeh: Vandy marked time through three quarters in Foxboro, Mass., before finally putting away the UMass Minutemen with two fourth-quarter touchdowns and winning 24-7 against a team that, two weeks prior, had lost to Maine.
A win is a win and for a Vandy team that has, but for Week One against what is proving to be a very formidable Ole Miss team, been underwhelming, consuming a cupcake is nearly as good as slaying a giant.
Garbage Time: The Predators looked mighty good in their two preseason home games against the Islanders and Lightning and looked dreadful against the Capitals. It's preseason, of course, a time for teams to lock up their final three or four roster spots, work on things and, generally, not get hurt. That said, the Preds lost key free agent signing Viktor Stalberg to a shoulder injury (he'll be out about a month), which is a far worse development than a 4-1 loss at Washington, when the team started back-up Carter Hutton and played with an underwhelming roster on the second day of a back-to-back. ... MTSU won their first Conference USA game by beating Florida Atlantic (a fellow former Fun Belt team) 42-35. The Raiders take on BYU tonight. ... TSU went to 3-1 by beating in-state foe Tennessee Tech in their OVC opener.
Groundbreaker: From the Rough, the film about TSU's groundbreaking football coach Catana Starks, is getting nationwide release this fall. Ron Wynn wrote about it for the Scene when it was shown at the International Black Film Festival of Nashville back in 2011.
Rockin' Socks: Former Predators Brian McGrattan didn't suffer an Achilles' injury this week and it might be because Swiftwick makes one helluva hockey sock.
The Week Ahead
Please, Not A Repeat: Last season, the Titans and Jets, playing in a pre-Christmas Monday Night game, served up one of the worst examples of professional football in the history of the sport.
[T]he injury-riddled Titans — the key block on CJ's run was made by fourth-string center Kyle DeVan, who has been cut four times by Tennessee this season — and the tragicomic Jets bumbled their way through a game that could be described as "bland" except that "torturous" is a much better adjective.
The Titans came in already out of the playoff hunt, and the Jets needed to win out to have a chance at the post-season — which was probably not what a surely-now-unemployed ESPN programming executive had in mind when he picked this game for their weekly broadcast.
In the great ranking of Worst Games Ever Foisted on the American People, this one ranks somewhere between the Cardinals and Giants 1983 Monday night tie and the Warren Harding administration. Sanchez was so bad his quarterback rating was worse than Tim Tebow's. Tebow didn't complete a pass.
The Jets return to LP Field Sunday (sans Tebow, so there's one prayer answered) and with them, a guarantee that there is almost no way the game will be as awful as the one they played last year. For starters, neither team has been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet, though that has something to do with the fact that this is Week Four.
It will be interesting to see if Locker can build off his exciting game-winning drive against the Chargers and put together two solid games in a row. It would also be nice if the Titans salted this away early enough to keep Nashville's fingernails intact.
Worthless Prediction: Titans 24, Jets 10. Hey, breathing room!
Please, Not A Repeat II: The season-preview column for the Predators will run in next week's Scene, but the Predators will open their 2013-14 campaign with a road game in St. Louis Thursday night (they'll play again Friday night in Colorado before returning to Nashville to take on the Minnesota Wild the following Tuesday).
The Preds are hoping to avoid a sequel to the disastrous lockout-shortened 2013 season in which they were one of the league's lowest-scoring teams, hampered by injuries and generally not good at all. They like the promise shown by rookies Seth Jones and Filip Forsberg in the preseason and hope their offseason additions of Viktor Stalberg and Matt Cullen can add to the scoring, with tough minutes eaten up by newcomers Matt Hendricks and Eric Nystrom.
Worthless Prediction: Who knows? Let's say the Preds win the opener.
Please, Not A Repeat III: Vandy closes the cupcake portion of its schedule with a visit from UAB Saturday. The Blazers are, perhaps, the best team named for a sport jacket playing Division I football, but otherwise should not be much challenge to the Commodores. Then again, Vanderbilt hasn't exactly been a juggernaut, either, and UAB's offense is tougher than either Austin Peay or UMass (then again, so is Ensworth's).
Worthless Prediction: Vanderbilt 31, UAB 20
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