Still stunned, Titans start to look ahead

Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 11:19pm
Keith Bulluck and the Titans are wondering where to go from here. Mike Strasinger for The City Paper

In every corner of the Tennessee Titans’ locker room after Saturday’s 13-10 divisional playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the sentiment was the same.

Talk of an opportunity lost, having blown the No. 1 seed in the AFC Playoffs, thanks to three turnovers, and of how next season there were no guarantees of having the same chance again.

“It’s frustrating because you played winning football and you beat yourself, and they didn’t beat you,” safety Chris Hope said. “All the dreams you had at the beginning of the year just go down the drain. You don’t have the same team next year, and nothing is guaranteed.”

Not even for the Titans’ roster to be the same. Several key free agents’ future with the Titans hang in the balance, most notably, defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, quarterback Kerry Collins, kicker Rob Bironas and tight end Bo Scaife.

“There’s always next year, but it’s going to be a long road and now you’ve got to start from scratch,” cornerback Nick Harper said. “It’s hard to get to this position. Other teams are going to make some changes, and we’re going to make some changes. It’s going to be a long hard journey to get back.”

Harper was vocal in saying that some things have to change to prevent a relapse like the one Saturday night from happening again.

“There’s things that need to happen with this team in order for us to get in that situation [winning it all],” Harper said. “It all starts at practice. You have to practice like you’re going to play in the game. You definitely have to practice like game situations, and until that happens, this might continue to happen.”

Who Harper’s message was directed to wasn’t clear, but the results have become recurrent for the Titans. Since their Super Bowl run in the 1999 playoffs, Tennessee is just 2-5 in postseason games, and has blown a pair of No. 1 seeds in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher acknowledged the similarity of Saturday’s loss to the one in 2000 against the Ravens.

“You think I feel good right now?” Fisher said. “This is a difficult loss for this team, the fans, and there was a great deal of hope and excitement. There’s nothing I can tell them in that room that can make them feel better right now. This thing is going to linger and last, and we’ll overcome it. We met some of our goals, and obviously we fell short here this afternoon. As far as comparing it to 2000, yeah, same teams, probably the same situation but different players.”

When they took the field, the Titans had hope to exorcise those demons of playoff losses past, especially the one to the Ravens eight years before. Instead, they only added to the frustration.

Jevon Kearse, who was part of both losses, put it into perspective with an honest assessment of the sitaution.

“[Friday] in the team meeting, we talked about a chance to make a team legacy today, but we let it get away,” Kearse said.

Perhaps a legacy was made, just not the legacy the Titans would have preferred.

Schwartz interview: Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will interview for a second time with the Detroit Lions on Monday, according to sources.

Schwartz had an interview with the Lions during the bye week before Tennessee’s divisional playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens, and apparently has a decent chance of securing the job with the Lions, who are coming off the NFL’s first 0-16 season.

Schwartz has been with the Titans since 1999 and has been Tennessee’s defensive coordinator since 2001.

His defense this season was ranked second in the league in points allowed.

Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is also in contention for the Lions’ job.

The Lions could also interview New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, whose team was also eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday as well.

If Schwartz gets the job in Detroit, the Titans would likely look at one of three candidates, including a pair of in-house choices as a potential replacement. Those include linebackers coach Dave McGinnis, secondary coach Chuck Cecil and former Titans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

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By: nashbeck on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Please resign Kerry Collins, Albert, Bo, Bironas, and Brandon Jones. Draft well in 09 Reinfeldt.Go TITANS!!!!!!

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Thank you Tennessee Titans for a great season!

By: Cowboy84 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Brandon Jones? How about the only WR who showed on up Sat; Justin Gage.

By: frankbrown on 12/31/69 at 6:00

This was a great season for a franchise that in 48 years produced only "The Music City Miracle." Anything this franchise does above 8 and 8 should be rewarding for not only the players but the fans.

By: blktenn on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Kerry Collins Did a Great Job this year. I think the titan should bring him back. Also the should save the flim from the last game and should it to RB's and end's to remind them to put the ball way, if you want to win.

By: Alphadog7 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

The difference between reloading and rebuilding is determined by whether or not the Titans keep Kerry Collins.

By: ycartrob on 12/31/69 at 6:00

It's a game. I know the players are disappointed, but with the way our economy is I'd take the financial security that comes with making 500k (to millions)a year and I'd be able to get over losing a game fairly easily.

By: TRHJR on 12/31/69 at 6:00

once again ol Swartiz (spell) played this game too VANILLA ! no presure on the Ravins Q B

By: EquinsuOcha on 12/31/69 at 6:00

frankbrown?...do you have 8 and 8 tattooed on you? because no matter the subject that's all you say......everybody gets it by now...you dont like this team.

By: OneTimer on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Face it. Without Chris Johnson on the field, this team reverts back to years past when they were boring, predictable and conservative. Johnson is the difference. LenDale is not the answer.

By: jwk6179 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

All season, the Titans and their fans have been complaining about not getting ANY RESPECT from the NFL, the Media (ESPN, CBS, NBC, FOX, NFL Network, ect.) and other cities. You get RESPECT the old fashioned way, YOU EARN IT! Having home field advantage through the play-offs, the best record in the NFL and then LAYING AN EGG in their first play-off game, they don't DESERVE RESPECT FROM ANYONE!!! It will be a long time before ANYONE takes the Titans serious as an NFL TEAM.

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Imagine this team san Haynesworth, Bironas, Scaife, Collins. We go from #1 seed, to 6-10.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

jw, you are an idiot. Go support your team, whoever that may be, and don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

By: courier37027 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Is this the same Keith Bulluck who was stomping a Terrible Towel on television only a few weeks ago? Where's the energy Keith? Titans need more focus on the field and game, fewer hours meeting the fans, and quit listening to their starstruck followers who think they are players' best friends.

By: courier37027 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Is this the same Keith Bulluck who was stomping a Terrible Towel on television only a few weeks ago? Where's the energy Keith? Titans need more focus on the field and game, fewer hours meeting the fans, and quit listening to their starstruck followers who think they are players' best friends.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

OneTimer, when Chris went out, I knew we would be in trouble. But, I am already looking forward to next season for our home town Tennessee Titans!!!

By: jwk6179 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

jw, you are an idiot. Go support your team, whoever that may be, and don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.At least, when my team loses, I take it like a man, unlike you and most Titan fans. I bet your grandkids handle the lose in a more mature way than you did, you big candy@$$ crybaby!

By: nashbeck on 12/31/69 at 6:00

jwk- how is titan1 crying? He's saying he's looking forward to next season?!!!Cowboy- Good news for you, we resigned Justin Gage last offseason to a 4 year deal.Onetimer- The Ravens had the 2nd best defense in the league, and we still tore them apart without Chris Johnson, we just couldn't hang on to the ball nor make our field goals. Time heals all wounds. The Titans will eventually forget this game. If we can resign the players we need to resign and have another good draft, the Titans can have another chance, and the true fans + the bandwagon fans will all rejoice again.GO TITANS!!!!!!

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Congrats to the Ravens, they made the least mistakes.Note: Terrible towels will be seen next week, the Titans will not.Great observation jwk.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

nashbeck, that is what jw and his alter egos do best, make things up.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

"jw, you are an idiot. Go support your team, whoever that may be, and don't let the door hit your ass on the way out."Sour grapes? You betcha!Go Ravens!!! Beat the Steelers!!!! Win the Super Bowl!!!!

By: Cowboy84 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I think it's good news for whoever is playing QB also. Did anyone who was at the game see VY? They didn't show him on tv and from what I have read other places he seems like he's not too interested in learning how to be a better QB.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I thought the same thing about a month back Cowboy, but someone pointed out that Vince has been shown on the sidelines cheering and huddled with coaches. I didn't see it though.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

He is an idiot because of his lies, but then again, you are just as bad as he, hmmmm, wonder why? Sour grapes, you heard no whining out of me, then again you do like to make things up.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

He made an observation about respect Titan. I'm not surprised that you didn't catch it. You are one ignorant SOB.

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

gd, if you could pull your head out of the sand you would see where he said I was a bad loser, and no where have I even indicated that in the least. You and he, or one and the same troll here because you are fish out of water and it eats your ass up because of the great support for the Titans. You look like a fool for doing it. But hey, if that is how you want to be perceived, then carry on, because you are doing a fine job. GO TITANS!!!!

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Yawn...when you have something to say wake me up. GO RAVENS!!!!

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I have already said it, and you nor your cohart, alter ego, or whatever, are worth me repeating. Note to myself, in the future, ignore someone who is three bricks shy of a full load. You and your alter egos enjoy each other.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

GO RAVENS!!!!!!

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Cowboy, here is Peter King's take on VY before, and during the game.http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/peter_king/01/11/divisionals/4.htmlI personally didn't see VY interact much with anyone on the sidelines during the game.

By: Cowboy84 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Yeah I read that gd, he didn't sound too impressed with VY or his attitude, and he's not the first one. Haven't heard much about it from the local sock puppets but that's no surprise, some of them still think Floyd Reese was a decent GM. We're not going to know if any of this matters until he starts again. He may be the guy he was his first two years or he might be the guy we saw in Sept, we'll see. I do think there is a decent chance that the Titans let Collins go if he wants too much money and go with VY and Simms next season. It's also possible that both Simms and Collins leave, then who do you get?

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Maybe they'll draft one, who knows. I think Collins will be back, and they'll let him and VY fight it out in camp. Personally, I don't see VY as the future of this franchise.

By: airvols on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Gdiafante, you know down deep you should have lost that game, every Raven fan I talked to said that to me. Of course, some Raven fans have more class than others.

By: Cowboy84 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I go back and forth, he's shown he can win and has shown he can be a head case.

By: BigPapa on 12/31/69 at 6:00

VY is a loser, sooner he's gone the better.I wished he'd just retire and make it easy on everyone. I can't imagine any NFL team would be willing to trade for such damaged goods. That game was certainly painful, and I now I'm left looking at two of my least favorite teams in the AFC. I think I'll end up pulling for the Ravens over Pitts because Flacco is a great story, also D Mason is a great player. He certainly showed that to us Sat.

By: TruTitan24 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I love the Titans and I wish they would have won, but they choked this game away and did not deserve to win. Lendale and Alge choked it with the fumbles. Bironas choked it with the missed FG. Perhaps worst of all Fisher choked it with not having taken the wind in the 4th. How could he repeat that mistake? The secondary choked it on the deep balls. The D line choked it with the killer offside penalties from Jevon and KGB. Kerry choked it with the interception and taking that awful sack. He further choked it going up top into double coverage repeatedly over simply moving the chains. Give the Ravens their props because they did to us what we did to them during the regular season and one up'd us because they did it when it mattered most, in the playoffs, again. You VY detractors ought to be very careful about the karma you visit upon this team. The team is going to make whatever personnel decisions they are going to make regardless of what you or I type. Lets hope whatever it is, it works. Anybody thinking some mediocre old guy staying, starting and treading water is the best case scenario is selling yourself short. I hope he stays, but the best case scenario is the franchise QB under contract working it out and being what he has the potential to be. If not, the veteran is the fallback. Shoot for the stars. Not the moon.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

"Gdiafante, you know down deep you should have lost that game, every Raven fan I talked to said that to me."Do I? Not really. The Ravens didn't turn the ball over and they made plays when they had to. If every Raven fan said that to you it's because they felt sorry for you and the Titans, not because it was true.Papa, I agree about Flacco and Mason. But I think they'll run out of steam in Pittsburgh.