At a tailgate last Sunday morning, someone asked, “What’s wrong with Bo Scaife?”
I answered, “He’s been hanging around Ben Troupe too long. Troupe is starting to rub off on him.”
Everyone laughed, probably because it was more sadly true than funny.
Troupe and the other tight ends and receivers did not have a good day, nor did anyone expect them to.
Just about everyone knew what the game plans for each team would be going into the Titans-Raiders game. Both teams wanted to run the ball and needed to stop the other from running. The final stats show the Titans more than doubled up the Raiders in rushing yardage. If only they had an aerial attack to complement it, they could have won easily.
Justin Gage was the leading receiver with 19 yards on two catches.
Vince Young’s stat line is one I’m sure he’d like to forget: 6 of 14 for a whopping 42 yards, 0 TDs or INTs, for a 50.3 passer rating. In Vince’s defense, throwing the ball all over the field was not part of the game plan, especially considering his quad injury.
More telling was the lack of support from Vince’s receivers. Ben Troupe, Roydell Williams and RB Quinton Ganther all dropped TD passes. Roydell’s dropped ball was in a bad spot — right between the 8 and the 6 on his jersey. It came right after another bad pass by Young, the one that hit Ganther right in the hands. The consecutive drops resulted in another red zone field goal rather than a touchdown.
Tom mentioned in his comments following his post Sunday night that Young’s pass to Troupe may have been overthrown. I thought so too, but only because Troupe appeared to slow down and loaf, resulting in a ball he had to jump for. He still had his hands on it, so it was a catchable ball.
Vince Lombardi supposedly told one of his receivers who dropped a pass, “You’re a NFL receiver, right? Then it’s your job to catch the ball, mister.”
If Troupe and either Ganther or Williams catches those passes, then Vince’s line looks a little better: 8 for 13 or 14, 64 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs. His rating would then have been 113.4 with a Ganther reception or 108.3 with the Ganther drop and a Williams catch.
Still, 64 receiving yards (48 net passing yards) is not going to win a lot of ballgames in this league. Receivers coach Fred Graves might want to consider throwing more bricks at his guys. If that doesn’t work, he ought to ask the equipment manager to adjust the JUGGS machine so it can throw bricks at them.
Line play: I agree with Tom about both lines. The Raiders had eight in the box nearly the entire game and continually crowded the line of scrimmage, yet the o-line paved the way for 192 rushing yards.
The d-line was just as impressive, pressuring Daunte Culpepper from the opening whistle to the closing gun. They registered five sacks for 24 yards, eight knockdowns and two forced fumbles. Their pressure also resulted in four holding penalties and six false starts on Oakland’s o-line and an intentional grounding call on Culpepper.
Chris vs Chris: It looks to me like Chris Henry has made this Chris Brown’s last year as a Titan. Tennessee will hold on to Brown as insurance for the rest of the season, but Henry has shown he’s capable of providing a good change of pace to LenDale White.
Snapping: Seven is not a lucky number for longsnapper Ken Amato, who was lost for the year with an ACL injury. He’s had some bad luck in Game Seven twice now. In 2005, he broke a leg in the seventh game when he was also covering a punt.
Jeremy Cain, who’s been with the Eagles and Bears, has been signed to replace him. He’s also a FB/LB, so he will add a little depth there.
Snappers can earn a good living in the NFL for years. Many are journeymen, such as Cain and Jon Dorenbos, who replaced Amato two years ago and has since joined the Eagles. There will always be a demand for snappers, as John Madden pointed out in one of his books.
Madden wrote that when teams would make their final roster cuts, somebody might say a certain player should be cut. Another coach would then speak up, saying, “We can’t cut him, he’s our snapper.” And so that player would have a job another year.