Thoughts on a trip to Nashville

A little later than I’d hoped, but time for me to finally write up my thoughts on a trip to Titans-Texans. As I mentioned, this was my first Titans home game in 20 years, and my first ever trip to LP Field.
Nothing real detailed here, just a collection of thoughts, some about the game, some about Nashville in general:
1. I’d considered watching the Tennessee-Florida game at an adult establishment, but ended up just watching it from my hotel room. Given the result, and the likeliness of irascible drunks, this was maybe a wise decision. I did end up going out for later games.
2. Sorry, Nashville, Lambeau still has you beat in terms of gameday ambiance.
3. Most of it’s me, but I found I talked more going to an opposing team’s game. Wearing a VY jersey in Green Bay produces the friendly “Boo, opposing team” banter but also provides a ready-made subject for conversation. Wearing a VY jersey to LP Field just makes you one of 5,000 other people.
4. I didn’t see much in the manner of random jerseys at Nashville-certainly nothing like the 49ers Kevan Barlow jersey somebody had on in Green Bay.
5. The liking for the red Pro Bowl jerseys was disconcerting given that red is also a color of the opponent’s jersey. Don’t wear the opposing team’s colors to your home game, people.
6. Michael Roos can sign a huge extension in the offseason, but can’t get his jersey carried in the pro shop. I asked. I’d been wanting one for almost two years, and figured, even if it wasn’t available online (except by a custom jersey), it’d be in the pro shop. Michael, get your agent on this.
7. For some reason, I really enjoy watching Rob Bironas kick off. He missed once, wide left from the right hash from 56, in warmups, but later hit from the same position, and with room to spare.
8. The two Chrises, Carr and Davis, were the two main punt returners in practice. Hawkins was the 3rd guy out, whereas Jones was the 3rd guy in Green Bay. Too valuable with the Gage injury, perhaps?
9. Hawkins, while active, really didn’t get much work at all. I don’t think he was in the game more than 5 times, total, including special teams plays.
10. Ganther, also active, got only slightly more work than Hawkins-he wasn’t in on kickoffs or kickoff returns, but was on I believe both punt returns and punt coverage.
11. Not related to game attendance, but I liked that Fisher won and deferred. That’s a rule change this year, and something I’d like to see him do pretty much every time.
12. I’d expected to see the Titans try to match up Finnegan on Andre Johnson, but they seemed pretty content to have Harper lined up on him and thankfully it didn’t seem to cost them much if at all.
13. On Collins’ INT, there really wasn’t anybody open. There was a narrow window where the pass could have been completed, between the underneath man defender and the safety over the top, but timing was off just enough. A VY-esque interception, in that way.
14. Collins on both of his two bootleg runs seemed pretty decisive in committing to the run and not looking back at one point. Fish noted in his post-game presser than he missed a guy in one case, but I did really like the decisiveness-I’ve criticized VY for his hesitation on that.
15. White is also looking more decisive this year-less hesitation, less trying to bounce runs offside. I still don’t think he’s very good, but he’s less worthless doing that.
16. Except for the McCareins “catch” that Kubiak should have challenged, there weren’t any decent throws downfield early in the game by either quarterback.
17. That said, I don’t understand why McCareins is a deep option. He has trouble catching, doesn’t get good separation, and doesn’t have great size. At least it beats throwing downfield for Scaife. Still, I would have preferred Jones or maybe a flier to Hawkins.
18. Contrary to my preseason expectations, Bo Scaife still seems to be a big option in the offense-clearly ahead of Crumpler, and also probably ahead of any of the wideouts.
19. It was nice to Jevon Kearse to put in in an appearance with his sack of Schaub late in the 3rd quarter. Good job to beat Winston on the outside rush. Thanks for giving me smack talk fodder.
20. Chris Johnson really gives the Titans a much-needed element of explosiveness, but, sheesh, he needs to catch better.
21. Watching the defensive linemen jump offside is just as frustrating in person as it is on TV.
22. I’m still annoyed that the Texans were able to run that stupid TE screen play successfully twice, even if it was once to each side of the defense.
23. It really looked like Vanden Bosch was offside a couple times and got away with it.
24. Griffin really shouldn’t have caught his second interception-he cost his team 25 yards of field position by doing so. Similarly, Vanden Bosch wasted energy running 50 yards downfield on his INT on the Texans’ flubbed PAT, because the play was over as soon as he got possession. The Titans were also marginally better off if Finnegan had just gone down at midfield on his INT return instead of scoring, though it’s tough to me to begrudge him the chance to score.
25. That missed PAT really cost Kubiak-if they hit that, the Texans take a field goal instead of going for it. I know Kuharsky said in his chat Kubiak shouldn’t have gone for it, but Kubiak was right in terms of improving his expected chance of winning.
26. A win is a win is a win, and that’s all that matters. I’ll still be headed back to Nashville for a game next year (I think I’ll be attending 1 home game a year), but this trip was improved by the game outcome.
27. Wear sunscreen.
28. To the Auburn grad I was talking to in the Nashville Airport bar on Sunday evening: yes, I really am a Titans fan. Yes, I really was born in Houston. Yes, I really do live in the Chicago area.
I did take a couple photos, which you can view here, but I’m not much of a photographer and my digicam isn’t anything to write home about. FYI, I’ve come up with a new blogging gimmick: an in-depth look at one Titan player’s performance in the previous game, modeled on Every Play Counts and Football Outsider’s Cover-3. The inaugural edition should be up Saturday, looking at Michael Roos’s performance at left tackle and the job he did against Mario Williams.

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