If you only look at what they did as pass-catchers, both Alge Crumpler and Justin McCareins were disappointments in the 2008 season. Their combined stats were for 54 receptions for just 669 yards and only one touchdown. Crumpler wasn’t the red zone playmaker we thought he would be and McCareins wasn’t the deep threat we had hoped for. Still, I maintain that each of them were very valuable to the Titans in a way that doesn’t show up in their individual stats.
The Titans are a run-oriented, run-first team, and Crumpler and McCareins are both very good blockers. Give them credit for a lot of Chris Johnson’s and LenDale White’s rushing yards.
Crumpler is Tennessee’s best blocking tight end since Erron Kinney. He’s a tough blocker on the line like Kinney was, not a H-back like Frank Wycheck or Bo Scaife. I’ll give both of them some credit though. Frank wasn’t the best blocker but he tried and often got the job done. Props to Scaife too, who has improved as a blocker in the last few years.
McCareins is the team’s best blocking receiver. Since the Titans’ preference is to run the football, I want him on the field. Who would you rather have to block downfield for Dash and Smash? McCareins, Justin Gage, Brandon Jones or Lavelle Hawkins? It’s no contest. McCareins is clearly the best blocker of the group. Gage, Jones or Hawkins might go through the motions and try to make it look good, but about the most they can do is try to shield somebody and hope to get in their way. Not McCareins. He’ll block somebody.
Now, if aliens from outer space abduct Jeff Fisher next week and brainwash him, the Titans may turn into a pass-happy offense, in which case Crumpler and McCareins no longer have as much value. But lacking an alien abduction and brainwashing which changes Tennessee’s offensive philosophy, Crumpler and McCareins are the guys I want on the field.
Crumpler is still under contract for 2009 but McCareins is a potential free agent. I’d like to see the Titans re-sign him. What are your thoughts about the two of them?