|Has Tony Brown been Tennessee’s best LDT?|
Selecting a left defensive tackle for our original All-Time Tennessee team was no easy feat. When we voted for the team in the summer of 2008, these were the primary starters at the position since the franchise moved to Tennessee.
1997-98 Gary Walker
1999 Josh Evans
2000 John Thornton
2003 Robaire Smith
2004 Kevin Carter
2005 Randy Starks
2007 Tony Brown
As you can see, only one player, Gary Walker, was the primary starter in back to back seasons. LDT certainly wasn’t a position which boasted stability or a long-time starter.
Kevin Carter was elected as the LDT on our initial team, even though he had played out of position in his lone year as a defensive tackle. The 2004 season was the only one in his 14-year career that he didn’t play LDE. I’ve got a lot of respect for KC for many reasons, one of which was his willingness to change positions for the good of the team.
I think the reasons Carter won our election were twofold. First, he was a star, a first-team All-Pro in 1999 and a two-time Pro Bowl selection, albeit as a DE. Second, none of the other LDTs stood out. You could make the argument that all of the Titans LDTs from 1997-2006 had equal or greater success in the league on other teams than they did in Tennessee.
Since we first voted for our All-Time team, two players have performed well enough to merit consideration as we update our team.
Tony Brown was brought in as a 2006 mid-season roster addition, following Albert Haynesworth’s five-game suspension for stomping. Brown became the full-time starter at LDT in 2007 and remained there for the 2008 season, the first time a player was a repeat starter at the position since Walker in 1997-98.
The best part of Touchdown Tony’s game has been his pass rush. Before his latest knee injury, Brown was a formidable interior rusher, who first came to notice when he was lined up next to Fat Albert. It’s been said that Albert made everyone around him better, but that wasn’t the case with Brown, who played his best football after Albert left. Brown’s best season was in 2009, and I thought he was the best Titans defensive player that year.
Brown started 29 games at LDT for the Titans, all in the 2007-08 seasons, before moving to RDT in 2009.
Jason Jones was a second-round draft pick for the Titans in 2008 and hasn’t yet lived up to the expectations for a high-draft pick, primarily due to injury. He started one game at LDT in his rookie campaign and had no starts in 2009, before being placed on Injured Reserve.
Jones started 15 games last season, all at LDT. I thought JJ had an excellent first half of the 2010 season, and was the Titans defensive MVP for the first half, before he slowed down with knee and shoulder injuries. Like Brown, the best part of Jones’ game is his interior pass rush, which he showcased last September and October.
Despite his limited experience, Jones has played very well when healthy and has a lot of upside. Whether his future is at LDT or he is moved to DE, as has been speculated, remains to be seen.
Which of these three – Kevin Carter, Tony Brown, or Jason Jones – should be the left defensive tackle on our All-Time Tennessee team? Please vote in our poll and voice your opinions in our comments section.
Following is a recap on where we stand as we update our All-Time Tennessee team.
First, this is the team we originally selected:
QB Steve McNair
RB Eddie George
FB Lorenzo Neal
WR Derrick Mason
WR Drew Bennett
WR Kevin Dyson
TE Frank Wycheck
LT Brad Hopkins
LG Bruce Matthews
C Kevin Mawae
RG Benji Olson
RT Jon Runyan
LDE Jevon Kearse
LDT Kevin Carter
RDT Albert Haynesworth
RDE Kyle Vanden Bosch
LLB David Thornton
MLB Randall Godfrey
RLB Keith Bulluck
LCB Andre Dyson
RCB Samari Rolle
SS Blaine Bishop
FS Marcus Robertson
NB Cortland Finnegan
P Craig Hentrich
K Rob Bironas
KR/PR Adam Jones
This is the voting for our updated team so far:
RB – Eddie George remains on the team, beating out Chris Johnson
FB – Lorenzo Neal lost his spot to Ahmard Hall
LT – Brad Hopkins remains on the team, holding off Michael Roos
RT – Jon Runyan was defeated by David Stewart
More challenges to come in this series:
MLB – Randall Godfrey vs Stephen Tulloch
RCB - Samari Rolle vs Cortland Finnegan
FS – Marcus Robertson vs Michael Griffin
NB – Cortland Finnegan vs Vincent Fuller