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My interview with Music City Miracles blogger Jimmy

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Week Five is upon us, and the Colts face their third division opponent in four weeks. This week, Indy clashes with the Tennessee Titans, who have gone through a whirlwind in recent days: new quarterback, a lengthy suspension, and an 0-4 start for a team that used to be one of the best in the league. Jimmy at Music City Miracles was kind enough to take the time for an interview. Music City Miracles is one of SB Nation's newest blogs, and I can't tell you how happy I am to have not one but TWO AFC SOUTH rival blogs. For a time, I thought everyone but me would have a division opponent blogger. Now, I have two excellent bloggers talking smack to me, and I love it!

Now, I'll be honest here, I'm not the best interviewer in the world, and if there is one team that I used to HATE, it was the Titans. I have very strong opinions of Tennessee's club, and of their owner, GM, and coach. I think they have handled themselves about as bad as a team can do the last three years. Now, all that said, it's Jimmy time!

Big Blue Shoe: Jimmy, thanks for the time, and I apologize in advance if my opinion comes off as too abrasive. Ever since the Titans lost in the divisional round of the 2003 playoffs to the New England Patriots, their record is a combined 9-27. They've started this season 0-4, and have been manhandled in all but one game (a close loss against the Dolphins). What has happened to the Titans since 2003, and who is to blame?

Jimmy: The Titans tried to hold it together to make one more run in 2004.  They basically mortgaged the future for one more shot.  In 2004 they had more injuries than any team I can remember. After the 2004 season they released 6 guys that were big time contributors to the team for salary cap reasons. It is currently a rebuilding period. Obviously, the rebuilding hasn't gone as well as planned.
As far as who is to blame, that is a long list. I put most of the blame on Floyd Reese because he has made some terrible draft picks.  If you are going to rebuild you have to do it through the draft and he has been terrible.

Big Blue Shoe: On your site, you have a poll asking Titans fans if head coach Jeff Fisher should be fired. Most have said no, he shouldn't. However, it seems pretty clear, barring some miracle turnaround, that Fisher and/or GM Floyd Reese will leave Tennessee next year. Do you personally think Fisher should go if the Titans purge their front office?

Jimmy: I do not think Fisher should go. As the saying goes, "He didn't get stupid overnight." He should get a chance to see this rebuilding through. Reese should and probably will be gone.

Big Blue Shoe: For a time, I felt the Colts v. Titans rivalry was one of the best in football. I felt that Steve McNair was a big reason why. What are your thoughts on how he's playing now in Baltimore, and why, in God's name, did the Titans kick him to the curb this past offseason?

Jimmy: The Titans could not bring McNair back at his cap number. The Titans couldn't get him on the practice field. That was ok when he had Mason and other guys he was familiar with but with young receivers he needed to be out there practicing. He was the heart and soul of the Titans franchise for many years and the way the whole situation was handled was classless.  He deserved better and as much as I hate the Ravens I hope McNair has a great year there. He will always be one of my favorite players.

He is doing in Baltimore exactly what they need from him. He is taking care of the football. He has also engineered 2 late 4th quarter drives that led them to wins.  For my money, there are very few QB's I would rather have running a 2 minute drill than McNair.

Photo: AP
Big Blue Shoe: Titans DT Albert Haynesworth was suspended for 5 games for stepping on Cowboys center Andre Gurode's face with his cleats this past Sunday. Gurode required 30 stitches, and assault charges might be filed against Haynesworth. The suspension was the biggest for an on-the-field incident in NFL history. Many felt Haynesworth should have been booted for the whole year. Do you agree with the NFL's suspension?

Jimmy: I said on my blog that was the most disgusting thing I have seen in football. There is no excuse for that. Period. I was one that said he should be suspended for the rest of the season. This is not Haynesworth's first offense. He had an incident here a few years back with former Titan's center Justin Hartwig. There are still some Titan's lineman that don't speak to Haynesworth to this day.  I hope the Titans will deactivate him for the rest of the year after his suspension. Fisher hinted this morning on the radio that the Titans might take further action.  

Big Blue Shoe: Vince Young got his first NFL start this past week. He was 14-29 for 155 yards, 1 TD and 2 picks. He also fumbled twice. I was one that thought the drafting of Vince Young was a mistake at #3. Matt Leinart should have been taken there because: 1) He's a better QB, and 2) he was a better fit for Tennessee. Leinart's former offensive coordinator at USC, Norm Chow, is the OC in Tennessee. Leinart is a smart kid, reads defenses well, and delivers the football with accuracy. It's been rumored that both Chow and Fisher lobbied for Leinart, but the owner Bud Adams wanted Vince Young because he would sell tickets. Now, separate yourself from the team's fanbase as best you can for this next question: do you think the Titans drafted a better QB in Young over Leinart? If yes, then why is Young better.

Jimmy: Let me start by saying this, Bud Adams is an idiot when it comes to football.  He was on record as saying he wanted Young if the Texans passed on him because he would really want to make them pay. That makes a whole lot of sense. Let's draft a guy for what he will do 2 games a year.
That being said, it is way too early to judge the pick.  Leinart is a better QB today.  There is little doubt about that. Of the big 3 in the draft Young was the least NFL ready. The thing about VY is he has that intangible leadership quality about him.  I have never seen a player take over a football game like he did. I know it was college and all that but there is something about him that transcends his throwing motion, reads and all the other football stuff.  The Oilers were ridiculed for taking McNair so let's just wait and see.

Big Blue Shoe: The Titans spent a lot of money this past off-season on free agents like QB Kerry Collins, WR David Givens, S Chris Hope, and former Colt OLB David Thornton. They also drafted Vince Young and RB LenDale White. They also re-signed DE Kyle Vanden Bosch. By spending what they did, and drafting the way they did, it seemed clear the Titans were NOT in a rebuilding phase. Why haven't these free agents and other signings translated into wins?

Jimmy: I am not sure why that means the Titans are not in a rebuilding phase.  They didn't sign those free agents to one year contracts with the exception of Collins and that was a joke. Those guys are just another piece in the rebuilding process. The VY pick screams rebuilding to me. If you are not rebuilding you take Leinart and plug him in. As I said before, he is the most NFL ready. VY is a project. I said after the draft that Fisher might have lost his job that day because the Titans didn't do anything to make the 2006 team better. VY is a project and LenDale White is an addition to a crowded position.

As to why they haven't translated into wins, it is because even with those additions the Titans are still in the bottom 4th of the NFL as far as a team. All of those guys make this team better but they still have a long way to go.

Big Blue Shoe: Last question: my first football memories watching the Colts were during their dreadful 1-15 season in 1991. They went 0-8 at home, and Jeff George was their starting QB (taken #1 overall... ugh!). The Titans are 0-4, and while I do think they will win more games than the 1991 Colts, it has to be hard to not only watch an 0-4 team, but also blog an 0-4 team. Yet, despite their record and their play, your content is fresh, interesting, and enjoyable. How do you keep the content interesting when the play on the field is anything but?

Jimmy: Well the Titans do so much dumb stuff on and off that field that blogging really isn't that hard.  I have plenty of material to work with.

Big Blue Shoe: Jimmy, thanks so much for your time. I've added my opinion into many of my questions. So, I only thought it only fair for you to have the last word. Any final thought, parting shots, etc?

Jimmy: You have made no secret of your feelings about the Titans. I am an Alabama fan as well as a Titans fan so you can imagine how much I dislike Peyton Manning. In fact, there is no sports player I like less than Manning. I get fired up every time he chokes in a big game. I just felt obligated to share that.

Be sure to check out Music City Miracles this Sunday for some cross-blogging between Jimmy and I as the Titans travel to Indy to take on the Colts.