2014 Season Team Profiles: Tennessee Titans

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Team Name: Tennessee Titans

Division: AFC South

Stadium: LP Field (Nashville, TN)

2013 Record: 7-9

Head Coach: Ken Whisenhunt (2014),  or “Whiz” as we like to call him, was the Cardinal’s head coach for 5 years and then the offensive coordinator for the Chargers last year

Quarterback: Depends on which week you ask, as the answer could be Jake Locker, Charlie Whitehurst, or Zach Mettenberger. Eek.

 

3 Offensive Players You Should Know:

– Shonn Greene, Running Back (23) – Spent the first four years of his career with the Jets. He missed the first part of the season with a knee injury, so he hasn’t been able to explode quite as much as they were hoping.

– Kendall Wright, Wide Receiver (13) – This second-year player is a bright-spot on the offense. If the quarterback situation were more favorable/consistent, his stats would be higher. Speaking from experience, he’s not a bad guy to have on your fantasy team as a WR2 or WR3.

– Michael Oher, Right Tackle (72) – Used to be a left tackle, but he’s transitioned to a right tackle. He’s the real-life inspiration for The Blind Side book and movie. If you’ve never seen that movie, drop what you’re doing right now and go get your dose of Oscar-winning Sandra Bullock.

 

3 Defensive Players You Should Know:

Jurrell Casey, Defensive End (99) – Drafted by the Titans in 2011, Jurrell signed a pretty sweet 4-year $36 million contract extension prior to the regular season.

Jason McCourty, Cornerback (30) – He’s got a twin brother named Devin who plays for the Patriots. Their mom has a Facebook page of her own with 10,000+ likes. He’s a friend of our girl Chrissy Carew and one of her Insightful Players. He does a lot of charity fundraising with his brother for sickle-cell disease. He posts pictures of his daughter on social media and she is adorable. At the risk of sounding creepy, I would totally offer to babysit her.

Michael Griffin, Safety (33) – First-round draft pick that currently leads the team in total tackles. He also has three sacks and two interceptions on the season.

 

What Happened This Offseason:

– The Titans fired Mike Munchak, who held the head coaching position for 3 years after growing up in the organization. They hired Whiz.

– The team lost Chris Johnson, also known as CJ2K for the year he ran over 2,000 yards in a season. He went to the no man’s land also known as the Jets.

– The team also lost Alterraun Verner, a Pro Bowl cornerback, to the Buccaneers, who gave him a pretty hefty contract.

– They signed Dexter McCluster to a three-year deal. I think the original plan was to utilize him more as a running back, but he’s made more of a difference as a punt returner so far.

– Despite their revolving-door quarterback situation, they have some big names on the offensive line, like Andy Levitre and Michael Roos. They drafted Chance Warmack last year and Taylor Lewan this year to round out the group.

– They brought in Ray Horton from Cleveland as the new Defensive Coordinator. He’s switched up their scheme. Not sure it’s working out too well.

 

Why You Should Cheer for Them: If you’re looking for a long-term team to invest in, the Titans could be for you as long as you can overlook the short-term because they’re kind of a hot mess right now. They’ve only won two games at this point in the season, one against the hapless Jaguars, so that’s kind of sad. They’ve got a great offensive-minded coach who doesn’t quite seem to have the weapons he needs.

 

2014 Theme Song: Jesus, Take the Wheel (Carrie Underwood) – It doesn’t have to be Jesus, but someone has to take the wheel here because this team should be better this year.

Also, as Val pointed out to me, quarterback Charlie Whitehurst’s nickname is Clipboard Jesus, which makes this song choice even more appropriate. He got the nickname because of his long Jesus-y locks of hair and his perennial backup status.

You didn’t expect me to do a non-country song for a NASHVILLE-based team, did you?

(Side note: Is Carrie Underwood not one of the best looking pregnant ladies you’ve ever seen?)

 

The Last Word: We’ve always wanted to go to Nashville. If we did, our first stop probably wouldn’t be to see the Titans play (at least until they get their stuff together), but if there’s anyone that wants to put us up, let us know!

– Michelle

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Women and the NFL: Coach Chrissy Carew and the Insightful Player

Women and the NFL - Coach Chrissy Carew

It’s funny how many fantastic people have come into our lives since this blog started. We’re really hoping that this trend continues because we absolutely love making new friends here on The Snap, especially if they are all like the special lady we are featuring today.

That said, I’m excited to share the story of Chrissy Carew, a life coach and the founder of the Insightful Player.

Chrissy_CarewChrissy and I were introduced by a mutual friend, who connected us based on our shared love of football. We had a great conversation the other day about her career, her Insightful Player initiative, and of course, football. Even if she wasn’t a Pats fan (she is!), I would still be excited to tell you all about her career and the difference she is making.

Chrissy may actually have one of the coolest and rewarding football-related jobs. In addition to being a full-time life coach, she’s a published author and the woman behind the Insightful Player initiative.

The Insightful Player is like The Snap’s Charity Spotlight on steroids (and I mean that in the best possible way). She gets to spend her time identifying and interviewing the “good guys” in the league and sharing their stories.

It might surprise you that Chrissy’s inspiration for starting the Insightful Player initiative was actually youth empowerment. She describes it better in her book and on her website, but in short, she saw the potential that NFL athletes had to be the positive role-models the younger generation is often lacking.

With this idea in mind, Chrissy presented her initiative to the NFL at their headquarters in New York. They liked her message, but encouraged her to approach all 32 teams individually. It would have been nice if they had given her some contact info, as well, but that didn’t happen, so Chrissy took it upon herself to cold-call the teams. She approached player development directors, who didn’t quite show the same level of passion as she did. Not to be deterred, Chrissy reached out to all the teams again, but this time going through the public relations departments. Responses were better (who doesn’t love positive press?), but still varied across the teams. Yet, she persevered.

Finally, a cold-call to Roger Staubach, a Hall of Fame Cowboys quarterback, proved to be a defining moment in the Insightful Player initiative. Roger agreed to share his story, and would become the first of many players (48 at last count) to do so with Chrissy.

With the publication of the aptly-titled Insightful Player: Football Pros Lead a Bold Movement of Hope in 2011, Chrissy’s dream of sharing positive stories from NFL players became a reality. The book included the stories and guiding principles of 32 past and present NFL players, including Roger Staubach, Heath Evans, Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty, and Ben Watson. Chrissy also included the stories of other players who may not be household names, but whose stories were just as compelling. That’s the beauty of the whole thing – there are so many lesser known players that are doing amazing things and deserve to have the spotlight on them.

As an aside, let me say that I was super-impressed by the fact that James Brown wrote the forward for the book. Ever watch pre- or post-game show coverage on CBS? If you answered yes, you would definitely recognize James Brown. He sits at the desk with the other analysts every Sunday and gets to say “Welcome back,” when they come back from commercial.

Additionally, this is what Peter King of Monday Morning Quarterback had to say about the collection of stories:

Peter King Insightful Player QUote

Pretty cool, right?

Chrissy graciously sent me a copy of her book and although I haven’t finished it quite yet, I would definitely recommend reading it if you enjoy “behind the helmet” features on players. Faith and religion are definitely recurring themes throughout the book, but not in an off-putting way. More often than not, faith just happens to play a significant role in the experiences the players have had and the decisions they make on a daily basis. Reading about what some of these players have had to overcome can really help put things into perspective. It also speaks volumes about Chrissy that she could get them to open up to her with their stories.

What definitely comes across is that these players aren’t just good athletes, but great human beings, as well. That’s why it’s neat that Insightful Player extends beyond the book. In cooperation with her featured players, Chrissy has started offering school assemblies, which provide follow-up coaching support for participants.

So, what’s next for Chrissy? She’s working on her second collection of player stories and an Insightful Player app is also in development. There’s no doubt that more players will continue to join her Insightful Player team, as well. (Did we mention she’s an official partner of the NFL Players Association? Legit!)

insightful player

I can’t thank Chrissy enough for taking time out of her day to chat with me. Just from our short conversation, it’s apparent that she’s in this for the right reasons. It’s obviously cool that her job involves chatting it up with professional athletes, but it’s so much more than that to her. Her motivation comes from genuinely wanting to make the world a better place. Her love of football and inspiration from her football-playing and –coaching family (check out this story from Patriots Football Weekly about her background) just so happened to make the NFL and its players a logical avenue for her passion.

For more information about Chrissy and the Insightful Player, visit the Insightful Player site. There are short versions of all her Insightful Player stories posted on the site. Photographs on this post courtesy of Chrissy Carew.

– Michelle