Week 16 Thursday Night Picks: The Implications of Winning

Titans vs. Jaguars

Image courtesy of www.jaguars.com

Jim Armstrong

In this week’s Thursday night picks post, I’m going to focus less on the matchup and more on the short and long-term prognosis of each franchise, since no one really cares who wins tonight’s game (outside of Jacksonville and Titans fans). Despite the dismal matchup of two 2-12 squads, tonight’s game actually holds a ton of weight, if either team hopes to draft Marcus Mariotta come next spring. Right now the Titans and Jaguars are #2 & #3 in the current NFL draft order, behind only the hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In Todd McShay’s latest mock draft, he has Mariotta going #1 and Jameis Winston going #2. Both Tennessee and Jacksonville are each presumably in the market for a franchise quarterback since each team has been searching for an answer at QB for the last half dozen years. Jacksonville last made the playoffs following the 2007 season, when David Garrard, Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew were holding down the backfield. Tennessee last qualified for the playoffs following the 2008 regular season, with Kerry Collins leading the offense and Keith Bulluck leading the defense.

Since those playoff appearances, each franchise has cycled through QB’s at an alarming rate. Below are the starting QB’s for each squad since the 2007 season.

Tennessee: Kerry Collins, Vince Young, Rusty Smith, Matt Hasselbeck, Jake Locker, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jake Locker, Zach Mettenberger

Jacksonville: David Garrard, Todd Bouman, Trent Edwards, Blaine Gabbert, Luke McCown, Chad Henne, Blake Bortes

Sense a trend here? Each team has started 7 and 8 QB’s, respectively since the 2007 season. That’s an average of one different starting QB per season. As I mentioned at the top, the winner of tonight’s game will be in a big way a loser. That team would fall to #5 in the draft order (and potentially drop beyond this slot depending on what other teams do).

Let’s just say that Jacksonville and Tennessee fans have been suffering for the better part of a decade. Sadly, a win tomorrow night in all likelihood will result in another losing season in a division where Andrew Luck figures to reign for the next decade.

 

Rory Goulding

Let’s start with this – If I’m a fan of the Tennessee Titans fan, I’m freaking out right now. I’ll explain.

Derek Anderson, John Skelton, Max Hall, Kevin Kolb, John Skelton again, John Skelton a third time, Kevin Kolb again, Ryan Lindley, Brian Hoyer, Jake Locker, Zach Mettenberger and Charlie Whitehurst. What do all of these quarterbacks have in common? Current Titans head coach (and former Cardinals head coach) Ken Whisenhunt has started all of them at quarterback in just FOUR YEARS as a head coach. Wait what?!? How’s that possible?

If you’re just becoming aware of Ken Whisenhunt, you should know he’s notoriously indecisive when it comes to picking a starting quarterback. Since Kurt Warner retired in 2010, Whisenhunt-coached teams are 20-42. Whisenhunt’s inability to pick a starting quarterback, or at least find talent worthy of starting for an entire season, seems to be his biggest problem. After Warner left Arizona the Cardinals started at least three different quarterbacks in two of the three seasons before Whisenhunt was fired at the end of 2012. After the Cardinals, Whisenhunt became the offensive coordinator in 2013 for a San Diego Chargers team that made an improbable playoff run behind quarterback Philip Rivers’ career year (and the fact that, because he was not the head coach, he couldn’t meddle in starting another quarterback), so I assume that those who make decisions in Titans organization completely forgot everything that happened before 2013 – actually, here’s what I think the conversation between Titans GM Ruston Webster and President Thomas Smith:

Smith: So I have our coaching options narrowed down to Jay Gruden, Lovie Smith or Mike Zimmer.
Webster: I think we should hire Ken Whisenhunt!
Smith: Doesn’t he have issues with sticking with a starting quarterback, and hasn’t coached a winning team since Kurt Warner retired?
Webster: Yeah, but still, I have a great feeling about him!
Smith: Are you huffing glue right now?
Webster: Uh…why? Would you want some?

*scene*

So far this season, Whisenhunt has yet to disappoint in regards to the “maybe we should start this guy-wait no maybe we should start that guy-wait what team is this?” comedy train. I mean, you know things are going bad when Matt Leinart is calling for you to get fired.

Let’s go with the Jaguars tonight, because they’re the team not coached by Ken Whisenhunt, and they’re the team whose owner has a yacht that’s bigger than an Imperial Star destroyer.

Jaguars 17, Titans 13.

 

 

About Jim Armstrong

Jim is a life-long sports fan and split his childhood between the ‘burbs of Chicago and central NJ, while throwing in a summer living outside of Boston into the mix. This explains his passion for the 90′s Bulls, late 90′s/early 00′s Knicks and late 00′s Celtics (he will explain in a future post). Jim never played a minute of college basketball or football but did complete a Tough Mudder recently and continues to play in basketball leagues year-round. If this doesn’t make him an expert, then I don’t know what does. Jim crunches numbers for a living and enjoys applying these analytical skills to his sports obsessions. In his free time, Jim enjoys spending time with his family, fishing and writing.

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