This Week In The 'Drome, We're Finally Back On The Field...
Improved vs Improving: Calvinists have a wonderful phrase they use to describe their church: Ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda — "the church reformed, always being reformed," though in this age of mangled Latin, the back half is often mistranslated as "always reforming."
The Titans, despite all their summer spending and their lauded draft picks, are not at the end of the process. The first preseason game showed the team improved — but there is plenty of improving yet to be done.
That's OK, if people are patient with it. And it's OK if Jake Locker develops into a true franchise quarterback — it's only his second year as starter, but the jury is very much out on whether he can make the leap.
If fans are willing to suffer a bit, it's a process that could pay dividends (though, since last night's broadcast featured 4,982 commercials pushing tickets, the patience may have already expired).
The $100 million summer wasn't a panacea — did anyone look at this team last year and say "Gosh, if they bring in Bernard Pollard, just hand them the Lombardi Trophy"? The $100 million summer was a bridge — a very expensive one, but a bridge nonetheless. Adding Pollard shores up the defensive backfield until the team can find an actual safety (ie: not Michael Griffin). The moves on the offensive line were great...especially since the team is going to emphasize the running game while waiting for Locker to develop (or flame out).
The process is ongoing and it may be rocky. But at the end, it may be worth it.
The Week Behind
What You See Is What You Get: Don't get hung up on the score — the Titans lost 22-21 to Washington Thursday — because the results in the money-grabbing glorified scrimmage series that is the NFL's preseason are largely irrelevant. It's all about "how" not "how much."
The Titans running game looked positively Titanic. Chris Johnson's stellar touchdown run in the first quarter was the Good CJ. Shonn Greene, too, showed promise running the football.
That was Titans football of a palatable vintage.
But, certainly, not all recent vintages have been as tasty — and the dregs of that wine were available for tasting as well. Washington's first touchdown was all too easy — a wide-open receiver in the back of the end zone, no safety in sight as Fred Davis hauled in a touchdown after making a sandwich.
The second half — as second halves tend to be in August — was a largely unwatchable mess of third-team offenses squaring off against future Canadian Leaguers. The Two-Toners (who become Three-Toners when the sweat stains the front of the jerseys) yielded a touchdown to Pat White and the difference was a gimmicky two-point conversion straight from the "Oh God Please Don't Play Overtime In August" chapter of the playbook.
All-in-all, it was a perfectly pleasant performance by the home team. Just don't draw too many conclusions from it.
Garbage Time: In his column, Boclair looks at the maturing of Nashville as a sports town — I talked about the same thing in February, too ... Charges against two TSU football players have been dismissed. ... Brandt Snedeker shot one-over in his first round at the PGA Championship, six shots back with three days to play. He'll need a run.
Welcome!: Here's Chris Johnson making Bacarri Rambo look quite foolish last night.
A Poet And We Didn't Know It: At the moment, Predators forward Rich Clune's Twitter account is inactive again. We miss him when he's gone. Before he departed this time, he left us with a poem on a Wordpress blog that — surprise! surprise! — has since disappeared. Here's the verse preserved.
Another Goodbye: Legendary Nashville sportswriter Harold Huggins covered preps for The City Paper, so he's closed another chapter on a seven-decades long career that began as a beatman for the Dixie Flyers. Here's a timeline by the man himself.
The Week Ahead
North and South: There was relatively little debate last year about who to name Nashville's Best Sports Team in the annual Best of Nashville issue (voting for the Readers' Choice picks is now open, by the way). It had to be the Goodlettsville Little Leaguers.
Now we have another team to back in a push to Williamsport. This time, the South Nashville Little League is repping the Music City. They take on the heretofore undefeated team from Virginia tonight.
Sports are not immune to the bouncing waves of journalism in 2013. John Glennon — who was the long-time beat for the Predators and half of 1100's Titans team — was among those let go. David Boclair, The CP's sports editor, will move to the Nashville Post and I encourage everyone to monitor NashvillePost.com for what we think will be an exciting addition to the city's sports coverage.
Now what we're left with is beat coverage from The Tennessean — both Josh Cooper and Jim Wyatt are talented and capable of covering the Preds and Titans, respectively. But sports coverage — like news, like courts, like politics, like business — is better when there's more people doing it. Some bloggers — and they are legion — do a commendable job, but the business of covering a team is often a sideline. A beat reporter makes his living being right and being there.
And now there's a paltry few doing that in Nashville.
Emails to jrlind[at]nashvillescene[dot]com. Radio at 6 PM on Tuesdays on 102.5. The Hippodrome persists (to your delight and/or chagrin)