Titans in midst of youth movement on offense Print
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Monday, 30 April 2007 22:02
NFL Headline News

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -When Vince Young started the final game of last season, nobody in Tennessee's huddle had less starting experience in the NFL than the quarterback.
The Titans have only gotten younger this offseason, and nowhere is that youth movement stronger than on offense.
Veteran receivers Drew Bennett and Bobby Wade left for big money elsewhere as free agents. Six-year veteran running back Travis Henry took his 1,211 yards rushing to Denver after he was released to avoid an $8 million bonus.
Unless the Titans find someone in the thinning free agent market, Young and his 13 starts will look like a grizzled veteran compared to the running backs he'll be handing off to this season. But Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt said the youth at the offensive skill positions doesn't concern him.
``Obviously, they will all need to get experience and learn, but I think they are also all very talented young men,'' Reinfeldt said. ``I think there is still the opportunity as we go forward that we still could supplement ... to help out some of the positions.''
This is a franchise that had been rebuilding and growing up after starting seven rookies while going 4-12 in 2005 and five during last year's 8-8 season.
The Titans still have plenty of experience on the offensive line with center Kevin Mawae entering his 14th season and nine-year veteran Benji Olson at right guard. Left tackle Michael Roos has started 32 games in his first two seasons, and left guard Jacob Bell has started 30 of his 39 games.
But the skill positions are severely lacking in experience.
There's tight end Bo Scaife and receiver Brandon Jones with a combined 35 starts in their first two seasons. Receiver David Givens, the big free agent signing a year ago, is rehabilitating a torn left ACL that may prevent him from being ready at the start of this season. Justin Gage, signed in March, caught four passes in 2006 with Chicago.
They join Roydell Williams and Courtney Roby, draft picks in 2005 who combined for 10 catches last season, and Jonathan Orr who didn't play at all as a rookie last year. They also drafted three receivers in Fresno State's Paul Williams, Chris Davis of Florida and Joel Filani of Texas Tech.
Joining Young in the backfield are LenDale White, who has yet to start an NFL game and had only 61 carries for 244 yards as a rookie, and Quinton Ganther, who spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad.
The Titans talked about trading for a veteran running back in San Diego backup Michael Turner. The Chargers' price was too high, so Tennessee drafted Chris Henry of Arizona, someone coach Jeff Fisher said the team talked about taking in the first round instead of Texas safety Michael Griffin.
Henry matched Adrian Peterson's 4.4-second time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. He started only six of 35 games played at Arizona, but Fisher said the Titans think he can be an every-down back in the NFL.
``He's got excellent hands. He's a very high-character player. He has exceptional speed and good change of direction. He doesn't have the stats, doesn't have the numbers at the University of Arizona. We did the research, and we're satisfied why that happened,'' Fisher said.
``But we're confident that he will have the stats and numbers at this level.''
Henry himself talked about his need to improve his pass blocking fundamentals, something he said wasn't harped on much in college. A Titans assistant coach said Henry was too hard on himself in evaluating his blocking skills.
Fisher insisted team officials know what they're doing.
``We didn't throw darts,'' he said. ``We had a plan. This is a group that we think has helped fulfill most of our needs.''
 

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