- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Titans are in need of a quarterback.
I’d tossed out Palmer’s name after Tennessee announced it was finished with Vince Young, but once Marvin Lewis got a new contract from the Bengals and said Palmer was his guy, I backed down. Now I’ll jump on the idea again even as Mike Brown of the Bengals says they won't move the quarterback.
Palmer is no sure thing. He’s not been the same quarterback since the knee injury he suffered in the 2005 playoffs. An elbow problem that surfaced in 2008 has also been an issue.
If he’s physically OK, I would put him at the head of my wish list for the Titans. Jeff Fisher and offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger have long coveted a traditional dropback passer who can scan the full field.
Heimerdinger’s health is a question going forward; he’s battling cancer. But if quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains returns or Fisher puts a coach in place who would assume Heimerdinger’s duties if needed, they’d be in line with a similar philosophy.
Those coaches would likely love to work with a healthy Palmer. His chances of rehabbing his career in Tennessee might be as good as anywhere.
If Tennessee’s offensive line gets back to form, it’s capable of providing time and protecting such a guy. If he’s handing off to Chris Johnson and throwing to the likes of Kenny Britt, Jared Cook, Nate Washington and Damian Williams, I believe the Titans would have a chance to be an effective offense and their bigger issue would be defensive repair.
I’m leaving Kevin Kolb off this list because I think he’ll simply be too expensive on the trade market, or maybe completely unavailable as the Eagles worry about Michael Vick making it through a full season.
Conventional wisdom says the Titans will both draft a quarterback and find a veteran.
Here’s my veteran wish list:
Palmer. Maybe I am leaning too much on my memories of him back when he was very good, but if the Titans had a chance to get him back to that form, I’d want to see it.
Kyle Orton, Denver. He can really throw it. He’s the sort of hard worker and stand-up guy the Titans covet.
Matt Flynn, Green Bay. The sample size is small, but the trade price might be more reasonable. There is always a Rob Johnson/Scott Mitchell issue, where you worry about getting a guy who flashed and it turned out to be just a flash.
Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle. He's too prone to getting beat up, but he’d have better protection with a fixed Titans’ line and is another smart guy.
Chad Pennington, Miami (free agent). His health is a question and he does not have a big arm. But he’s a guy who might give the Titans enough while a rookie is developed.
All the Titans need now is a new CBA that would allow for trade offers and free-agent movement.