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Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Another overrated spring thing: Chemistry

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Monday, I shared my thinking on coaches who are lamenting the loss of traditional OTA time. It makes sense they are missing it, but they’ll survive without it.

In this blog entry from John Glennon, Titans offensive coordinator Chris Palmer hits on what I believe to be another overrated theme: chemistry:
I really think this is where the team bonds. The guys go bowling or play golf and that bonding starts in the spring. The good teams have that bonding. That’s what you look for as a coach. You say, 'This group is pretty good together,’ and 'This group is pretty good together. There’s good crossover there.’

“The leaders of the team offensively and defensively are in the locker room, saying, 'These are the standards we want set here.’ When we start practicing those will be things that will come. But as a coach, you’d like to start seeing them right now.”

The Titans have new coaches and a new rookie quarterback. As much as anyone in the league, they need time together. They don’t yet have a to-be-determined veteran quarterback who will man the position ahead of Jake Locker.

This team has major leadership questions that need to be sorted out. Who, I wonder, does Palmer see as his standard-setters under contract in the locker room?

Among players under contract beyond left tackle Michael Roos, I scan the remaining depth chart and can’t find a quality candidate.

Time together in-house can certainly help those who are around.

Tennessee needs free agency far more than it needs OTAs.

But this team needs an infusion of veteran leadership akin to what it got in 2006 when Chris Hope, David Thornton and Kevin Mawae were brought in, outsiders with pedigrees.

The guys already under contract now need time on the field in real practices and real games to establish their leadership credentials. What can happen at a bowling get together is minor, and might be happening now anyway. I understand why Palmer wants it. But not having it isn't going to be a reason his offense isn't good if it isn't good.

Winning doesn’t come out of chemistry as much as chemistry comes out of winning.