Steering the car back onto the road

October, 15, 2013
10/15/13
2:19
PM ET
A look at some of what I am hearing on Twitter and on the radio, paired with my attempts to steer the car back onto the road:

It can't be any worse with Rusty Smith at quarterback.

Smith
Smith
Yes, it can. Somehow there is a perception out there that Smith would be a safer play than Ryan Fitzpatrick, that he would take better care of the ball. Au contraire. In training camp practices where Jake Locker and Fitzpatrick would make a lot of safe throws, Smith consistently threw it downfield the most. He's a chance-taker. He'd come with far more risk.

Why is Smith on the team if he can't play?

He can play, it's just that the scenario where he would play is one where Fitzpatrick gets hurt. Plenty of teams don't even have a legitimate starter, so quality backups are hard to come by. No. 3s? They are developmental guys hoping to graduate into No. 2s. The alternatives for Smith's position were washed up guys like David Carr and John Skelton who've had plenty of chances to show they can't play. The first guy is better than the second guy who's better than the third guy. Thus the depth chart.

The Titans are insisting on running Chris Johnson up the middle when he's far better in space.

Absolutely true. But saying "get him in space" is a lot easier than getting him in space. They need to be more creative and assertive in trying. And don't be so sure the calls are telling Johnson to go inside. My radio colleague Jonathan Hutton says he's told CJ is taking stretch plays and other stuff designed to create opportunity outside, either being impatient or not finding time, and taking them inside.

The Titans should have signed a better backup quarterback in the offseason.

Who would that have been?

The Titans should have kept Matt Hasselbeck.

Maybe. But I understood the rationale. He was overpaid and they felt like he was getting a bit gun shy: willing to throw for 3 yards on third-and-6 in order to avoid a hit. It wasn't unreasonable for them to seek to change direction.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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