That left me wondering if Brown was already tired after warm-ups and needed to be replaced for the opening defensive snap of the game. It would seem the best way to keep defenders fresh against Manning and the Broncos would be to play your best defenders and have them make third-down stops. But the Titans went with the idea that a lesser player like Gooden, who had never played on defense or faced Manning before, would enhance their chances at stopping the high-powered Broncos.
A week later against Arizona, Brown started but was benched after six snaps.
Brown was confused about what unfolded, and said no coach had spoken to him about it, even though I was told by someone who would know that Brown had been talked to.
Then, on Dec. 22 in Jacksonville, Gooden was a healthy inactive. And in the season finale he played only on special teams, not at all on defense.
It was confusing all around and sent a message to the locker room, media and fans that the coaching staff didn’t really have a handle on what it was doing.