I'm not one to say I told you so, but that's exactly where I find myself this morning, and I guess I have to include myself in the group who perhaps felt a little to comfortable with the Tennessee Titans following the opening day win and heading into Cleveland to face a Browns team that was starting Johnny Manziel at quarterback.
Make no mistake, I'm still not sold on Manziel as an NFL caliber starting quarterback, and if I were a general manager of a team he would be no where near my roster. In fact I went as far as to say he is a one trick pony type- throw it deep and hope to connect- player. That's all he had in his tool box yesterday, but it worked twice and he walked away with a "W" while the Titans limped back to Nashville with their first loss of the season.
It was the Browns defense that did the heavy lifting for Manziel yesterday. They harrassed, battered and even bloodied Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota into fumbling the football three times, lossing two in route to the 28-14 Browns victory. Manziel threw two long passes to help the cause, but otherwise was exactly the quarterback most people, myself included thought he was entering the game.
With all that said, where does it leave Titans fans in assessing their team.
It leaves them-and my predicting a win over Cleveland self- right where we should have been after the Tampa win. Somewhere in the middle.
It was so easy to get excited after the win, and to by into the hype and think that the Titans had turned a corner and were trending in the right direction faster than we could have hoped for or predicted.
While I do think this team is trending in the right direction, it is clear after yesterday that the train is not moving as fast as previously indicated.
There are still holes in this roster that must be addressed. There are young players who must grow and develope as NFL players before this team can be considered a contender, and while it is possible that they develope and mature and can lead this team to a playoff appearance this season, Sunday showed the odds of that are distant.
As I wrote in this column last Monday, this team is somewhere between the greatness of week one and now the misery of week two.
We saw some positives on Sunday, but the negatives were there also.
We saw a young team battle to remain in the game. We saw adjustments in the second half that lead to two scoring drives and for a moment in time the belief in a comeback was possible. It was short lived and a painful reminder that the Titans are still a work in progress.
The players, coaches and staff are working hard everyday. We witness that on practice. There is a new energy and a new feeling and attitude around St. Thomas Sports Park from what it was last season, but there is still more work to be done.
Fans must remain loyal and continue to support this team, but at the same time it must be clear that there will be more bumps in the road, and with those bumps will come more losses, but if the team continues to play hard and compete till the end then things are contniuing to move in the right direction.
I said it last week that patience is a virtue, and while fans have been very patient with the shinanigans of this organization, the onfield product is changing for the better and fans must keep that in mind and remain patient to see how far it can grow.