Archive for June, 2014

The Tennessee Titans are preparing to move on without their eighth overall pick from the 2011 draft if he doesn’t improve drastically this year. Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt did not draft Locker in 2011, nor might he like him as the team’s starter for the foreseeable future. The Whiz coached up traditional pocket passer Kurt Warner during his time at Arizona. There’s nothing traditional about Locker’s run-and-gun style of play. Whisenhunt may look for other options if Locker can’t stay healthy and quickly impress his new coach.

Jake Locker hasn’t been consistent or healthy in his first three years as a Titan. With first round pick Taylor Lewan joining an already strong offensive line, the super athletic Bishop Sankey taking over where Chris Johnson left off and some very talented and underutilized receivers, Jake Locker is out of excuses and running out of time to assemble a strong season as the starting QB. Wide receivers Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter have the potential to become true, downfield burners if given the opportunity. Not to mention what Dexter McCluster brings to the offense as an out of the backfield pass-catcher.

The Titans spent a late-round pick on Zach Mettenberger, a QB who would’ve been selected in the second round if not for injury concerns. Expect fans to be calling Mettenberger’s name if Locker struggles this season.

Jake Locker has potential when healthy. He is a scrambling threat and can make all the throws a Quarterback needs to be able to make. He was a fierce competitor on a struggling U. of Washington team that stood out among his lesser-known teammates. The question remains to be seen if he can be a fierce competitor on a Titans team in a wide open AFC South led tenuously by the inconsistent Indianapolis Colts.

The 49ers starting QB recently commenced contract negotiations expecting big time money to go along with his big play potential. But for Kaepernick to earn his big time money, his big time potential has to turn into big time play. And that means Kaep has to show he can beat Seattle in San Francisco, in Seattle, and in the playoffs. Kaepernick threw six interceptions against the Seahawks in 2013. A quick look at last years’ games against Seattle reveal Kaepernick’s flaws.

13/28 127 Yards 0 TD 3 INT 9 carries 87 yards (Week 2 @ Seattle – Loss)

15/29 175 Yards 1 TD 1 INT 9 carries 31 yards (Week 14 @ Home – Win)

14/24 153 Yards 1 TD 2 INT 11 carries 130 yards (NFC Championship game @ Seattle – Loss)

The takeaway from these stats include Kaep’s need to reduce his turnovers. Kaep’s especially effective as a runner gashing Seattle’s elite defense for 248 yards on 29 breakaways total throughout the season. San Francisco doesn’t want their franchise passer running more than a couple times a game. Kaep has some new weapons this season that should allow him to get more done through the air instead of relying on his feet. Wide Receivers Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree are on board and (currently) healthy for 2014. The 49ers drafted speedy wide receiver Bruce Ellington out of South Carolina. At 5’9″, 196 lbs, Ellington has a sturdier build than most 5’9″ receivers which should enable him to drive for extra yards on critical third-down plays. The 49ers also sent out a 4th round pick for former Bills wideout Stevie Johnson. Johnson has struggled with drops in the past but should improve on his catching with more consistent QB play and in an offense with more than one good wide receiver.

The 49ers also have future hall of fame tight end Vernon Davis to draw defenders off of other receivers for Kaepernick.

Still, all those receivers won’t do San Francisco any good unless Kaepernick develops as a passer and stays in the pocket to make the disciplined read.

A more volatile and healthy receiving corps means Colin’s passing touchdowns should rise from a modest 21 from 2013 to a meatier 27-29 in 2014. If anyone can help the 49ers young super-QB take the next step, it’s 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh who helped Chiefs QB Alex Smith have a career year in 2011.

2014 could mean big things for Kaepernick as he’ll have to prove he can put up big time numbers and win big time games and ultimately bring San Francisco the NFL championship they’ve only been flirting with since 2011.

Today at work an older gentleman came in with his Purple Heart hat on and wanted to cancel his wife’s phone. For purposes of caution we’ll call him Mr. Johnson.

“My wife passed away. We’d been married for over sixty years.”

I know next to nothing about military service but saw his hat, so I asked him.

“Were you in the service?”

He pointed at his hat and told me the name and number of his battalion during World War II. He’d served in the Army. He talked about his wife falling ill suddenly and taking her to the Hospital. Newport Hospital couldn’t help her so they took her to a Hospital in Providence.

“I called up my Nephew in Pennsylvania who’s a doctor and he came up and talked with the Doctor in Providence.”

They couldn’t help her. Any of the treatment options would cause just as much harm as letting her continue to bleed.

“She wanted to go home. They said she had to go through hospice.”

Mr. Johnson ended up getting his wife out of hospice in about a day and she passed away at home as the doctors couldn’t do anything for her.

“My friend who served with me went to the VA Hospital and they told him they’d give him 10% coverage. He said: ‘You can take that 10% and shove it up your ***.'”

After the transaction was finished Mr. Johnson stayed at the counter for a while and talked for a bit.

“I don’t need a phone. If I don’t recognize the number I’m not going to pick it up. And any of my relatives, they’re either dead or I’ve got nothing to do with them (Mr. Johnson winked and smiled as he said this).”

“I never used the phone except for to call people. I want to keep it as a souvenir.”

Mr. Johnson hesitated for a moment.

“My wife and I were married for sixty-seven years. How often do you see that any more?”