Three reasons to be happy and three reasons to be concerned after the first half of the season for the Tennessee Titans.
Reasons to be happy.
1. The Titans are 5-3 at the bye. Should they have a better record? Yes. Coach Jeff Fisher even admitted as much. The home loss to Denver is particularly puzzling in the rearview mirror. But given where they were at the bye last year (0-6, coming off a 59-0 loss at New England and Fisher in a Peyton Manning jersey the next day), the Titans will take it.
2. Some of the young guys are playmakers. Alterraun Verner and Jason McCourty are at the top of the list on defense in terms of being playmakers. They are good enough to have pushed a solid veteran in Vincent Fuller down the depth chart. On the offensive side, receivers Kenny Britt and Damian Williams may be able to solidify a long-time trouble spot at wide receiver for a long time.
3. CJ hasn't been CJ, but he has still been pretty good. Chris Johnson isn't close to being on track for his ridiculous 2,500 yard prediction, but even though teams have been keying on him consistently, he is still second in the NFL in rushing with 721 yards, while the Titans look for ways to improve their rushing attack during the bye.
Reasons to be concerned
1. Kenny Britt may be out for awhile. Britt's hamstring injury won't end his season, but it certainly isn't good for a team that had finally found a deep threat just a couple of weeks before. Long-term, Britt's maturity is the bigger issue. But short term, with loads of division games in the second half, it is his hamstring that is a major worry.
2. Can Vince Young stay healthy? Young's play has improved markedly this season. With nine touchdown passes and just two interceptions, he has done more than probably was expected in that regard. His 103.1 passer rating is by far the highest of his career, but troublesome ankle and knee injuries threaten to derail his progress in 2010.
3. The defense has been opportunistic, but not always sound. The Titans have been getting their share of interceptions and fumble recoveries (plus 6 ratio). It's a good thing, because the defense has been on the field far too much – an average of nearly 69 plays a game through eight weeks. Opponents also have 34 more first downs than the Titans do and are winning time of possession by an average of more than six minutes per game.