published Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

5 at 10: Lane Kiffin, Pittsburgh Pirates and the NFL feeding frenzy

Remember our programing note, the 5-at-10 will be out of the office in the back part of this week. We'll have mini-5-at-10s Wednesday and Thursday and depending on how many letters we get today, we may have a full pre-written mailbag or a mini-bag.

OK, let's get to it. From the "7-Up Stinks Studios," here we go...

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    The Tennessee Titans announced Wednesday quarterback Vince Young will either be traded or released from the team. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

NFL feeding frenzy (Part 1)

The deal is done. Now the dealing can commence.

It's hard to grasp the level of frenzy the next week will be for players, agents and GMs. Men will cry, everyone will lie and cell phones will assuredly die. And there's no way around it. Any of it, because the time window to fill up rosters is so miniscule by comparison.

Signing a team's draft picks will actually be the final item on most to-do lists (those players have their rights committed and the teams know they can't negotiate with other clubs). So, let's look at the first steps for the Titans and the Falcons.

Titans to-do list:

— Cut Vince Young, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Young's presence in the locker room would immediately undermine the new coaching staff, and any exposure for new quarterback Jake Locker from VY would be a bad thing.

— Sign Locker ASAP and Fed Ex him a playbook. The rookie appears to be the immediate option for this team, and so be it.

— Get out the checkbook. The Titans are eight-figures under the salary cap of $120 million, and the team will be around $20 million under the cap after cutting Young. Teams agreed to spend 99 percent of the salary cap through the next two years.

— Get Locker some help and not some competition. A lot of the national guys have the Titans making a punch for current free agent and longtime former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Is that really the message you want to send to a rookie quarterback that you reached to draft in the top 10 last spring?

— That said, do whatever it takes to win six games. Seriously. Go sign Charles Johnson, Santonio Holmes and the ghost of Walter Payton. Spend every cent possible to be as competitive as you can this season. Because if the Titans struggle and finish as bad as some think (the friends of the show on SportTalk have set the over-under on Titans' wins at four, and Dr. B — he's a doctor after all — thinks they are going 2-14) and have the top pick next April, Locker will not only be judged by what he accomplishes but also by what level of success is reached by next year's No. 1 pick — Stanford's Andrew Luck.

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    Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

NFL feeding frenzy(Part 2)

The deal is done. Now the dealing can commence.

Let's look at the Falcons to-do list:

— Sign Julio Jones as soon as possible. Atlanta traded five good draft picks for Jones, an athletic beast who could be the final piece to the NFC's best offense. They paid a lot to move into the top 10 to draft Jones, a move that the 5-at-10 loved then and loves today, in an effort to make a serious push for the Super Bowl. Since rookie contracts have been roughly scaled under the new labor deal, Jones holdout would be over small dollars by comparison and any time away from his offensive teammates would be a hinderance.

— Sign Matt Bryant. The Falcons veteran kicker was very good last year. They need a guy that can deliver in the clutch.

— Solidify the OLine. Three starters — tackle Tyson Clabo and guards Harvey Dahl and Justin Blalock — are free agents. They either need to be resigned — especially Clabo — or replaced, but with the arsenal of skill position weapons in Atlanta, don't skimp on the big boys.

— Trust Thomas. In this frenzy, clubs that have strong leadership and sound decision-making will have an even bigger advantage than normal. That's where Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff comes in. Teams with the best organizations are going to have the best chance this year. There was a time that the previous sentence would have sent Johnny Falcons Fan into cardiac arrest. Now, it continues to add coal to the Super Bowl Steam Engine.

— Another pass rusher would be nice, too.

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    Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher James McDonald (53) walks to the dugout after pitching the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds during a baseball game in Pittsburgh Tuesday, July 19, 2011. The Pirates won 1-0, with McDonald getting the win. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Those pesky Pirates

After a two-hour rain delay, the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Braves 3-1. Violations of a couple of fundamental baseball rules cost the Braves on Monday.

— Walks are painful. Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson walked three Pirates — all three scored. That's 100 percent. There's your simple math lesson for the day.

— Missed opportunities are bad. The Braves left nine on base — including an empty sixth after loading the bases with one out — and scored once despite nine hits. The Pirates left five on base and scored three runs on just five hits.

Braves sidenote: Dan Uggla' had a single in the sixth inning Monday to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 16 games. When they said that last night while the 5-at-10 was watching the game, we thought Captain Misinformation Aaron Boone was doing the game. Later we learned that an error against Miguel Cairo on Sunday was ruled a hit Monday to extend the streak. Uggla has hit in every game since his season started over on July 5 (the 5-at-10 called it Season 2011, Part Deux). That said, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, Our Man Dan is the only player since 1900 to be under .200 at the end of 15-game hitting streak. So that has to mean Our Man Dan is the only player since 1900 to be under .200 at the end of a 16-game hitting streak, too. That's your second simple math lesson of the day.

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    Michael Patrick of the Knoxville News Sentinel
    Lane Kiffin waits in the hallway, Tuesday, Jan 12, 2010 waiting for television stations to kill their live feed of his press conference.

This and that

— Hey, it appears the gift that is Lane Kiffin keeps on giving for Johnny Vols Fan. Wow, Kiffin and his staff "were provided no fewer than 135 rules-education items," according to our UT ace Patrick Brown in his story in today's TFP. Wow. Kiffin and Co. were in Knoxville for roughly 13 months, so they got roughly 10 "rules-education items" a month (yes, that's another simple math lesson for today).

— There are swirling reports now that Terrelle Pryor may not be eligible for the NFL's supplemental draft. Dude can't catch a break, huh? Know what the 5-at-10 does when it feels like the chips are stacked against us. That's right we go get a new tat. Go TP, go on and treat yourself.

— The rhetoric from college football media days is staggering. Our head hurts. Let's just move along.

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    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell answers a question during a news conference in this file photo. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Today's question

Did the lockout affect your feeling about the NFL? Will you watch? Will you boycott? Do you view the NFL as background noise while you drink Bud Lights on Sundays? Who won, the players and D. Smith or the owners and R. Goodell?


about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
Eustice_Chase said...

I stand Corrected...thank you PDavi

I obviously missed that

July 26, 2011 at 10:06 a.m.
patrickd said...

Not sure if anybody saw it, but I thought the Robert Kraft and Jeff Saturday thing was pretty special yesterday. The back story, Robert Kraft's wife lost her battle with cancer and was buried Friday. While Kraft stayed by her side he fought for this deal and is cited by players and owners as the single most influential person to this deal actually getting done. Jeff Saturday thanking Kraft's wife for her strength to the very end in allowing her husband to do what he did was special.

I don't know much but when players and owners both agree 1 person was pivital, I'll buy go with it.

July 26, 2011 at 10:15 a.m.
chas9 said...

How can the Titans be spending that much money and be that bad? But do we really care? The Falcons are our home team (pro division) and the Titans are just a boring distraction. You know this.

July 26, 2011 at 11:02 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Still no MMA in the TFP huh ?

But to answer the question about the NFL...I think its great they got a deal that for the time being they can both be happy with.

Dan Uggla a 16 game hitting streak and he is still under 200...that just goes to show you the level of awfulness he was at...

July 26, 2011 at 11:31 a.m.
jgreeson said...

PDavi —

Agree about the Kraft-Saturday moment. It was real and human and cool. Kraft, who lost his wife to cancer in the last week, obviously walked in there and said, "Gang, we don't know about hardships. We're billionaires squabbling with millionaires. There are real hardships in the world and this ain't it. Let's get it done."

9er —

The Falcons have a chance to be special this fall. And in truth, so do the Titans — just in the other direction. At least we have actual football to discuss about the NFL though, and that's a good thing.

EC —

Agree about the deal.

Agree about Uggla.

And agree about MMA — we can see something in as an advance on the Ortiz fight. We've heard of both of those cats. And you can hold us to that one.

— 5-at-10

July 26, 2011 at 11:48 a.m.
BIspy4 said...

Yeah. Lockout's over. Whoop. Eee. What an utter waste of time and energy that was. What will Mort and Adam Schefter do now? How will ESPN fill 30 minutes of SportsCenter? Wait, what's LeBron up to this summer? Yeah, that's the ticket. More LeBron! We're geniuses!

Until he gets over the Mendoza line and stays there for a series, he's still Braves second baseman Dan Struggla. So you've got Struggla on a tear, Prado and Chipper back in the lineup, Old Man 10 actually homers in his return, Heyward back and healthy and the consistently productive Freeman and McCann ... and all you get is one run with all those baserunners last night? The only entity better at wasting opportunities to score is... never mind. Getting off track a little bit.

July 26, 2011 at 11:57 a.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Oh WOW!!!

So now I can ramble on about how this will be Tito's 25th Fight in the UFC and he has only fought one time outside of the promotion, right??

And that the winner will be the #1 Contender for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title, right ?

OK Glad to hear it!

I would like to ask the group... who gets signed first... Randy Moss or Plexico Burress ?

July 26, 2011 at noon
patrickd said...

I don't know what the big fuss was all about from the "There might now be football this year" crowd. As far as I know college football was never at risk of canceling their season. Whether or not NFL exists is neither here nor there to me. It really is no more than the equivalent of the seniors league in Golf.

July 26, 2011 at noon
Eustice_Chase said...

Is there any way the NFL Gets Toby Keith to sing the National Anthem for the 9-11 game ?

July 26, 2011 at 12:18 p.m.
patrickd said...

That would be awesome. He could follow it up with Angry American and when he says "We'll put a boot in your ass" a picture of Osama Bin Laden and Sadam Hussain's picture go up on the big screen.

July 26, 2011 at 12:20 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

You know, when the BIspy4 finally breaks down and decides to get married, I think I want Pastor Nelms to perform the service, especially after his prayer at Nashvegas last week. That was awesome!

July 26, 2011 at 12:34 p.m.
jgreeson said...

EC —

We're committed to the MMA this time. (Granted it's a non-binding verbal commitment... so this is what it feels like to be a big-time prospect. Cool.)

Burress will go first, but we think Moss has the bigger upside. Heard someone say on ESPN the other day that Moss was in full-blown "Me against the World" mode and was in super, Super, SUPER shape. That said, there has to be some buyer-beware flags with a guy that Tom Brady couldn't keep in line. (Although if he goes to a Green Bay or a Pittsburgh or an Indy, look out).

If Toby Keith gets to sing it, Sweet Whiskey for our men and Beer for our horses that would rock. Here's saying it's that big former fire fighter that sings "God Bless America" at the Yankees' games

PDavi —

College football is not in danger — unless of course there are so many teams on probation that only three teams are in the hunt for the national title.

BIspy —

You married? (Aut-O-MObile. Donger need food.) That dude's prayer is the second best NASCAR blast over the P.A. — right behind the dude that said, "Gentleman... and Jimmy Spencer start your engines." Married.... ha-ha-ha.

— 5-at-10

July 26, 2011 at 1:17 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Big fella, if and when (more if than when) that day comes you know you are invited to the bachelor party, should the wonderful Mrs. 5 at 10 (you said it ... you did marry up) grant you a hall pass.

July 26, 2011 at 1:21 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

quickly....Titans: T for Terrible. They are in disarray right now. Give them a few years and they'll be back.

The Falcons will be contending once again but will miss the game once more. I think they need to keep building defensively and JJ will make a great contribution to the receiving corp. The question is, can Green Bay repeat? who did they lose?! And how many more years does Manning have left in the tank? Talk about a need in the wide receiver Dept. And when do they go after Mannings heir? Do they go for Lusk in anticipation ......oh...sorry....Football withdraws....tryin to get everything caught up in one bad.

The Braves Achilles Heel all year has been run production and once again it has come back to bite them. If this issue isn't dealt with soon look for an early departure from the playoffs....if they even make it that far.

And are you kidding?!?! I am ready for some football!! Oh, last point: Georgia's back field is weaker than UT's linebackers....better late than never.

July 26, 2011 at 1:28 p.m.
jgreeson said...

Spy —

Done and done. Although finding a locale for the party (Doc's will have to be involved, and referring back to an earlier Toby Keith theme, "I love this bar,") will be easier than finding a Mrs. BIspy. You are quite particular.

Oso —

Welcome to the show.

T is for terribly terrible for the Titans. Falcons can and will make a run. Manning has at least five years left, depending on the neck injuries.

If the Braves can average 4.5 runs per, they are home free to the playoffs.

We think the UT linebackers are thinner than UGA RBs, but so it goes.

— 5-at-10

July 26, 2011 at 1:56 p.m.
Eustice_Chase said...

Holy Cow...5er...did you just mention Moss and Indy ? As in ...Moss may get signed by Indy...I know you are speculating..and believe me...I would love for that speculation to come to fruition...and IF it did..Moss could say he has played with the 3 top level QBs and Dante Culpepper....

Oso- I think UGA D-Line is bigger and stronger than UT's Pep Squad...

July 26, 2011 at 2:05 p.m.
bigbearzzz said...

i dont really know the break down of the Vols Linebacker and the expereince level coming into this year. But i do know that we (UGA) have a linebacker that was moved from RB cause there were more talented guys running the ball and now they are sticking back there again and a freshman who has yet to carry his first collegiate ball.

I for one would love to see Moss at Indy. I believe Manning my be able to rope that ego back under control a lil if he got up there. Having said that....they need a RB first.

July 26, 2011 at 2:34 p.m.
jgreeson said...

EC —

Let's get it started now... Moss and Manning, this Sunday on CBS. If Moss is motivated and under Manning's watchful eye, dude could have like a 20-TD season.

Are you talking about the UT Pep Squad or the infamous "Orange Pride" organization which got into some NCAA trouble and was pretty strong in their own way?

Oso —

Each group arguably is going to lean heavily on a freshman — UGA"s Isaiah Crowell and UT's AJ Johnson — and that's rarely a good thing at those spots in the SEC. That said, UT's linebackers are so bare that Nick Reviez graduated (that's right Nick Reviez, the former walk-on-turned-mega-overachiever) is going to be missed as much as any SEC defensive player this side of Marcel Dareus, Nick Fairley or Patrick Peterson. (Side note: Nick was undrafted; the other three were top 10 picks in the NFL draft.)

July 26, 2011 at 2:40 p.m.
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