published Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

5 at 10: Tennessee Titans, Chipper Jones and College Football news

Still a lot going on, and we tried to stay away from college hoops today because there's going to be a ton of bracket stuff from here on in. But remember the First-Out, Last-In challenge, where you pick the first No. 1 seed to get bounced (and start time does matter if two No. 1 seeds get bounced in the same round) and the last double-digit seed left in the tournament. You could win stuff.

From the "Talk Too Much studios," let's go.



  • photo
    Tennessee Titans Michael Roos (71), Michael Otto (66), Jurrell Casey (99) and William Hayes (95) stand in the tunnel before the NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Free agent frenzy

The Tennessee Titans appear to be poised to be a player in free agency. We talked Monday about owner Bud Adams' desire to land Peyton Manning, and the former Colts QB is slated to meet with Tennessee coach Mike Munchak sometime this week.

Now reports are circling that the Titans are going to make a run at standout defensive end Mario Williams and will host future Hall of Fame guard Steve Hutchinson. Wow, you go Titans.

Manning is still the biggest name out there. There are reports that Denver may be the front-runner despite having Tim Tebow. A lot of folks have asked whether signing Manning would be fair for Tebow, who helped Denver go on a six-game winning streak to get into the playoffs and led the Broncos to a playoff win over Pittsburgh.

Two things: There is no fair in football roster management. Every team is doing whatever they can to make their roster as good as possible. So to paraphrase William Money, fair's got nothing to with it. Second, if Denver is looking for a way to supplant Tebow, who is a rock star with the Broncos fan base despite his unorthodox approach and sketchy accuracy, the Broncos will have to go get someone like Manning. You can't tell Tebow to sit down for run-of-the-mill veteran, but you can introduce Peyton and let the chips fall where they may.

(Side question: If Denver does sign Peyton, what would the trade market be for Tebow? Here's saying Jacksonville would part with a first-round pick, but everyone else would be hesitant to part with anything more than a third-round pick.



  • photo
    Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones signs autographs for fans before a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Spring training

The big news out of Braves camp comes from Chipper Jones' recent quotes about retirement.

Here's what he told reporters:

“Tomorrow might be my last day. I don’t know. I don’t really focus on it that much. The body is starting to tell me every morning when I wake up that it’s getting close. I’m signed through the end of this year. If I play a certain amount of games, I got an option for next year. I don’t know what next year entails. I don’t know if I can make it through this year.”

Before we read too much into any of that, Jones has always been one of the more upfront superstars in sports. He speaks off the cuff, and because of that says things that can be taken a number of different ways. (And before we go any further, we'll say that we try to never spin a quote, especially from someone as candid as Jones. There are far too many cliche machines and Commander Blahs out there, and the reason for that people that shoot-straight frequently get burned by people taking quotes out of context. OK, tangent is complete.)

We believe Chipper will play pretty well this year — that said, he should go to Fredi G and say, "Coach, hit me sixth and let's make a final run at this thing." And then there will be a lot of soul-searching on each side if he doesn't reach the 123 games to extend his contract.

So far this spring Chipper is 0-for-8 with three walks. (We could insert a few Dan Uggla jokes here, but nevermind.)



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    Georgia's Branden Smith (1) gets in front of Tennessee Tech cornerback Josh Paz (20) on a long gain during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday Nov. 7, 2009, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Amis)

College football news and notes

— Our SEC ace David Paschall covers some UGA bases this morning including the legal trouble for Branden Smith and the contract extensions for Mark Richt and Todd Grantham.

— UNC was hit pretty hard with scholarship reductions and a year postseason ban. This seems about right, and man, the bar has been raised for NCAA troublemakers right? The days of secondary violations for too many text messages seem like a lifetime ago, right? (And we haven't even got to the Miami rulings yet.)

— Penn State officials said Monday that Joe Paterno was fired for a lack of leadership. Hey, we've been in support of firing Joe Paterno as soon as the news of the Sandusky nightmare became known. But did they really need to release that statement now, considering the man has died and the decision is long in the rear view?



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    Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss (84) hands the football to a fan along the sidelines after catching a 49-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Randall Cunningham during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Nov. 22, 1998, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid)

This and that

— When did the Olive Garden become the place to make things happen? First, Marilyn Hagerty, a restaurant critic for the Grand Forks (Iowa) Herald, writes a glowing review of the Olive Garden that has gone viral. Now reports come down that Matt Shaner, the owner of the Pittsburgh Power of the Arena Football League, fired his entire team at a pregame meal at an Orlando-area Olive Garden. Yep, the whole bunch. It was a move designed to bust the AFL players union (yeah, we had no idea either) before the players went on strike. Some of the players quit the union and played Saturday against Orlando. Those that did not quit the union were also responsible for their own transportation home.

— Quietly on Tuesday, Randy Moss found a new home. Moss signed an incentive-laden one-year deal with San Francisco on Tuesday. Good move all around, and here's saying that Moss will help the 49ers. After a year away, Moss figures to be motivated and Jim Harbaugh seems to be a coach with the persona to control the erractic star receiver. And it's not like the 49ers are flush at wide receiver. The last San Fran receiver to have a 1,000-yard season was Terrell Owens in 2003.

— The Lady Vols drew the No. 2 seed in the same bracket with unbeaten Baylor. That's a tall order. The Lady Mocs were invited to the WNIT and will play Memphis. Good luck to all.

— President Obama is planning on attending tonight's First Four matchup between Mississippi Valley State and Western Kentucky. Call it grandstanding in Ohio — likely an election swing state in 2012 — or what ever you like. And yes, there are certainly bigger issues out there for his attention, but c'mon it is what it is. (That said, we feel bad for WKU fans or MVSU fans trying to get into that game. Security will be brutal.)



Today's question

Who has the better chance to return to elite status: Peyton Manning or Tiger Woods?

Discuss.

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 ...

3
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choptalker said...

Mr. 10:

Chipper has had his ups: World Series, Batting Title, MVP, narrowly losing the ROY to Hideo Nomo (how'd that one turn out?) — and his downs: Hootersgate, post season failures, injuries.

As a kid in Atlanta in the 1990s, I can remember Chipper writing a diary in the AJC during the 20+ game road trip during the 1996 Olympics. For the record, March 29 is the 15 year anniversary of the Chipper Candy Bar: http://bapple2286.wordpress.com/2009/03/29/on-this-date-in-baseball-history-the-chipper-jones-candy-bar-debuts/

I see him as the National League's Derek Jeter. He's my number two favorite Brave of all time behind Maddux. How is he seen nationally?

Take a look into the 5@10 Crystal Ball and take a guess. How do you see this playing out? Does he pull a Mike Schmidt and get mad in May and just leave? Does he hang it up this spring? Does he embarrass himself like Ken Griffey Junior?

Also, what would his sudden departure do to the Braves? Do they make a knee jerk trade for an outfield bat?

-aj

March 13, 2012 at 10:44 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Chopper —

Great question. Want the answer here or in Friday's mailbag?

Chipper is a HoFer for certain and his ups have far surpassed his downs. Where would you rank the Chipper Jones candy bar? Better than a Whatchamacallit but not quite a Nestle Crunch?

Psmith —

We have long heard rumors that Big Red was actually a metaphor for Communism, and if they let that Big Red menace into the gym tonight, well, the terrorists have won.

Go Hilltoppers.

— 5-at-10

March 13, 2012 at 12:23 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

You ain't kidding about security with a presidential visit. Been to a few presidential events with two different presidents (same last name, though ... and it was not Adams or Harrison. Or Roosevelt. I'm not that old. Shut it, 5). I was in the middle of an Army base, a locked down military installation, and there were still guys in black with sniper rifles on the rooftop scanning the crowd for "problems."

It would be hard to think of the Braves without Chipper (insert your own "why should it be hard, because they've played without him most of the last couple years anyway" shot here). But that team has some flaws already. Need a power bat in the outfield. Need a manager who won't burn out the bullpen by mid-May. But I digress.

First out, last in. I say first 1 seed done is Michigan State. Last in? Hmm ... trying to choose between Davidson, Xavier and NC State. Sticking with the Musketeers.

March 13, 2012 at 1:41 p.m.
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