The Tennessee Titans will open the 2006 NFL season at home against the New York Jets on September 10th at 1:00 p.m.
The game will feature a pair of teams that were both 4-12 a year ago. The Titans have improved themselves with the acquisition of some key free agents and by virtue of an excellent draft. The Jets, too, had a tremendous draft, but they face a number of questions, one of which is at quarterback. They also have a new coach in Eric Mangini, who was Bill Belichick's defensive coordinator in New England.
Ironically, one of the free agents targeted by the Titans was Jets center Kevin Mawae. The thirteen year veteran brings some much needed leadership to a young offensive line where second year man Michael Roos is expected to replace Brad Hopkins at the all important left tackle spot. Wide receiver David Givens brings his two Super Bowl rings over from the Patriots and joins Drew Bennett to give the Titans a very productive receiving combination.
The Jets revamped their offensive line by selecting big offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson from Virginia with the fifth overall pick, and then adding tough center Nick Mangold from Ohio State. Thirty-three-year old running back Curtis Martin had off season knee surgery, and there is some speculation that the twelve year veteran's role may be reduced under new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.
Chad Pennington is coming off of his second major shoulder surgery, and the Jets brought in Patrick Ramsey from the Redskins as an insurance policy at quarterback. They also drafted highly regarded quarterback Kellen Clemens from Oregon, and he may be the Jets quarterback of the future.
Tennessee used the third overall pick in the draft to select their quarterback of the future, Vince Young of the National Champion Texas Longhorns. Young has all of the physical tools to be a great one for years to come. With the departure of Steve McNair, Billy Volek has inherited the starting job and Young will back him up and learn the offense, at least initially.
The Titans also selected big running back LenDale White from USC, and they hope they have found another Eddie George for the future. He should see some duty right away in a deep backfield that also includes former 1,000 yard rusher Chris Brown and former Tennessee Vol Travis Henry.
A bevy of promising young talent will be on hand when these two teams square off in the opener, and it should be very interesting to see which, if any, of the future stars will be showcased right away.
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