by Terry McCormick
With what happened this week regarding the release of quarterback Zach Mettenberger, it is obvious that new general manager Jon Robinson is not one to keep spare parts that no longer fit around.
Mettenberger, once thought by former coach Ken Whisenhunt to be a possible quarterback of the future for the Titans, now reunites with his old boss in San Diego, after the Chargers claimed him off waivers on Tuesday.
But back to the Titans’ situation.
Mettenberger’s demeanor and approach improved last year over the sometimes flippant approach he took as a rookie. And that was a good thing for his maturation as an NFL player. But the bottom line was that his production did not take a step forward in year two, and as such Coach Mike Mularkey and Robinson decided it was time for the Titans and Mettenberger to go their separate ways.
That move came just a couple of weeks after the Titans put Chance Warmack on notice for 2016 by declining his expensive club option for 2017, and essentially making the coming season a put-up or shut-up situation for him.
Such a move should put plenty of other Titans who will get the opportunity to take part in the off-season and training camp.
Guys like Justin Hunter, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Bishop Sankey and Marqueston Huff – all of whom have either not produced in a regular role or not developed a defined one beyond special teams – have to know that they come into 2016 on the bubble to stay on the 53-man roster.
That’s what usually happens when a brand new regime comes in. Robinson has quickly shown that he has no allegiance to players selected by Mike Reinfeldt or Ruston Webster or coached by Mike Munchak or Ken Whisenhunt.
With a new coach and general manager on board, the message was that everyone gets a fresh start. And that is true. But the caveat to that is that there are no past loyalties or high draft statuses for those players to cling to.
Just because a player was a second- or third-round pick three or four years ago, if some seventh-rounder, undrafted rookie or street free agent is doing what the coaching staff wants a little better (and maybe a little cheaper), then that guy is going to win out.
Robinson learned this from the New England Patriots, where guys like Malcolm Butler go from being undrafted Division II players to Super Bowl heroes. And that philosophy is good enough for the Pats, then it should be plenty good enough for the Titans.
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