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VOL. 38 | NO. 38 | Friday, September 19, 2014

So which Titans team will show up at Cincinnati?

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You only get one chance to make a first impression, as the old saying goes.

Such was the case Sunday at LP Field when the home fans got their first real look at Ken Whisenhunt’s first edition of the Tennessee Titans.

Sadly for Titans fans, Whisenhunt’s debut looked way too much like what we’ve already seen from the Titans over most of past decade. More mediocrity, less creativity and almost no reason for enthusiasm.

One game in, it’s way too early to make a judgment on Whisenhunt’s system or whether Jake Locker is the guy to run it.

But this much is evident, one game in. All the goodwill, hype and hope that was present during the preseason and season-opening win at Kansas City was gone by halftime in Sunday’s 26-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

And mind you, these aren’t father’s or your grandfather’s Dallas Cowboys who whipped the Titans at LP Field Sunday. There was no Roger Staubach or Too Tall Jones, no Emmitt Smith. Troy Aikman was only there, but only as a broadcaster for Fox.

This was a Cowboys team that had a much-maligned Tony Romo at quarterback and a defense that was more Whom’s Day and Doomsday, with a roster full of unknowns.

Still, anytime the Cowboys are involved, some of the spotlight invariably spills over onto the opponent, and for the Titans it was a missed opportunity to show their own fans, the Cowboys fans who showed up at LP Sunday and much of the nation at large watching on television that this was a new day and a new way in Tennessee.

Instead, the Titans treated everyone to more of the same bland brand that has become their identity for an eroding fan base, thirsting to see some kind of hope. That hope may yet abound as the Titans try to regroup beginning this week at Cincinnati.

But after Sunday’s futile effort, fans are left wondering which is the product, the Titans who won at Kansas City or who played so poorly against Dallas.

For a franchise now having to hustle to fill the stadium, and has routinely seen opposing fan bases with big following like the Cowboys, Steelers and Bears overtake LP Field and claim it as their own outpost, it couldn’t have been encouraging to hear the shouts of “Let’s Go, Cowboys” while Titans fans headed for the exits in the fourth quarter.

“No question it makes us mad, but that’s our fault,” cornerback Jason McCourty says. “If don’t want that to happen, then we have to handle our business throughout the game so that doesn’t happen.”

Safety Bernard Pollard gave a similar answer: “We can’t have that. If we want our fans to be in tune, to have our back and to call this thing the 12th man, we can’t play the way we are playing.”

Now, the Titans find themselves back to square one with tough road games at Cincinnati and Indianapolis before returning home Oct. 5 against Cleveland to try again to win back a fan base that has tired of the empty promises.

Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com and is a blogger for National Football Post.

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