5-at-10: Friday mailbag on Titans rebuild, crime consultant questions, draft trades, sports stars ahead of their time

Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel throws a ball as players warm up before an NFL football game against the Houston Texans Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Let's handle our business.

Rushmore of Howard -- Ron Howard, Howard Stern, Howard Cosell and Frank Howard, narrowly over Ken Howard. (And two of those Howards were light years ahead of their time. More on that in a moment.) Side question: Why has no one remade the "White Shadow" in this day and age? It does not have to be white dude going to the inner city. In fact, it could be based off the best Sports Illustrated story ever written in my mind. Gary Smith -- a brilliant features writer, and maybe the best sports features writer ever -- wrote an amazing story decades ago about a Black basketball coach in Ohio Amish country. If you remember it, you know. If you don't, well, here's a link. And you're welcome.

Rushmore of car racing movies -- Is "Cars" far left here? Also, need a ruling on "Smokey and the Bandit" because Bo was racing against time per se. And knowing this is going to get a stern talking to from Vader, I am 0-for-the Fast and Furious franchise, so they will not be making an appearance. So if we go "Cars" and "Smokey and the Bandit," we'll add "Talladega Nights" and "The Love Bug." Plus, an honorable mention to "Six Pack," which starred Kenny Rogers and included the ever-lovely Diane Lane as well as Robbie Still, who grew up in Smyrna and played baseball with me at Nickajack Park back in the day. If you are scoring at home, Still is the only the fourth-best known actor from the 30080 ZIP from back in the day. There was some lass named Julia Roberts, Walton Goggins, Julia's brother Eric and Still. So there's that.

Rushmore of "Rod" -- Spare the rod and spoil the child, Rodney Dangerfield (c'mon people, you knew he was going to make it for Al Czervik alone, never mind Thornton Melon), Hot Rod and fishing rod. Apologies Rod Stewart, who I always thought was overrated, to be honest, and Rowdy Roddy Piper, who was perpetually underrated.

Rushmore of "circus" -- Family Circus, the cartoon, "Monty Python's Flying Circus," three-ring circus and Piccadilly Circus.

To the mailbag

From RKOwens

I read in the TFP that the city of Chattanooga has hired a consultant at $250,000 for one year, to help reduce crime. This was a consultant who had previously worked for the city of Chicago. Does this raise questions in anyone's mind besides my own?


You bet it does. Because going to Chicago to find someone to "reduce" crime is like going to Georgia Tech for a football hire rather than going to Georgia.

Why find the place with the most dysfunction to bring in an "expert" when you can find a place doing good things to solve violent crimes. Heck, Chicago has not had this many active and accurate shooters since Steve Kerr and Craig Hodges were on the wings.

Also, I'm not the world's biggest "consultant" fan to begin with. You know? Shouldn't "reducing" crime kind of be in someone's job description high among the organization chart over at the CPD?

The whole consultant term makes me think of the Bobs from "Office Space," you know? And while we're here, if you are not a fan of "Office Space," well that's a you problem. Or you have never worked in an office.

From JTC

Doesn't a Titans rebuild start with a new head coach? And if so, does that automatically include a new QB1?


So we added a couple of questions from the comments from some regulars because I was unable to get to them this week. Man, week got busy, you know?

JTC's point must have been a good one, because a day after his question about the Titans, Tennessee fired four assistants, including OC Todd Downing.

Actually, last Saturday's game against Jacksonville was telling on a lot of fronts, especially for Downing, who was insistent on running the ball on first down against eight- and nine-man fronts.

OK, there's committed and there's stubborn, and this was clearly the latter.

I think Mike Vrabel has earned a chance to work through the rebuild, whether it's an offensive effort or a complete overhaul. It was just 12 months ago that Vrabel's Titans had the best record in the AFC and he was getting Coach of the Year chatter.

Go a step further, if Vrabel was handed a pink slip today, he'd be announced in Denver or Arizona by Monday morning, in my view.

The QB quandary, however, is real. This is the apex that Ryan Tannehill can reach, especially without an AJ Brown in the mix. And that's a telling apex since no QB in the league has a more effective play-action threat than Tannehill does with Derrick Henry.

In fact, the Titans are going to have to wonder how many more miles Henry has on those tires considering the bruising and physical way he's run the football for a decade-plus now.

Check these Henry numbers:

In high school, where he was one of the best prep RBs of all-time, the 2013 graduate of Yulee High in Florida had 1,397 carries for 12,124 yards and 153 TDs in his high school career.

At Alabama, in three seasons he had 602 carries, 3,591 yards and 42 rushing TDs.

In his NFL career, Henry has 1,750 carries for 8,335 yards and 78 TDs.

So since the fall of 2009, Derrick Lamar Henry Jr. has 3,749 carries against people trying to knock his block off for 24,050 yards, or roughly 13.67 miles with said folks trying to knock him down. That feels like a lot, and his Hall of Fame career feels kind of wasted at this point, no?

(Side question for the group: If he retired tomorrow, is Derrick Henry headed to Canton? Discuss.)

From Ted P

Jay, thanks for the Bowl contest. I have never won anything before!!!

Do you do other things like this through the year?

Thanks and thanks for the 5@10!


Congrats, and enjoy the prize pack.

We have the Bowling for Bowls of Bowl Game Success (bowler optional), which just completed. The Super Bowl props contest would be next. We have the March Madness First 1 out, last one in contest, the Masters Challenge, the Kentucky Derby contest, and I think that's it for the for sure contests.

The Masters one is my personal favorite, but thanks for playing and for reading.

From Justin

I read the 5 at 10 everyday. Man, you write a lot.

Your Rushmore today was on Howards and I 100% would put Howard Cosell on there.

Do you remember Cosell back on those Monday Night games? He was awesome.

Thanks for the column -- I look forward to it at work.


Thanks for reading, and when the Rushmore of Howard hit the interwebs this week, I too thought of Howard Cosell. I did not think about Monday Night Football as much as I thought about how much Howard Cosell was truly ahead of his time.

Like maybe more than anyone else across all of sports.

Think of the biggest sports media stars out there today. None were as good, as multi-talented -- Cosell was a play-by-play guy, a columnist, an analyst and essayist and amazing in live moments -- as smart or as bombastic as Cosell.

Who are the biggest stars at ESPN or across the sports media platform? Stephen A? Greeny?

Good Lord, Cosell would talk sports circles around those cats.

It also got me thinking about which stars from all sports were so far ahead of their time.

Baseball -- Guys like Frank Howard and Harmon Killebrew (and even a Dave Kingman) who embraced launch angle and the homer-or-walk-or-K approach when these analytic dudes were gleams in their daddies' eyes.

Basketball -- He was great then, but Larry Bird as a 6-10 marksman in today's live or die by the 3 basketball world would be amazing. Laimbeer would be more appreciated in today's game too as another big with 3-point skills.

Football -- Dan Fouts would have challenged every passing record in the game in today's NFL. Last game of the year, Brent, can't hold nothing back now.


From Steeler Fan

Hey Jay,

I know you are a big fan of the NFL draft. Here's an interesting footnote to the 2023 draw. Before the trade deadline, the Steelers traded Chase Claypool to the Bears for Chicago's second-round pick in 2023. Unfortunately for the Bears, Claypool continued to underperform for the remainder of the year. Meanwhile this "second-round" pick, which reverts to the Steelers, will now be pick No. 32, because the Dolphins forfeited their first round pick due to tampering.

Bottom line, the Steelers will have the first pick on the second day of the draft -- it will be like a late first-rounder. Here's my question: Is there a tactical advantage to owning the first pick on the second day of the NFL draft. It seems that after assessing their needs after Day 1, lots of teams would be willing to "trade-up" to snag that pick -- and pay a premium to do so. Too, the Steelers can entertain "best offers" essentially off the clock.


Steeler Fan

I love the draft. You know this.

And even as the 32nd pick, it will be the first pick of round 2, which is an important designation because first-round picks sign four-year contracts with a team option for the fifth year.

Second-round picks sign four-year deals and then can test free agency.

That's especially important for QBs.

As for your questions, there is a huge, huge, HUGE tactical advantage to having pick 1 of round 2.

The Steelers will know exactly who is on the board and will get to take their time to make the decision. And as you said, take their time to entertain other offers.

It's a huge advantage over having the Texans pick in Round 2, because no one would want to trade (and especially overpay) beforehand because their player could get snagged by the Steelers or whichever team deals with the Steelers.

That's even more pressure-packed when the second-round picks only have seven minutes between each pick as opposed to the 15 minutes between first-round picks.

And because of the way this played out, there's no way in heck the Bears would have dealt the No. 1 in round 2 for Chase Claypool earlier this fall.

So congrats.

Have a great weekend, friends.