Robin Williams once said, “Comedy is acting out optimism.”
If that’s the case, the Tennessee Titans’ 2013 training camp, which opens next week, is this city’s version of the Laff-a-Lympics.
Right now, optimism is all that most folks have.
The Titans aggressively pursued free agents, happily used their first-round draft pick on the player they needed the most and shuffled the coaching staff. At first blush, it was one of the most proactive and productive offseasons in recent memories. There was an honest assessment of where the team was in terms of its talent and potential, and a concerted effort was made to address all of the perceived shortcomings.
As each transaction unfolded general manager Ruston Webster, coach Mike Munchak and their staffs became noticeably giddier. No doubt there came a point when those two closed to door to one of their offices, looked across the desk at each other, and chuckled at what they perceived to be their good fortune and the fruits of their labor and what it all meant for the coming season.
At this point there is no way to know for sure but just maybe it is enough to end a four-year playoff drought, the franchise’s longest since it relocated from Houston.
Right now, all that the fans (management and coaches too, for that matter) can do is believe that the additions of Andy Levitre and Chance Warmack to the offensive line will make Chris Johnson look more like the running back he was in 2009 than the one he has been the last two seasons.
Those whose Monday disposition are directly tied to how the Titans fare on Sunday have no choice but to accept the idea that Kenny Britt will be healthy, productive and the type of player who makes Jake Locker look like a quarterback who was worthy of being taken within the first 10 picks of the 2011 draft.
Everyone must trust that an attitude adjustment courtesy of veteran coach Gregg Williams and free agent safety Bernard Pollard will, in fact, make the defense more aggressive and opportunistic, that tight end Delanie Walker will be the player Jared Cook never was and that the group of young linebackers play like seasoned veterans.
If folks don’t buy into all of that then what’s the point of standing in the summer sun to watch training camp workouts or to pour into the stadium by the river to watch preseason games that often are as exciting as a faucet drip?
For those who are so inclined, the last few months should have provided more than enough reason to believe the glass is half full. And the good news for the Titans is the fact that this is a town where people come to pursue dreams (and some actually achieve them) so there are more than a few who actually are inclined to see things that way.
The NFL long ago staked its claim on competitive balance, and the idea that any team can forge a dramatic reversal of fortune from one season to the next. That’s a big part of why the league and its owners continue to laugh all the way to the bank while franchises and leagues in other sports struggle to keep up with their rising costs.
This is a happy time, one in which fans in all 32 NFL cities giggle at the thought of what their team might accomplish in the coming months. Optimism reigns. Hope prevails. What might be trumps what has been.
Ultimately, reality will set in for most and the laughter will fade. As the aforementioned Williams titled his 1979 album: Reality … What A concept.