The Bishop Sankey Dilemma

By on December 28, 2015
 Bishop Sankey (20) runs for a short gain during the first half against the Buffalo Bills at Nissan Stadium. (photo Christopher Hanewinckel / USA TODAY Sports)

Bishop Sankey (20) runs for a short gain during the first half against the Buffalo Bills at Nissan Stadium. (photo Christopher Hanewinckel / USA TODAY Sports)

I hate to see a good thing go to waste… but even more so I hate to see a great talent not being utilized to its fullest potential, and that is what I see in Tennessee this season. The Titans outlook heading into the season was pretty high, a new QB, the 2nd overall pick in the draft (Mariota), a giant Wide Receiver in Dorial Green-Beckham and running back Bishop Sankey. Sankey had shown flashes of his ability in his rookie season, he started 9 games and rushed for just over 500 yards, not a bad start to a career.

Well things didn’t turn out the way I thought they would for the Titans, and I can put the blame on the coaching staff, they did such a remedial job the Head Coach was canned thus leading to more turbulence on the field. The Titans are going to be drafting in the top 3 picks again, they will be looking for a new Head Coach and they still can’t figure out what their identity is.

The Titans did themselves no favors this season, they didn’t seem to be interested in developing young talent, nope they decided to put the weight on a rookie QB that was unfamiliar with an offense that was pretty much a lame duck. To date the Titans have ran the ball 333 times, that’s 27th in the league, only more than the Ravens, Browns, Jags, Lions and Dolphins… notice something about those teams? They are missing the playoffs.

Let me get into the meat of this here… Bishop Sankey is too good of a player to be so underutilized and it’s sickening to me. He is still in his rookie contract so I doubt he gets traded, I doubt he gets cut and I doubt he is happy about either, if it were me, I would rather the Titans cut me now, let me work out for the right teams and move on with my life.

In his rookie season Bishop ran the ball 152 times, this season… only 41 times. How can a coaching staff expect a player to develop when you don’t let them touch the ball? Bishop has the size, strength, speed, work ethic and IQ to start every game and play 3 downs in the process. He picks up the rushing defenders, he can catch the ball and most importantly he is that work-horse style guy. But let’s only give the kid 41 carries for the year; let’s bump him down on the depth chart because we want our QB to do everything… UNACCEPTABLE!!!

Running Backs need to find their rhythm just as a QB does and carrying the ball 41 times is not the answer. For Bishop to be successful and reach his full potential he needs to carry the rock about 15-20 times a game. This season he only has two games in which he carried the ball in double digits, no chance to get in sync at that rate… not a chance in hell.

What should Bishop do? As I mentioned earlier he is still in his rookie deal so the options are limited, he can hope for the best with the new coaching staff and cross his fingers the Titans draft Laremy Tunsil. The Titans have all the makings to be a playoff team, with the right coaching and system in place. You can say the NFL is a pass first league but looking at the top teams they all run the ball very well. Put Bishop on the Panthers or the Cardinals and he would have had over 1,000 yards this year, they are both teams that are winning and use the run very well.

I’ve put together a few scenarios that shed some light at the end of this long dark tunnel.

  1. Titans hire Hue Jackson as their next head coach. Jackson loves to use his running backs in multiple formations and he gets the best out of them. The Titans draft Laremy Tunsil from Ole Miss in the 1st round and move Lewan to Right Tackle. This would give the Titans one of the best Offensive Lines in the NFL and would provide more than enough room for Sankey to cut, plow and sprint.

  1. Sankey sucks it up until his rookie contract is over, works out for a host of teams that would truly appreciate his ability.

  1. He gets cut and has the chance to work out for the right teams.

  1. Asks the Titans to release him so he can go work out for other teams.

These might not seem like great options, but they are his only options. I don’t see the Titans cutting him or releasing him, so let’s hope for a Hue Jackson hire. I believe he is the only coach that can turn the Titans franchise around. He has the weapons in place; he has the know-how to get the best out his offensive players, granted he will need to add some help on defense but the offensive side of the ball should be solid after this draft.

The problem with Jackson hire is simple… I can’t remember the last the Titans organization made a smart move dealing with coaches, so in the end they will probably hire a coach that knows nothing about the necessity of the running game.

If Bishop does have a chance to work out for other teams I strongly suggest he looks at the following teams.

  1. Houston Texans:

Arian Foster is constantly banged up and the Texans need a true every down Back, Bishop is that guy. The have a defense in place and one of the best Wide Receivers in the NFL, they are a Quarterback and a Sankey away from making them a top notch team.

  1. Dallas Cowboys:

The Cowboys need a Running Back almost as bad as a fish needs water, they have a fantastic Offensive Line and when healthy a workable QB. Bishop would be the workhorse they desperately need.

  1. New Giants:

The Giants may be getting a new coach, maybe not… I’ve been wrong about Coughlin getting fired for years now. Either way the Giants have not been able to find a true 3 down guy since Tiki left and here is their chance to not just plug the hole but to right the ship for the future.

  1. New York Jets:

The Jets ran the ball well this season, Chris Ivory ran great to start the but I think it’s more system than him. The Jets will look for a RB in the draft so maybe moving for Bishop now would make sense for them.

  1. Cleveland Browns:

The Browns will see another new coach, another new Offensive Coordinator and maybe a new QB, so I’m not sure the Browns would a great fit from Bishop but seeing how he was born in Wadsworth, Ohio and his family is in the area that would be a fantastic hometown move, and the Fans would LOVE TO HAVE HIM IN ORANGE AND BROWN!

  1. New England Patriots:

Bishop fits the mold here; he is a high IQ guy that wants to help his team, not just himself. He is versatile and does everything asked of him. Although he may not get the 200 reps a season, he will be used every down and he would have the chance to truly contribute to his team and I think that in the end he wants that more than anything.

The Titans wasted a year of Bishop Sankey’s career by not using him, they’ve prevented him from developing into an every down Back, and they stunted his growth as a player. In the long run this lackluster season may be the best thing to ever happen to him. Bishop was faced with challenges and hurdles all year, but he can and will overcome them. You see this is a young man with a work ethic and support unit that is hard to match. Bishop will be successful in the NFL, I doubt it will be in Tennessee, but he will find a home and once he does he will set out to prove just how many mistakes the Titans organization made with him, from not using him enough or in the right functions to pushing him around the depth chart. The Titans, in the end will be the ones to suffer, while Bishop and whichever team he calls home will reap the rewards of such a well-rounded player and young man.

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