franchise player

An early season analysis of the Houston Rockets

James Harden is on the verge of becoming a superstar, if he is not already. With a 35 point and a 45 point performance in his first two games as the starting shooting guard and the focal point for the Houston Rocket’s offense, Harden proved he has what it takes to be a franchise player in the league. It has become unbelievably obvious that Harden’s potential was limited in Oklahoma City, having to play third fiddle to superstars Kevin Durant and James Harden. Harden now lifts the lottery bound Rockets team to a completely different stratosphere- a playoff team.

Nevertheless, there are some serious obstacles the Rockets must overcome to really grow this season. Their first two wins of the season have masked the turnovers that could plague their offensive productivity this season. Although Jeremy Lin might seem to have turned out to be a solid point guard in the league, he is extremely turnover-prone. Add to that issue that Harden has to learn to play as the franchise player without turning over the ball too much.

Another impending issue is the veteran presence. For a talented roster like the Houston Rockets to flourish during the late season and into the playoffs, veteran leadership and poise is a must. However, the only starter over 25 years of age is dominant rebounding center Omer Asik. That will not suffice as the season moves on.

Eventually though, these problems will dissipate and the Rockets franchise will once again shine in the Western Conference. Don’t be surprised to see the Rockets contending for a championship within the next few seasons now that they have superstar James Harden to build around.

Tennessee Tians placed franchise tag on Michael Griffin Monday. a two-time Pro Bowler, Griffin starrted for Longhorns when they won a national title game against USC that season. His eight blocked punts are a Texas school record.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

The Tennessee Titans have tagged safety Michael Griffin as their franchise player.

The Titans announced the move Monday a couple hours before the NFL deadline to use the tag.

The move to tag Griffin still allows the Titans to work on a long-term contract before July 16 with the safety who was their first-round draft pick in 2007 out of Texas. Griffin was due to become an unrestricted free agent on March 13.

Another team could sign Griffin to a contract, but the franchise tag allows the Titans to either match the contract or be awarded two No. 1 draft picks.

“Tag your it,” Griffin wrote on Twitter after the Titans’ announcement.

By tagging Griffin, the Titans are on target to return both starting safeties.

The 6-foot Griffin is a two-time Pro Bowler, the last in 2010 when he led the team with four interceptions and ranked second on the team with a career-high 153 tackles. In 2011, he ranked third with 96 tackles and tied for the team lead with two interceptions. For his career, Griffin has started 73 of 80 games played and he has 17 career interceptions with seven forced fumbles and four fumbles recovered.