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Tennessee Titans Football

Titans Turn to Ground Game for TD

Posted by Craig Peters on December 22, 2013 – 2:19 pm

A short touchdown by Shonn Greene has brought the Titans within three points at 16-13 with 4:01 left in the third quarter.

After opening the possession with three straight throws, including a 15-yard completion from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Nate Washington on third-and-3, the Titans ran the ball eight straight plays.

Chris Johnson had runs of 4, 8 and 9 to move the ball to the Jacksonville 46-yard line. Tennessee then brought in Shonn Greene, who gained 3 before busting lose for a 29-yarder, the team’s longest run of the day. Greene took the next three carries for 2, 2 and the 1-yard score. Greene broke tackles by Paul Posluszny and Johnathan Cyprien.


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Bironas Passes 100-point Mark

Posted by Craig Peters on December 22, 2013 – 1:33 pm

A 45-yard field goal by Rob Bironas gave the Titans a 3-0 lead over the Jaguars with 9:05 remaining in the first quarter in Jacksonville.

The three-pointer gave the nine-year pro 101 points for the season, marking the seventh straight season in which Bironas has recorded at least 100 points.

Ryan Fitzpatrick connected with Nate Washington for consecutive completions of 26 and 25 yards in between runs of five and nine yards by Chris Johnson, but the drive that began at the Tennessee nine-yard line stalled at the Jacksonville 27.

The Jaguars answered the score with a touchdown drive that ended with a short pass from Chad Henne to Marcedes Lewis. That play was preceded by a screen pass by Henne to center Brad Meester for a gain of nine. It was the first career catch for Meester, a 14-year NFL veteran who plans to retire at the end of the season.

Bironas added a season-long 52-yard field goal with 1:55 remaining in the first half, but Jacksonville responded with a touchdown drive. The Jaguars went 60 yards in 1:12, capitalizing on a kickoff that went out of bounds, but Bernard Pollard blocked Josh Scobee’s extra point.

Jacksonville leads 13-6 at halftime, with Tennessee set to receive the ball to start the second half.


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Titans Score TD to End First Quarter

Posted by Craig Peters on December 15, 2013 – 4:09 pm

The Tennessee Titans answered a touchdown drive by the Arizona Cardinals with a touchdown drive.

Ryan Fitzpatrick and Chris Johnson celebrate their TD pass that ended the first quarter.

Ryan Fitzpatrick and Chris Johnson celebrate their TD pass that ended the first quarter.

Ryan Fitzpatrick got solid initial blocking, then bought extra time in the pocket and found Chris Johnson down the left sideline through a window in the defense. Johnson caught the ball, smoothly accelerated and made a nifty cut intl the end zone for a 10-7 lead as the first quarter expired. The drive also included a 12-yard run by Johnson and a 22-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to Delanie Walker on a cleverly designed play.

The Titans took a 3-0 lead on the Arizona Cardinals with 9:34 left in the first quarter at LP Field.

Rob Bironas kicked a 45-yard field goal to cap an eight-play, 37-yard drive that lasted 4:28.

The Titans won the coin toss, deferred and forced a quick three-and-punt by the Cardinals.

Leon Washington returned the punt nine yards, and Fitzpatrick opened with consecutive completions to Nate Washington and Walker. Johnson gained 6 on his first carry, and Tennessee followed with a screen pass to Kendall Wright that gained 7.

Johnson added runs of 2 and 5 to bring up a third-and-3. Fitzpatrick lost the ball as he was trying to elude pressure, but center Brian Schwenke caught the ball and plowed forward two yards to set up the field goal.

Arizona responded with a nine-play, 77-yard drive that Rashard Mendenhall ended with a 1-yard TD run. Carson Palmer was 3-of-3 passing for 53 yards on the drive.

The Cardinals tied the game at 10 on a 25-yard field goal by Jay Feely with 7:21 left in the first half to end a 13-play, 67-yard drive that lasted 7:39.


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Titans, Cardinals Feature NFL’s Top Current “Iron Man” Receivers

Posted by Gary Glenn on December 12, 2013 – 12:58 pm

wash-fitz121213Between the Titans and Cardinals, this week’s matchup is expected to feature the two active NFL wide receivers with the longest current streaks of consecutive games: Tennessee’s Nate Washington and Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald.

Washington has played in the last 125 games, a streak that began with the 2006 season opener, when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played in 48 consecutive games for the Steelers before signing with the Titans as an unrestricted free agent in 2009, and he has not missed a game in his five seasons in Tennessee (77 games).

Fitzgerald is second on the current “iron man” list for wide receivers. He has appeared in the last 97 games for the Cardinals, every contest since he was inactive on Dec. 2, 2007 with a groin injury.

The next-closest wide receiver to Washington and Fitzgerald on the consecutive-games list is Chicago’s Eric Weems, at 83 games.

Active NFL wide receivers with the longest current consecutive-games streaks:

RECEIVER

125 – Nate Washington – Tennessee
97 – Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona
83 – Eric Weeks – Chicago
61 – Brandon Tate – Cincinnati
56 – Eric Decker – Denver

Two other members of the Titans own the longest current games-played streaks at their respective positions. Chris Johnson leads all running backs with 77 straight games, while Rob Bironas has the highest number for all place kickers at 141 straight contests.

RUNNING BACK

77 – Chris Johnson – Tennessee
61 – Anthony Dixon – San Francisco
60 – Toby Gerhart – Minnesota
45 – Jacquizz Rodgers – Atlanta
45 – Frank Gore – San Francisco
40 – Danny Woodhead – San Diego

PLACE KICKERS

141 – Rob Bironas – Tennessee
134 – David Akers – Detroit
109 – Mason Crosby – Green Bay
100 – Josh Scobee – Jacksonville
92 – Jay Feely – Arizona


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Ryan Fitzpatrick Uses Legs, Arm on TD Drive

Posted by Craig Peters on December 1, 2013 – 1:48 pm

Ryan Fitzpatrick used a combination of legs and his arm to give Tennessee a 7-6 lead early in the second quarter at Indianapolis.

Fitzpatrick was 4-of-5 passing for 53 yards and added a 16-yard scramble and 1-yard touchdown dive. The score was set up by a nifty move by Chris Johnson during an 11-yard catch and run.

The drive also included a 31-yard pass to Nate Washington one play after officials ruled that Delanie Walker did not catch a pass. Walker was injured on the play.

It was Fitzpatrick’s third rushing TD of the season and ninth of his career.

The Colts answered the touchdown with the third field goal of the day by Adam Vinatieri, who added a fourth at the end of the first half to give Indianapolis a 12-7 lead.

The final field goal followed an interception of Fitzpatrick by Cassius Vaughn and capped a drive that was extended by an unnecessary roughness penalty against Moise Fokou.


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Titans’ Long Drive Ties Score vs. Raiders

Posted by Craig Peters on November 24, 2013 – 3:52 pm

The Tennessee Titans tied the Oakland Raiders at 3 after putting together a 14-play, 59-yard drive that lasted 7:17.

After a holding penalty on Tennessee’s first offensive snap, Ryan Fitzpatrick made consecutive completions to Nate Washington. The drive was then extended by a roughing the passer penalty for a helmet-to-helmet hit by Sio Moore on Fitzpatrick.

The Titans converted two third-and-11s on the possession with completions of 16 yards to Washington and 13 to Justin Hunter. The Raiders, however, forced a 33-yard field goal by Rob Bironas.

The drive was the second-longest in terms of time of possession this season for Tennessee, behind a 14-play, 80-yard drive that lasted 7:20 at Houston.


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Titans WR Coach Shawn Jefferson: Kendall Wright “Well on his Way”

Posted by Craig Peters on October 31, 2013 – 11:42 pm

Titans receivers coach Shawn Jefferson said Kendall Wright is “well on his way to becoming one of the top playmakers” in the slot and he’s “pleasantly surprised” with the way the second-year pro has handled playing outside in two-receiver formations.

Kendall Wright has team bests of 40 receptions and 237 yards after catches this season.

Kendall Wright has team bests of 40 receptions and 237 yards after catches this season.

“He’s blessed with a rare skillset of hands, hand-eye coordination. He has above average speed and for his size, he plays big,” Jefferson said. “The thing I love about him the most is when the ball is in his hands, that’s when he’s the most dangerous. He can make a person miss and create yards after the catch.”

Wright has a team-best 40 receptions for 433 yards (10.8 per catch) with one touchdown, and 237 of those receiving yards have come after the catch, ranking him 14th in the NFL in that category.

The Titans have moved Wright to the lead “X” position in the offense opposite Nate Washington in the “Z” position when they are in two-receiver sets, and he’s handled the challenge. Wright’s success early against Seattle prompted the Seahawks to shift their coverage. He tied a career-high with nine receptions the following week against the 49ers while working outside and in the slot.

“It’s gone good for me. I like it. As long as I’m out there on the field I’m capable of making plays so I don’t mind being on the inside or outside,” Wright said. “I like both and feel like most of my production has come from the inside this year, but it’s good that I can do both. We have a lot of receivers out here that can do both. I don’t prefer to slide more to the outside. I just want to be on the field.”

Wright has had at least five catches in six games this season and 21 of his catches have resulted in first downs.

Jefferson said an analogy for Wright is a basketball gym rat that would dive across the floor at the sight of a basketball and the player who would get to it first.

Wright’s first love was basketball, but now he just shoots hoops from time to time to clear his head.

Jefferson said Wright’s decision to focus on football is boding well for him wherever he is on the field.

“Kendall is blessed with lateral quickness and he’s very good in his short area quickness,” Jefferson said. “I’m not as worried anymore when he’s one that outside because of his quickness. He’s just a playmaker.”


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Jake Locker Preparing as if He’s Playing

Posted by Craig Peters on October 17, 2013 – 9:05 pm

The timeline for Jake Locker’s return will be less about mentality and more about mobility.

Jake Locker practiced for the second straight day Thursday as he is recovering from hip and knee sprains he suffered Sept. 29.

Jake Locker practiced for the second straight day Thursday as he is recovering from hip and knee sprains he suffered Sept. 29.

In the mind of the third-year quarterback and second-year starter, he’s preparing like he’s going to play, the same way he’s prepped the past two weeks when he was clearly not going to play.

“I think mentally that’s important so you don’t ever lose that edge,” Locker said Thursday. “You prepare like you’re going to play, and I’m doing nothing different this week.”

Locker participated in drills Wednesday and did more Thursday, taking snaps in 11-on-11 and testing his mobility. The Titans also want to see how his body responds, and coach Mike Munchak is waiting to make a decision on Locker’s availability for Sunday when Tennessee (3-3) hosts San Francisco (4-2) at LP Field.

“I just wanted to get in and do everything I could every day to get better and try to get back on the field as soon as possible. That’s what I’ve tried to do and my body has responded well,” Locker said. “There’s certain things that don’t feel normal yet, but I’m feeling pretty good, and every day I’m trying to progress with that stuff. There’s just new things each day and seeing what feels good and where my comfort level is with it.”

Locker has worn a large brace on his leg the past two days, which has given him confidence in his right hip and knee that were sprained on Sept. 29.

Titans coach Mike Munchak increased the simulated stress around Locker during Thursday’s practice to get a more accurate assessment for how he’s progressing.

“He did more individually and (we) pushed him more (Thursday), had him moving more, and those types of things,” Munchak said. “It’s kind of wait and see really where he’s at. We don’t want to ever say he can’t do anything, so we’ll just wait until (Friday) and see.”

The return to that much activity has provided an encouraging lift for Titans players and coaches, who have dropped the past two games.

“It’s good to see him back on the field and able to move around and do some things, so that gives us excitement with where he’s going,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “He’s a tough kid, a strong-minded kid and we’re excited about getting him back out here.”

Receiver Nate Washington said as soon as doctors learned Locker hadn’t suffered structural damage, “I knew he was going to be back out there in no time. He’s a fighter, a guy that takes pride in his work.”

Loggains said it was obvious how much Locker wanted to play at Seattle last week because it was so close to Locker’s hometown of Ferndale, Wash.

The Titans have their bye next week, which would allow that much more time to re-establish the rhythm Locker was developing with receivers.

As much as Locker wants to return this week, he said he’d temper that by being “honest with (coaches and trainers) and tell them how I’m feeling and how my body feels, some of the limitations I might have. I think honesty is always the best.”


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Titans WRs Tag QBs Coach Dave Ragone with Pies

Posted by Craig Peters on October 3, 2013 – 5:15 pm

Titans quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone was a marked man Thursday. In celebration of Ragone’s birthday, assistant head coach and strength and conditioning coach Steve Watterson decided that Ragone should be treated to several pies in the face.

Watterson, who has managed to work in multiple pranks and jokes over his years with the Titans and Oilers, decided to add what was called a Hunger Games twist to Thursday’s surprise.

After practice concluded, Ragone was told there would be four pies and four guys chasing him but he would go unscathed if he could find the only door out of five options and make it inside before he was caught.

Ragone, 34, sprinted from the farthest practice field as receivers Kenny Britt, Nate Washington, Kendall Wright and Damian Williams gave chase. Ragone ran the width of the other two fields, a little more than 100 yards, was unable to find an open door, and eventually gave in.

“He ran pretty well. I’m surprised he didn’t get hurt trying to make it over here,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “He thought there was an open door and actually all of them were locked. He was given bad information and he thought (the door used by media) would be open but that was locked also, so he basically had no chance of winning. I don’t really think any of them were open so I don’t think he had a shot.”

Washington said he liked the new twist on the old favorite.

“(Watterson) told us this morning that he was going to try something with Ragone, so it’s a little different. I think he was really just trying to get us the extra conditioning,” Washington said. “That was definitely a long way chasing ‘Rags.’ He didn’t think it was bad. No big deal for him.”

After the assault, Ragone went back to the far field as QB Ryan Fitzpatrick did extra work with tight ends.

Munchak said Ragone wasn’t the only victim of antics this week. Watterson was in on a plot Tuesday with offensive line coach Bruce Matthews, linebackers coach Chet Parlavecchio and assistant secondary coach Steve Brown to ambush offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains when he turned 33 on Tuesday.

“They called (Loggains) down and said they were having a meeting with Jake (Locker) with how he was doing and then Jake was down in Steve’s office and we had three coaches waiting for him.”

Munchak said Matthews and Watterson have gotten him over the years as well, but his offseason birthday makes him less of a target.

“That’s been going on for years and years and years, but it’s nice to get new guys that haven’t been around it as much,” Munchak said.

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Titans Make Good on Vow to Finish, Shift Focus to Starting Faster

Posted by Craig Peters on September 23, 2013 – 10:15 am

One week after vowing to finish the next opportunity, the Titans did in dramatic fashion, seizing their only lead against the Chargers with a 94-yard drive that was concluded with a 34-yard pass from Jake Locker to Justin Hunter.

The rookie receiver’s first catch in the pros resulted from Tennessee’s determination to overcome early penalties, keep the game within reach and convert several other plays down the stretch.

Nate Washington finishes one of his eight receptions with a stiff-arm for extra yardage.

Nate Washington finishes one of his eight receptions with a stiff-arm for extra yardage.

Nate Washington, who led the team with a career-high 131 receiving yards on eight catches, said the final drive summarized the teamwork the Titans have been building since returning players convened with free agents and rookies at Saint Thomas Sports Park this spring.

“It’s on everyone. Not one person can do it by themselves,” Washington said. “This game is about being together, and we had to make sure on that drive, we did everything together. From the offensive line, to the running backs, to the quarterback and the tight ends, and us, the receivers. So we just made sure we did it together and everyone made their plays.”

Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey said he liked the way Tennessee made sure it “finished every play” against San Diego.

“The biggest thing in football is who is going to work the hardest, who is going to compete until that last play,” Casey said. “When you’ve got a team that’s going to do that, a lot of things can work in your favor, and we got the ball back for our offense to go down in that two-minute drive. (San Diego) almost had that pick, and when the offense still had it, they believed they could go down there and score. Justin Hunter fought for it and came up with it.”

Safeties Michael Griffin and Bernard Pollard said the win was the best way to remove the bad taste in players’ mouths from the overtime loss at Houston in Week 2. Griffin said the 24-hour rule should apply this week pertaining to how long the Titans should enjoy the victory like it applied to lamenting a loss last week.

Griffin and Pollard also talked about the importance of having a faster start. Sunday marked the third time an opponent has had the first lead of the game and second in a row in which the opponent scored a touchdown on its opening possession.

“Love this one, enjoy it (Sunday night), but (Monday) wake up, watch the film and correct our mistakes. The thing that’s obvious is we’ve got to start off quicker.”

Tennessee is in a three-way tie in the AFC South with Houston and Indianapolis at 2-1. There are 10 teams in the AFC and only five teams with that record or better in the NFC.

Pollard said the Titans will continue to embrace the underdog role that many outside the locker room have attached to the team.

“I like that we don’t have respect. I like that no one wants to give it,” Pollard said. “Our team has to continue to fight because it’s one of those things, I keep saying like I said, but it’s hard because we’re playing our tails off, and we might not get the call, we might get fined for this, we might get fined for that, but we’re not going to change who we are. We are a fighting defense. Our job is to hunt, and people take us lightly, so we stepped up. We’ve got to stop the penalties, the mistakes at the beginning of the game that’s costing us seven points, field position and everything else. I think once we do that, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”


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