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Tennessee Titans Football

Extra Sound – Veteran Leaders Step Up

Posted by Joe Fann on July 26, 2014 – 8:20 am

The Titans roster is chalked full of veteran talent. Jake Locker, Nate Washington, Wesley Woodyard, and Jason McCourty all spoke Friday about the importance of being leaders in the locker room. Here is some of what they had to say.

Jake Locker discussed his responsibility as the team’s quarterback:

“I think there’s a reason that the quarterback is asked to be the leader. That’s a role that I’m excited about the 1168camp2014previewopportunity to embrace. It hasn’t changed how I approached the game. I feel at this point now going into my fourth year that I’ve earned the respect of the guys in the locker room. I feel like they’ll listen when I say things. I get the opportunity to pick and choose times to speak up a little more now and maybe be more vocal than I have been in the past.”

The Titans QB noted that the new coaching staff has pushed him as a player:

“I’ll give the coaching staff a lot of credit. They’ve pushed me and asked me to do some things that I wasn’t really comfortable doing at first, and now I love it. I’m really excited about it and I think it’s allowed me to have more ownership over the offense.”

Locker then went into detail about what some of those things were that he was uncomfortable with at first:

“More responsibility at the line of scrimmage with the protection calls and possible play changes and no huddle stuff we’ve been doing. There is a little bit more of a responsibility on the quarterback and I’ve really enjoyed it. I look forward to that being something that’s beneficial for us throughout the year.”

Wesley Woodyard spent his entire presser discussing that although it’s only his first year with the Titans, he wants to 1158camp2014previewbe a leader on defense. That includes wearing the helmet with the headset to the coaching staff:

“I plan on being on the field every down. I’m going to come out and say I’d love to have that green dot on my helmet.”

Woodyard continued to say that it’s up to all the veteran players to set the tone for the rest of the team:

“The big thing is that everyone has to do their part. Guys like me, Shaun Phillips, and Bernard Pollard all realize what it takes to get to the next level getting into the playoffs and getting to the Super Bowl.”

Jason McCourty discussed how coach Whisenhunt has already deferred to the opinions of the leaders in he locker room:

“He comes to us for a lot of things when making decisions. He’ll come ask guys ‘hey what’s your opinion on this, 1161camp2014previewwhat’s your opinion on that?’ He does a great job of finding the pulse of the team and figuring out what’s best for us moving forward. That’s been real enjoyable.”

McCourty also said that with all the excitement there is right now, they will learn a lot about themselves when they face adversity for the first time:

“Adversity is going to build character. I always say this time of the year that everything is great. Everybody is loving the staff. All the players are getting along. We haven’t faced any problems yet. As camp goes on there are going to be injuries or different things that happen that are going to force us to come together or split apart as a team. That’s going to be big for us to continue to build our chemistry. That’s the fun part of this game – the challenges that come with it and not knowing each day what you’re going to face. I think it’s going to help us build as camp goes on and when we get to the end we’re going to see a finished product that we really like.”

Nate Washington spent a lot of time discussing coach Whisenhunt and how he understands the role of the leaders on the team:

“He makes a huge difference. His mentality and the way he treats us in the locker room has given guys a different 1173camp2014previewfocus toward the game. Coach has been around long enough to know that you have to let grown men be grown men. He allows us as players to coach ourselves in that locker room and get expectations out of ourselves first. That’s going to be a major thing for us.”

The two already know each other well after Washington and Whisenhunt spent time together in Pittsburgh. Washington said coach Whiz still has many of the same traits that he noticed with the Steelers:

“He’s a gutsy guy. He’s going to take some shots. He’s not afraid to let his playmakers go out and make plays. He expects greatness out of all of us, but at the same time he isn’t going to be the guy to criticize you or jump on you if you make a mistake. I think that’s going to boost us to not walk on pins and needles, but know there’s a guy behind us that expects greatness of us.”

Washington also gave the quote of the day in my opinion about coach Whisenhunt:

“He has put us in a position to expect greatness without telling us to expect greatness.”

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Nate Washington Likes what Ken Whisenhunt Brings to Titans

Posted by Gary Glenn on June 12, 2014 – 3:00 pm

Nate WashingtonNate Washington knows head coach Ken Whisenhunt better than anyone in the Titans’ locker room. The veteran wide receiver began his first four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2005-08), spending two seasons with Whisenhunt, who served as Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator from 2004-06.

The pair was together when the Steelers won Super Bowl XL against the Seattle Seahawks.

So when asked Thursday about the style and approach Whisenhunt has brought the Titans, Washington didn’t hesitate.

“He understands what perfection looks like. He understands what a Super Bowl looks like. He understands what it’s going to take to move into the top tier of the NFL. He understands what it’s going to take for us to get to where we want to be, and that’s hoisting the Lombardi trophy at the end of the day.

“The requirements from him are going to be tough at times, but he will pat you on the back when you’ve done something well. He definitely has an expectation that’s going to be required of every guy in this locker room from the oldest to the youngest. Everyone has their weight to pull and he expects that to happen.

“He’s a guy that’s been there, done that. He’s played in this league, been a player that’s done some tremendous things in this league and also been a coach that’s made it to that top tier and hoisted the Lombardi and been there again as a head coach of a team. His expectation right now is much needed. There’s a lot of good feelings around this locker room right now and I’m excited about the opportunity we have this year to play under him.”

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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:


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.


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


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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