Found September 03, 2013 on Fox Sports Tennessee:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. The Titans have finished training camp, played four preseason games, wrangled the 53-man roster and filled the eight-man development squad. Yes, it was quite the month of August. So, what next? A Labor Day Weekend exhale? Not hardly, considering Tennessee opens the season Sunday at Pittsburgh before heading on the road again the following weekend to face AFC South rival Houston, the two-time division champ. Let the game week begin, Titans third-year coach Mike Munchak said, and lets find out what were all about, what we have. After practicing Saturday and taking Sunday off, the Titans got into the game-week routine by practicing lightly Monday, taking today off and returning to practice Wednesday. They travel to Pittsburgh on Saturday. You know the roster is always going to have some tweaks as we go forward, Munchak said, but for the most part, the guys that are going to help us beat Pittsburgh are in the building. I think theyre excited that theyre on to the next phase. Playing games for real cant come fast enough for the Titans, according to fifth-year receiver Kenny Britt. Its been a long road for us, especially in camp and for myself, but we got through it and worked hard and got some things done that we wanted to and didnt take steps back during OTAs, Britt said. I was excited about that, especially (Monday), we came out rolling, even when we had a couple days off and everybody is feeling good. The Titans face an old franchise nemesis in the Steelers, theyre longtime rival in the old AFC Central Division. This is the 76th meeting between the franchises dating back 1970 when the then-Houston Oilers won the first meeting. Final starting slots earned It went down to the wire for two starting spots. Incumbent Alterraun Verner held off Tommie Campbell to nail down the right cornerback position. The fourth-year Verner started all 16 games last season and has the better cover skills and football aptitude of the two. But the third-year Campbell is bigger and more athletic and had the job to lose. Ultimately, the Titans had more faith in Verner in various situations. I just think overall we weighed everything, Munchak said of choosing Verner, who had 78 tackles, two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery for a touchdown last season. We had a plan. We explained the plan to both of them going into the OTAs. After watching the body of work from practice to OTAs and games, we just felt (Verner) was the right amount of most consistent. Well start with him obviously starting, but obviously (Campbell) will still be part of what were doing on defense,still be part of special teams. Hell still play a big role, but just to start the game out, itll be Vern. Free agent acquisition Rob Turner won the center job over veteran Chris Spencer, rookie Brian Schwenke and returning starter Fernando Velasco, who was subsequently cut. Training camp started with Velasco battling rookie Brian Schwenke for the starting nod at center, but Rob Turner, who played 16 games last season for the Rams at both center and guard, finally emerged to win the position. With Spencer, another free-agent acquisition, providing depth at both center and guard, and Schwenke the heir apparent who has healed from a nagging hamstring injury, Velasco was the odd-man out. Then again, the Titans saved 1.4 million in keeping Turner and cutting Velasco, who started 13 games last season. We let them all play some center, Munchak said of Turner, Velasco, Turner and Schwenke. We went through the body of work of all of them and how they were playing. We felt that Rob did the best in terms of running the group. As far as the center, we thought when he was playing the group played better. Veteran linebacker Moise Fokou, the former Colt, earned the spotting nod at middle linebacker over two-year Titans starter Colin McCarthy, who played in only the final preseason game because of a hamstring injury. Fokou was already leading the competition before McCarthy was injured early in training camp. Video: NFL coach behavior QB Smith returns to squad After spending the past three seasons as the third-string quarterback, Rusty Smith did not make the Titans final 53-man roster. But after clearing waivers and not being added to another teams 53-man roster, Smith was re-signed by the Titans for their eight-player development squad. For us to get him back meant a lot because we have confidence in him, Munchak said of Smith, who has played in only three games, starting one, since being a sixth-round draft pick in 2010 out of Florida Atlantic. My feeling is that if we have injuries, Id much rather have him here than anyone else that we could go out and get at that position. He knows our system well. He knows our players well, and I think hes got a good command of what were doing. I think it was good we didnt lose him. The Titans will open the season with only two quarterbacks -- starter Jake Locker and backup Ryan Fitzpatrick -- for the first time since 2009. That season, former starter Vince Young was backed up by veteran Kerry Collins. We talked about that position that that was a possibility, Munchak said of keep only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. I talked to Rusty about it back in May and June. Because of the way the team was going, this was probably an opportunity that we could use only two, more so than in the last couple of years. Also returning to the Titans after being released was fullback Collin Mooney, who made the team last year out of Army as an undrafted free agent. He was promoted to the 53-man roster late in 2012 and played in four games. Other development squad additions included defensive back Stefan Charles, offensive tackle Al Netter, wide receiver Rashad Ross, tight end Adam Schiltz, linebacker Jonathan Tig Willard and defensive back Khalid Whooten, the teams sixth-round draft pick out of Nevada. Doyle finds home with Colts Undrafted free agent tight end Jack Doyle, out of nearby Western Kentucky, had shown flashes during training camp, but he did not make the teams 53-man roster. The Titans did keep veteran Delanie Walker, the starter who signed as a free agent formerly with the 49ers, sixth-year Craig Stevens and second-year Taylor Thompson. After being released, Doyle was signed by AFC South rival Indianapolis and placed directly on the teams 53-man roster per league rule. We liked what we saw, but to carry four tight ends is hard when you carry a fullback (Quinn Johnson), Munchak said of releasing Doyle. You never know with that whether itll be over or not be over. That was a guy that worked well and earned a spot. Im proud of him, happy for him. A guy that could be undrafted and make a 53, thats pretty good.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Kicking Off The 2013 NFL Season: Tennessee Titans

With the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts on the rise, the AFC South has become one of the toughest divisions in the NFL.  Though the Jacksonville Jaguars still seem hopeless, Houston and Indy look like annual contenders.  So where does this leave the Tennessee Titans in 2013? Following Chris Johnson’s least productive season (even though the 27 year-old still rushed for...

Titans' Marc Mariani Returning to IR

Marc Mariani has been put on season ending injured reserve for the second straight season.  The #Titans will place WR/returner Marc Mariani on Injured Reserve. That stings — Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 31, 2013 Mariani was a seventh-round selection of the Tennessee Titans in 2010. Jeff Fisher decided to take a chance on the player on the advice of his son, who happened to...

Titans' revamped O-line features 3 new starters

The Titans' extreme makeover of their offensive line is complete for now. Veteran Rob Turner has won the job as Tennessee's starting center after beating out incumbent Fernando Velasco, who was waived in the final roster cut down. That makes Turner the third new starter between the tackles in a unit coach Mike Munchak plans to lean on heavily starting Sunday in Pittsburgh...

Titans' Akeem Ayers and Kendall Wright ready to play Sunday

The Tennessee Titans have been without two of their more promising young players for much of the preseason. However, Jim Wyatt from the Tennessean reported on Monday that both Akeem Ayers and Kendall Wright will play in the season opener against the Pittsburg Steelers, according to Coach Munchak. Munchak said Akeem Ayers and Kendall Wright a go for Sunday's game #Titans —...

Titans see need to start season on winning note

The Tennessee Titans know only too well the importance of starting the season on a winning note. The Titans remember how their 1-4 start a year ago put them into a hole they never dug out from en route to a 6-10 record. The challenge is a schedule that has Tennessee opening on the road Sunday at Pittsburgh followed by a trip to Houston. They finally play at home Sept. 22 against...

Tennessee Titans 53-man roster analysis

Now that the Titans have made the cuts necessary to get down to 53, it is time for me to take my promised look at the shape and form of the roster. First, let's take a look at the positional distribution of the Titans as they stand right now, with the number of players at the position on the roster for the first game last year in parentheses: QB: 2 (3) RB/FB: 5 (5)...

Titans Injury Report – Wednesday – Week 1

The Tennessee Titans have now released their first injury report of the 2013 season on Wednesday as they prepare to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday at Heinz Field. Not participating in practice Wednesday for the Titans was linebacker Zaviar Gooden (ankle), who will not play Sunday in the season opener. Limited on Wednesday were linebacker Akeem Ayers (ankle) and tackle David...

2013 KSK NFL Prekkake: Tennessee Titans

Last year: 6-10, third place in AFC SouthAcquisitions: Shonn Greene, Bernard Pollard, Chance Warmack, Ryan Fitzpatrick, George Wilson, Andy LevitreDepartures: Jared Cook, Steve Hutchinson, Matt Hasselbeck, Will WitherspoonVegas win total over/under: 6 1/2 winsVerdict: UNDERFive players Bernard Pollard can injure in lieu of another Patriot this season:- Ben Roethlisberger- Golden...

Tennessee Titans vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Game Preview/Keys to Victory

The Steelers and Titans face off at Heinz Field this Sunday afternoon. These teams met last season, and the Titans came out victorious that night. Like last year, the Steelers are undoubtedly the more talented of the two teams. Of course, that didn’t mean much last year, so this could be a toughly contested match-up. Quarterbacks: Jake Locker started 11 games for the Titans in...

Harper Filling Walker's Shoes

After losing versatile tight end Delanie Walker to free agency, the 49ers had been looking for a versatile player to fill the void. Monday they signed former Seahawks wide receiver Chris Harper to do so.
Titans News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.