Running backs Green, Linton show promise

Tuesday, August 14, 2001 at 1:00am

The running game is crucial to the offensive success of the Tennessee Titans and coach Jeff Fisher got a long look at a pair of rushers - Mike Green and Jonathan Linton who are both seeking to be the backup for Pro Bowl running back Eddie George.

In Saturday night's 27-24 preseason victory over the Chicago Bears at Adelphia Coliseum Green had six carries for 19 yards and Linton ran 10 times for 25 yards.

Green pointed to the loss of Jamal Lewis to the Baltimore Ravens with a ?? injury. He knows he could be just one play away from being a regular player and he wants the Titans coaching staff to have confidence in him if such a situation did happen with George.

"I just want the organization to trust me," Green said. "I want to be able to go out there and have the offense not to skip a beat if Eddie is out. That's what I strive for every day."

Green would have liked to have had a few more carries, but he knew that the team also wanted to see how well quarterback Steve McNair could throw the ball in limited playing time.

"That gave me an opportunity to pick up blitzes and look at the passing game which I had trouble with last year," Green said. "I did real well with that in this game. I'm excited about the way things are going."

Green played in NFL Europe and he admits his legs are a little heavy.

"I know they wanted to see what I could do over here," Green said. "The coaches told me they were excited about seeing what I was going to do over here against some real bullets in preseason.

"My legs are tired but they aren't any heavier than anybody else's. I have to work through it. I still don't have a job yet and there are guys pushing and working right behind me."

Linton, who was a salary cap casualty with the Buffalo Bills, is still trying to learn all of the nuances of the Titans offense. Overall, he felt pretty good about his performance.

"I'm still trying to feel out the offense and see what they want," Linton said. "I'm not trying to make excuses for myself, but I'm not as comfortable as I want to be out there. But I think I did O.K. in my first preseason game. I picked up all my blitzes. I made some good runs. I missed one big cutback I could have gained some more yards on."

Linton went into the game with few expectations.

"I just expected to go in there and run the play that was called," Linton said. "I wanted to be sound on my assignments. I've got to get better on my technique, my splits and my footwork in the backfield to make this team."


The worst injury of the game was defensive end Robaire Smith with a dislocated thumb. It will require surgery and he is questionable for the St. Louis game. But offensive tackle Brad Hopkins, linebacker Greg Favors and safety Blaine Bishop also have had similar injuries in the past couple of years and did play the next week.

Linebacker Frank Chamberlain has an ankle sprain and tackle Brad Hopkins has a slight contusion.

Meet me in St. Louis

Defensive end Kevin Carter was a full participant in the Titans

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