The Tennessee Titans have no time to dwell on Sunday’s season-opening victory in Jacksonville.
Players filtering through the locker room on Monday were already taking home DVDs of the Indianapolis Colts to dissect in readying for Sunday’s game against the defending Super Bowl champions.
“It’s another divisional game. They’re the Super Bowl champs,” said linebacker David Thornton, himself a former Colt, one of five on the Tennessee roster. “We have to knock them off, if we’re going to have a chance. They’re the king of the AFC South, the king of the league and a great test for us.”
Thornton said the talk back and forth between him and some of his former teammates has already started, leading up to this week’s game.
“They started this summer in the offseason. I had some talks with those guys early this morning,” Thornton said. “I talked with them over the weekend, and they wished me well in our first game in Jacksonville. It’s one of those things where you’re playing against your friends. On Sunday, you just let all that go down and see who is the best man on that day.”
Even for those Titans who aren’t former Colts, having their chief division rival come to town is still a big deal — especially when that rival just slipped on Super Bowl rings last Thursday night in their season opener.
“Indy is a big week around here,” defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. “Everybody gets excited for it. It’s the defending Super Bowl champs. If we really want to make a name for ourselves, we have to play well this week.”
The Titans played well enough to beat the Jaguars 13-10, by rolling up 282 rushing yards and limiting Jacksonville to just 72 yards rushing on the ground.
But the Colts are a different beast altogether for the Titans’ defense to try and tame.
Titans coach Jeff Fisher said the Tennessee defense only had a couple of mistakes in the run game, but that those mistakes turned into big Jacksonville gains. The Colts could compound mistakes even more.
“We set out to do some things [against Jacksonville] to shut down certain types of runs with different personnel groupings, and we did that,” Fisher said. “We had guys in wrong gap fits on two occasions, and they took advantage of it.
“The Colts, when you have someone in the wrong gap fit, they’re definitely going to take advantage of it. As we all know, against the Colts, your safeties can’t be as involved in your run fronts as we had them in there yesterday because of the potential for a play-action pass.”
Despite the obvious differences in the opponents and the plan of attack, Fisher is hopeful the Titans will have a certain amount of carryover from the rushing game, where Chris Brown ran for 175 yards, and their defensive play against the run.
“It helps when you go out, run the football and play as aggressively as we did yesterday in the opener,” Fisher said. “But you have to ensure that there’s carryover. That’s a week-to-week thing. You have to continue to enforce it.”
UNFAIR EDGE?: For the second consecutive season, the Colts will face the Titans with extra days of rest and preparation. Indianapolis opened the season by mauling the New Orleans Saints 41-10 on Thursday night and will have 10 days between games with the Titans next on their schedule.
“It seems like they usually have two or three extra days to prepare for us, and again they do. They’ve got a good start, and we have to catch up,” Fisher said.
Asked how much of an advantage the extra days were, Fisher tempered his original statement a bit.
“I guess we’ll have to wait and see how things are on Sunday, but it’s certainly nice to be able to rest up,” Fisher said. “They had a short week [last week]. The other end of that is they had to hurry up from the final preseason game to their opener.
“It’s nice to rest up, but it’s also nice to be in a routine. When you have a young team, it’s also nice to keep them in a routine, so I think that will work well for us as well.”
NEW ROLE: Michael Griffin returned kickoffs for the Titans on Sunday after getting a bit of an audition in preseason with two returns, including a 40-yarder.
That role is entirely new to Griffin. Asked how much returning he did at the University of Texas, Griffin replied, “Zero.”
Griffin’s first return Sunday resulted in a 30-yard runback, but a fumble that tight end Ben Hartsock recovered to keep possession.
“I try to put two and two together. The first time I got tackled by the kicker [in preseason],” Griffin said. “This time I made the kicker miss, but I fumbled. Now I’ve got to get it all into one.”
The first-round pick lost out to Cortland Finnegan in his bid to start at cornerback and played a variety of special teams roles.
LESS THAN PLANNED: Corey Simon only played eight to 10 snaps in his first game as a Titan, but Fisher indicated that the defense’s success had an affect on the defensive tackle’s lack of playing time off the bench.
“We had three-and-outs this game, so that is the primary reason Corey didn’t play as many snaps as he would have,” Fisher said. “We had 51 defensive snaps, and we had a number of three-and-outs. In those situations where we would have had extended drives he would have gotten more snaps.”
Fisher said it remains to be seen whether Simon sees more action Sunday.
INJURIES: The Titans managed to escape Sunday’s game with no major injuries, according to Fisher.
VISITING: The Titans will have former Jaguars linebacker Nick Greisen in for a visit. Greisen was a player the Titans were interested in in 2006 when he ended up going to Jacksonville. The Jaguars released him in their final cuts this year.