Cook leaves Cleveland in walking boot

Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 8:11pm

Opposing defenses have had plenty of trouble stopping Tennessee Titans rookie Jared Cook this preseason.

But an injury might slow the tight end/receiver, as he left Cleveland with his right foot in a walking boot after Saturday night’s 23-17 loss to the Browns.

Cook leads the Titans with 17 catches this preseason and had five more receptions Saturday night before exiting the game with the foot injury.

Despite the injury, Titans coach Jeff Fisher would not completely rule out Cook being available for Thursday night’s preseason finale against Green Bay.

“He played well and made a lot of plays, and he’s got a sore foot, so we put him in a boot,” Fisher said. “He’s got a chance to play Thursday and if he’s not ready to play, we won’t play him Thursday. He’s not definitely out for the game as of yet.”

Cook not only has played at his normal tight end position, but has also pitched in in a receiver-like spot, lining up wide for the Titans at various times in training camp and preseason.

The Titans are already thin at the receiver position with Nate Washington out with a hamstring injury suffered a week ago in practice.

No winner yet

Fisher indicated that the kickoff and punt return positions remain wide open, even after the return of Mark Jones from a hamstring injury that cost him the first three preseason games.

Jones’ first outing in the role Saturday night was a bit rocky, as he lost a fumble on kickoff that led to a Cleveland touchdown, and also had only one punt return for three yards.

“No one has won that job yet,” Fisher said. “We’re still going to evaluate this week, and he’ll be part of the evaluation. I don’t have a depth chart. I don’t have a one, two or three. I’m going to continue to evaluate the returners this week.”

Jones was signed to replace Chris Carr, who departed to the Baltimore Ravens as a free agent.

Others in competition for the spot include rookies Jason McCourty and Javon Ringer on kickoffs, as well as Rafael Little and Tuff Harris. Ryan Mouton is also a possibility for both jobs, but he is out with a high ankle sprain.

As for Jones, he was guilty of the one thing Fisher won’t tolerate, turning the ball over.

“He really didn’t get an opportunity because of the uniqueness of the wind and most of the kicks were either touchbacks or squib-like kicks into the wind,” Fisher said. “He did have the one opportunity. We blocked it pretty well. He had a good return and he fumbled the ball.”

More or less time

Titans starters won’t see much action against the Packers this Thursday night beyond getting enough work to keep them fresh for the regular-season opener at Pittsburgh on Sept. 10.

A few starters, provided they are ready to play this week, might go a little longer because of injuries that have stalled them in training camp and preseason.

Among those players are center Kevin Mawae, who saw his first action of the season after coming off the physically unable to perform list Saturday night because of an elbow injury, tackle David Stewart (knee) and defensive tackle Jason Jones (foot).

Other players who have been plagued by injuries and missed Saturday night’s game included cornerback Nick Harper (upper body soreness), linebacker Josh Stamer (groin), defensive end Jevon Kearse (hamstring), cornerback Ryan Mouton (ankle) and receiver Nate Washington (hamstring). Of that group, Mouton and Washington are not expected to play against the Packers. Others could be added to that list.

Getting used to it

Cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who usually plays on the right side, manned Nick Harper’s left cornerback spot Saturday night to get some work on the other side, while Cary Williams started for the injured Harper.

“It’s good for corners. Over time, if you’re not careful, you get left-handed or right-handed and you get real comfortable. We wanted to get him over there and get experience. It was good,” Fisher said. “As talented as he is, he still wasn’t completely comfortable over there.”

As for veteran help at the cornerback position behind Finnegan and Harper, Fisher did not rule out looking at the waiver wire for answers, not only there but at all spots on the roster.

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