Jevon Kearse won’t be fined for not hanging around for Sunday night’s 31-9 loss to the Indianapolis Colts after being declared a healthy scratch.
Fisher confirmed that Kearse did not stay for the game, as inactive players usually do on game day, and the coach said the matter was between him and the defensive end.
“This is between he and I. It was a big game. It was an emotional thing, and we’ll sort it out,” Fisher said. “As far as the message is concerned, he’s a good teammate, he’s had a great career and he’s still got a lot left.
“He won’t be fined for that. Again, that’s between he and I.”
Fisher was never clear as to whether game-day inactives are required to stay around for home games or if Kearse violated a team rule by doing so. But inactive players almost always are accounted for on the sideline.
“My rules don’t change from year to year. I have consistent rules. But again, this is between Jevon and I,” Fisher said.
Kearse had started every game since returning to the Titans in 2008, but was declared inactive Sunday night so Tennessee could keep Dave Ball active for just the second time this season.
“There are a lot of moving parts, and I think in Jevon’s case, again you referenced the fact that he wasn’t there, again this is between he and I, when you let a player know 90 minutes before kickoff that he’s going to be inactive, that’s a hard thing to accept,” Fisher said. “And I don’t blame him for having a tough time dealing with that. It was a decision we made, and it was a last-minute decision. I wanted to keep Dave up, and we wanted to move up.”
Fisher pointed out that with Jason Jones out with a shoulder injury at defensive tackle, Ball could fill in there in a pinch if needed.
Still no change
With the murmurs beginning to build to a crescendo in some circles over the Titans starting quarterback, Jeff Fisher said he remains committed to Kerry Collins as his starter, but did not rule out making a change down the line, if he felt it was necessary.
“You’ll just have to wait and see, I guess. I’ve been doing this a long time, and right now that’s not the root of our problem. It’s a team issue that we have to improve as a team,” Fisher said.
Asked what effect a potential change at quarterback might have on the locker room in the way of sending a message to his winless team, Fisher replied, “I didn’t say I was going to. I said there’s a possibility. I didn’t say when I was going to, and I didn’t say when I was going to. Kerry is our starter, and Vince is our backup. I’d be happy to field more questions about it, but I’ve made my point. You can speculate all you want about how that’s going to affect the team, and how that’s going to happen. I didn’t say I was going to do that.”
Collins has completed 106 of 185 passes for 1,078 yards with five touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Fisher said the Titans need to improve in all areas, especially running the football in order for all other problems to be righted.
“It all starts with our ability to run the football better, and we need to do that,” Fisher said. “The quarterback play improves, the defensive play improves and special teams play improves. It starts there.”
Fisher said he disagreed with at least one of the roughing the passer calls on Peyton Manning that gave the Colts 30 of their 93 yards on a touchdown drive just before halftime that put Sunday night’s game out of reach.
Kyle Vanden Bosch was flagged for hitting Manning low, and then a few plays later, Jacob Ford was flagged or delivering a hard hit on the Colts quarterback after he released the football. It was Ford’s hit Fisher took the bigger issue with.
“I don’t think there was any intent. He wasn’t high, he wasn’t late. But they’re gonna protect quarterbacks,” Fisher said of Ford’s hit. “Quarterbacks are an important part of our game, but again, the Jacob Ford hit, I didn’t think the contact was extreme or unnecessary.”
He said that he felt Vanden Bosch was blocked into Manning, and that no penalty flag should have been thrown there, but understood why it was called in the name of protecting quarterbacks.
“Anytime a quarterback is hit in the knee area, there’s a good chance there’s going to be a call,” Fisher said. “In this particular case, I felt like Kyle was coming off a block. The rule states that if a defender is blocked into or fouled into, then it should not be called. I felt like he was coming off a block, but you can see that.”
Harper undergoes surgery
Cornerback Nick Harper underwent surgery Monday afternoon to repair his broken right forearm, Coach Jeff Fisher said.
Harper’s injury apparently is similar to Vincent Fuller’s, and he will miss four-to-six weeks after undergoing the procedure, so it won't necessarily be season-ending.
“I believe it will be about the same as Vinnie, so it will be four to six weeks,” Fisher said. “We’ve got a bye week coming, and if Nick ends up being four weeks, he ends up playing the last eight games. We’ll be stretched a little bit thin for the next couple of weeks, which we have been, but our hope is we’ll get them both back.”
Also, tight end Craig Stevens, who suffered a concussion after colliding with teammate Michael Griffin on the opening kickoff, was discharged from the hospital Monday morning and will be out an undetermined amount of time with the injury.