Fuller undergoes surgery, will miss 4-6 weeks

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 4:52pm

Tennessee Titans nickelback Vincent Fuller underwent Monday afternoon to repair his broken forearm, and will miss four to six weeks, according to Coach Jeff Fisher.

Fuller suffered the injury late in the first quarter while tackling New York Jets receiver Brad Smith in Sunday’s 24-17 loss at Giants Stadium.

According to Fisher, Fuller’s injury won’t be season-ending as had been speculated. The Titans, for now at least, will hold a roster spot for Fuller when he returns and likely go with rookie Ryan Mouton in his place as the nickelback.

“He played well in preseason at the nickel spot, so he’s a possibility,” Fisher said of Mouton.

Once Fuller returns, he will wear a protective cast on his right forearm to guard against further injury.

Fisher was less forthcoming on the status of cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who left the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury.

“As far as Cortland, I can’t say right now,” Fisher said.

The Titans had released cornerback Cary Williams from the 53-man roster during the week to create a spot for punter Reggie Hodges, and found themselves without enough defensive backs to play a nickel package late in the game when Jason McCourty, who had gone in for Finnegan, suffered cramps and did not finish the game either.

That left Mouton playing on the outside at right cornerback. Fisher expressed confidence in both rookies.

“Both Ryan and Jason are going to be good players for us in the secondary,” Fisher said. “We’ve asked quite a bit of them early on on special teams, as well as here early in the season to play on defense, and they’re going to be fine. It’s just a matter of them getting the reps.”

Return woes

Given Mouton’s two lost fumbles in the return game, the 0-3 Titans are admittedly shopping for a return man.

Though Fisher would not say as much, the likely scenario would be the team looking for a player who could potentially help their shrinking numbers in the secondary as well.

“There’s a need for a returner. There are several guys out there that can help us. At this point, we’re just trying to see if they fit on the roster, and if they in fact can get it done,” Fisher said.

Veterans such as Justin Miller and R.W. McQuarters are available defensive backs who are also return men. Ex-Titan Tuff Harris, a safety, can do returns and is on the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad. Fisher also said Mark Jones, who was with the team in training camp, but is a wide receiver by trade, was on the potential short list.

League sources indicated that as of Monday afternoon, the Titans had not made contact yet with the agents for McQuarters or Jones.
Fisher said Mouton’s struggles sometimes happen when a rookie is learning the ropes of the NFL.

“When you bring young players in at different positions, you really don’t know until you play them. Some of them come in – the Mike Rooses, Michael Griffins and Chris Johnsons – they come in and do well. Other players, it takes a little bit longer, and Ryan is seeing some things out there that he hasn’t seen before,” Fisher said. “I have confidence in him. I know eventually, he’ll be a good returner if we need to call upon him. He may be a good returner this week, I don’t know.”

Fourth-quarter problems

The Titans offense has flashed some big plays at times in the first three games, but one critical problem has been the team’s fourth quarter production. Tennessee has scored just three points in the fourth quarter this season, that coming in the opener at Pittsburgh on a 45-yard Rob Bironas field goal.

Quarterback Kerry Collins has had his problems in the final period, as his passer rating in the fourth quarter is just 25.9, completing 8 of 24 fourth-quarter passes for 77 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.

Collins finished Sunday with 13 straight incompletions, though several passes were dropped.

“We had five passes dropped in the second half, and that does not allow you to make plays. Three or four of them were on third down. Kenny [Britt] has got a chance to make a play and create a fourth-and-1 or fourth-and-2 on that last drive, and we can’t make that play,” Fisher said. “That’s what happens when you lose. You’re not making enough plays at critical times.”


Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said he is frustrated not only with the team’s 0-3 start, but also with his own play, which has not produced any sacks yet.

He said his frustration level is close to what he experienced last year when a groin injury cost him six games and his effectiveness when he returned.

“It’s difficult,” Vanden Bosch said. “Being injured is mentally the most frustrating thing I have gone through as a player. Being healthy and not producing can be frustrating as well.

“I’m expected to be a playmaker for this team, and there are times when we need big plays, and playmakers have to make them. And that’s my responsibility.”

Standing pat

Fisher defended Collins’ play against the Jets, and says he has no thoughts of turning to Vince Young as the starter in the wake of an 0-3 start.

“That defense gave Tom Brady fits the week before,” Fisher said. “That’s a tough defense to attack. He made some great throws, and I thought he did a good job, as best he could, redirecting protections. Kerry is not the reason we’re in the situation we’re in.”

Increased role?

Tight end Jared Cook, who has been active but limited the past two weeks, could get an increased role against Jacksonville Sunday, if his ankle will allow it.

Cook has not caught a pass in two games, and played only a few snaps Sunday against the Jets.

“I’m hopeful that he’ll be 100 percent this coming week, but a lot of that is he’s still struggling with it,” Fisher said. “If we needed to turn to him, we would, but we didn’t. We want to get him involved in our game plan, but a lot has to do with how he responds this week.”

Fisher also indicated that Bo Scaife, suffering from a MCL injury in his left knee, will continue practicing this week with hopes of being able to play.



17 Comments on this post:

By: TitansFan035 on 9/28/09 at 3:03

Knowing this organization they will start looking on the NFL dumpsters for washed out players for cheap.......No intentions on signing another corner Fisher said, I am so ready to bring in a coach that has testicular fortitude along with Offensive cordinator that like to take shots! The season is over am ready to throw in the towel, I had tickets to go see the colts at LP field but i decide it to give them away i can't bare to watch that massacre!!

By: TITAN1 on 9/28/09 at 8:17

TitansFan035, please take your fairweather arse to another city and throw your fairweather support to their team. I'm so sorry you won't be using your tickets to see Titans play the colts. Please give them to a REAL Titans fan.

By: jps13pat on 9/29/09 at 12:47

Normally I defend Jeff Fisher to the death, but when he says "When you bring young players in at different positions, you really don’t know until you play them" I get a little upset. Didn't he see Mouton in the preseason? Isn't that what preseason is for? Evaluating players to see if they can or can't get it done? Why does it take us going 0-3 to realize that some of our guys just flat out ain't gonna cut it??

With that being said, I'm still going to the Colts game. :)

By: TITAN1 on 9/29/09 at 4:29

If I'm not mistaken, he was having a good preseason until he got hurt. That is why coach was high on him. A good team will bounce back from 0-3 and I think we have a good team.

By: gdiafante on 9/29/09 at 10:38

Fisher comes up with empty 13-3 seasons every once in a while to keep his job. But then the true colors come shining through...just not a solid team.

Put a fork in the Titans, they're done. And even if they do salvage a playoff birth, they'd lose in the first round like usual. No surprises there.

By: jps13pat on 9/29/09 at 10:46

I'm not so sure that our problems are entirely Jeff's fault. He's got to have a front office willing to make the deals that need to get done to keep our players in Tennessee.

But with that being said, I think we're done too. At least as far as playoffs are concerned. TITAN1 says a good team will bounce back from 0-3. I guess it depends on what you mean by bounce back. Haven't only 5 teams in the history of the NFL bounced back from an 0-3 start to make the playoffs? I think we'll win more than we'll lose from here on out, but I don't think it'll be enough to make the playoffs.

And please, let's quit calling ourselves a "good team" until we win some games. It doesn't matter how many times you say it, it ain't true if it ain't true. And right now the LIONS have a better record than us...

By: TITAN1 on 9/29/09 at 11:24

History does not tell you anything except what happened in the past. The coaching staff and players could not care less what happened then. The season is still very young and yes, I do believe we have a good team and will go far in the playoffs. Those who knock coach Fisher don't have a clue. Teams would be lining up to hire him. We need to get it started this week by beating Jacksonville. Even Vegas believes, Titans 2 1/2 point favorite on the road.

By: jwk6179 on 9/29/09 at 3:03

The Titans will need to win 2 out of the next 3 games (Jagaurs, Colts & Patriots) in order to have any hope of a decent season. If they go into their bye week at either 0-6 or 1-5, finishing 8-8 will be a miracle. The last two times before last season that the Oilers/Titans had Home Field Advantage in the AFC (1993 & 2000), they had a losing season the next season (from 12-4 in 1993 to 2-14 in 1994 & from 13-3 in 2000 to 7-9 in 2001).

Also, a GOOD TEAM doesn't make the same mistakes over and over like the Titans have done the last couple of games. And when a Good Team does make a blunder, THEY OVERCOME THOSE BLUNDERS, unlike the Titans.

By: jwk6179 on 9/29/09 at 3:13

And a GOOD TEAM doesn't lose to the Houston Texans, which was blown out by the Jaguars last Sunday.

By: TITAN1 on 9/29/09 at 3:13

And that is why they play the game, jw. We shall see!

By: TITAN1 on 9/29/09 at 3:16

jw, being misplaced, have you ever told us which team you follow? Or do you jump on the bandwagon of the reigning champion every year?

By: jwk6179 on 9/29/09 at 3:25

I pull for the GREEN BAY PACKERS. I always have and I always will. I was a big Brett Favre fan when he played for the Packers, but I think he should have retired a few years ago. And I do not "Jump on the Bandwagon of the Reigning Champions" every year, as you claim I do. In fact, I was pulling for the Packers even during the '70's and '80's, when they were one of the NFL doormats.

By: jwk6179 on 9/29/09 at 3:33

And you're PROBABLY one of those FANS that claim that you are a LIFELONG, DIE HARD OILERS/TITANS fan when in fact you NEVER PULLED for the OILERS in all the years they were in Houston. I despised the Oilers when they were in Houston, so why should they become my FAVORITE TEAM when they move to Tennessee? That would be like me hating the New York Yankees and then, they become my Favorite team if I were to move to New York!!!

By: TITAN1 on 9/29/09 at 3:35

Home team is what it is all about and I love it!!!!

By: TITAN1 on 9/29/09 at 5:49

jw, let me explain something to you. I have lived in or around Nashville all my 54 years. As a kid, I pulled for different teams, but as I grew older I stuck with the Falcons because they were the closest team. We were not even on the NFL's radar for a team. Thank goodness Mr Adams came calling and then Mayor Bredesen had the good sense to listen and then all of us "Yes" voters turned out to approve the deal. We then had our home town / home state team and I have been a PSL holder from day one. When you see all the tailgates on game day, 99% of them are Titans tailgates. If you want to pull for another team that is your right, but getting on the local boards and trashing or talking bad about our team is childish. Enjoy your team and stop looking stupid. GO HOMETOWN TITANS!!!

By: jwk6179 on 9/29/09 at 8:39

I've got every right to get on the Nashville City Paper and make comments about the Titans since my TAX DOLLARS are also going to pay for the stadium. I'm just saying I never pulled for the Oilers when they were in Houston and unlike the biggest majority of Titan fans, I'm HONEST ENOUGH to admit that fact. The biggest majority of Titan fans go around stating that they were LIFE LONG, DIE-HARD OILER FANS when truth be known, most of them didn't give a rat's ass about the OILERS until they moved to Nashville. And then they CRIED LIKE BABIES because Bud Adams didn't change the OILERS name right away. And since you keep refferring to Bud Adams as MR. ADAMS, you must have a man crush on him, also.

By: TITAN1 on 9/29/09 at 8:50

A man crush, because I respect someone? You are the one that keeps using that term, so it must be you that has a man crush. So, I guess you have a man crush on Farve? See what I mean. What it boils down to is you can't stand the attention that the Titans get here in their hometown. Get over it before you get an ulcer. LOL!