With a 2-1 record and coming off an impressive 31-14 road victory in New Orleans on Monday night, the Tennessee Titans’ bye week might be looked upon as an inopportune bump in the road to momentum.
But Titans coach Jeff Fisher said the club still can improve on plenty of things during practices today and Thursday during the off week.
“There are things we need to take advantage of. We’re going to need the rest,” Fisher said. “We’ve played three physical ballgames coming out of the preseason, so that comes at a good time for us. I think some of the players will take advantage of that.”
Of the things that need work, Fisher would probably like to see improvement from the offense in plus territory. Despite a runaway victory over the winless Saints, the Titans did not score a single point from Keith Bulluck’s three interceptions and wasted an early red zone opportunity on their first series of the game. For the season, Tennessee has 13 trips to the red zone with five touchdowns and five field goals.
“The defense helped us out in the first half by holding them, and our offense came together in the second half after stalling a little in the first half,” running back Chris Brown said.
The best thing the Titans can take into the bye is that they are learning while winning and being competitive. So the corrections won’t be as painful this week.
“We have to improve in a number of areas, even some glaring things last night,” Fisher said. “You know, the special teams penalties. We had good returns, and we had one called back that hurt us. We left a lot of points on the board. When you get five turnovers on defense, you’ve got to take advantage of that and score points, and we didn’t. We have a number of things – communication on defense – just little things that we have to sort out and get straight.”
BULLUCK HONORED: Keith Bulluck, who earlier last week christened himself as “Mr. Monday Night,” has a new honor to go along with that nickname — AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
Bulluck had three interceptions in the game against the Saints.
“A lot of my teammates hadn’t played on Monday Night Football before and I feel if you can’t get it done on Monday Night Football, you’ll never be able to get it done,” Bulluck said. “Going into this game, I didn’t know how far it would go. I should have known it would go further than Nashville, but I backed it up and I feel that I’m a player in this league that considers himself one of the top players at his position. I try to go out there week-in and week-out, whether it be Monday or any day of the week to prove that point.”
HENTRICH AILING: Fisher said punter Craig Hentrich will continue to be day-to-day regarding his injured back heading into the bye week. Hentrich had surgery on his back in the offseason a couple of years back and had lower back pain last week that kept him out of Monday night’s win and forced the Titans to sign Josh Miller.
“We’re going to evaluate Craig this week and see how he is. It will probably be a day-to-day thing,” Fisher said.
Asked if Hentrich might need surgery on his back, Fisher did not rule out such a thing, saying, “We’re still doing tests right now. We haven’t ruled anything out at this point.”
Fisher complimented Miller’s work on short notice. The left-footed punter was signed on Saturday to replace Hentrich.
“Josh did a great job, considering the time he was here and the time he had to work with Kenny [Amato] and Rob [Bironas]. The way he helped, he was a pro about the whole thing. He punted very well, and it was exactly what we needed to do, and he did a nice job with it.”
EALY RETURNING?: Titans coach Jeff Fisher said a decision on whether to re-sign receiver Biren Ealy to the practice squad would be made today. The move is likely to happen, though Ealy has had overtures from a couple of other teams, according to his agent George Tarry.
“There are a couple of teams that have followed him since the draft that have contacted me to let me know they’re interested,” Tarry said. “Biren likes it in Tennessee, and my priority is to have him return there, but at the same time, I have to look out for his interests regarding an opportunity to play in this league.”
Tarry said he was hopeful the Titans would re-sign Ealy to the 53-man roster instead of the practice squad.