With apologies to Jim Mora, yes, playoffs.
The Tennessee Titans are already in line to potentially clinch a spot in the postseason this weekend if the right set of scenarios unfold in the AFC.
The Titans would need to defeat the AFC East-leading New York Jets Sunday at LP Field, while also having the Pittsburgh Steelers lose a Thursday game at home to the Cincinnati Bengals, plus having losses or ties by Miami and Baltimore. The Dolphins are at home against New England, while the Ravens play host to Philadelphia (In case, you’re reading this, Donovan McNabb, yes the game can end in a tie and that tie can help make Tennessee the first AFC team in the 2008 playoff field).
Titans coach Jeff Fisher didn’t want to discuss things like playoff berths, division titles or home-field advantage at his Monday press conference. And talking about the possibility of going unbeaten for the season with the 10-0 start was certainly taboo.
Instead, Fisher reiterated the weekly theme that has helped the Titans maintain their focus — that this week’s attention will be on the Jets and the fact that the Titans still had plenty of mistakes in Jacksonville that needed to be worked on and sorted out, despite their 10th victory without a loss..
“There will be some discussions regarding a variety of subjects when the players come back but I can assure you that the main topic of discussion will be the Jets because that’s the approach we’ve taken all year,” Fisher said.
The other area of emphasis for the coaching staff is to try and clean up the many errors that were evident in a 14-3 halftime deficit at Jacksonville. Missed tackles and seven penalties for 32 yards hurt the Titans throughout the half on defense. And the offense, despite productive rushing and passing totals, converted only 1 of 12 third-down tries in the game, albeit the one conversion was a 56-yard touchdown pass from Kerry Collins to Justin Gage.
“We have to get some things corrected. Defensively, we had eight missed tackles. We had a couple opportunities to knock the quarterback down and we didn’t,” Fisher said. “We had our hands on a couple balls. Those kinds of things that we need to improve on. Same thing offensively. We had some breakdowns and a few communication issues but we’re satisfied with the win. We’re going to continue to try and get better and we have to get better, obviously, with this week’s opponent.”
The Titans have been able to make their adjustments and corrections — sometimes even during the game — without yet having to taste defeat while doing so.
“We’ve done that in situations before where things may not be going exactly the way you want them to, and you’re struggling a little bit and finding it hard to get in a rhythm, you’ve just got to keep playing,” said quarterback Kerry Collins, who shrugged off a sluggish first half to fire three touchdown passes to beat Jacksonville in the second half.
Defensive tackle Tony Brown said the Titans, that while needing to shore up plenty of areas, can take stock in the fact that they did rally to win in what was probably their poorest half of the season to date Sunday against the Jaguars.
“It really felt like we crossed a bridge [Sunday]. We faced a little adversity and we rallied the troops and we came back,” Brown said.
WHITE PROBATION: Titans running back LenDale White entered a guilty plea to disturbing the peace on Monday in a Denver courtroom to resolve the case that has been pending against him since March 15.
White was sentenced to 12 months of unsupervised probation, according to an assistant with the Denver County General Sessions Court, as well as $91 in fines and court costs and 16 hours of anger management counseling.
White will have to report back to the court on April 17, 2009 to ensure he is complying with the judge’s orders.
White, a Denver native, had been cited with destruction of property, disobedience to a lawful order/interference and resistance. All charges except disturbing the peace were dismissed.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail that the league reserves the right to review the case with the possibility of further discipline in the form of a fine and/or suspension.
“As in any matter of this nature, it will be reviewed under the league's Personal Conduct Policy,” Aiello said.
FAMILY REUNION: There will be family reunion for Titans third-string quarterback Chris Simms as his father Phil Simms will broadcast his next two games, beginning Sunday with the New York Jets and again on Thanksgiving Day when the Titans visit Detroit.
The elder Simms, a former New York Giants quarterback and the lead analyst for CBS, should arrive in town either Thursday evening or Friday morning to ready for the game and reunite with his son.
“I talk to my dad about two or three times a week. We haven’t seen each other since July, so it’ll be good to see him,” Chris Simms said.
Phil Simms has made it a point to never broadcast one of his son’s games in the NFL, and it would only occur if the Titans lost both Kerry Collins and Vince Young to injuries.
So how does Chris Simms believe his father would call his game?
“He’ll be in a tough spot, but he’ll be fair always,” Chris Simms said.
Phil Simms attended a Tampa Bay Bucs preseason game earlier this year when Chris was still with them, but according to Chris, it will be the first time his dad has been to a regular season game of his since he was in college at the University of Texas.