Titans coach Jeff Fisher said there was no visual evidence on the coaches tape of the Jason Jones incident to determine whether or not the defensive tackle threw a punch on the Houston Texans sideline in Sunday’s 34-31 loss.
Jones was ejected from the game by referee Walt Coleman, and Fisher said he bases the ejection on the assumption that the officials saw a punch throw, even though Jones insisted after the game that he only shoved a Texans player while defending cornerback Cortland Finnegan.
“The coaches tape does not show a punch thrown. I’ve looked at the TV tape and I could not see a punch thrown. Andre Johnson jerked Cortland down by the facemask on their boundary and that started the fracas in the bench area,” Fisher said. “I didn’t see the punch thrown, but again, they’re not going to eject a player without being fairly sure it was thrown.”
Fisher went on to call Jones’ actions "selfish." as it left the Titans with only Jovan Haye and Tony Brown active among the defensive tackles. Kevin Vickerson and Sen’Derrick Marks were both healthy scratches before the game.
“It was a selfish act on Jason’s part. We kept three tackles up, and I had to have an end [William Hayes] go on the field on fourth-and-1 and play tackle in a critical situation,” Fisher said. “You’ve got to put the team first. But it is a fine line. You’ve got your teammate battling over there, and you want to go in and try to help him, but you can go help him without throwing a punch.”
Shopping for a punter
The Titans will have to shop the free agent market for a punter after veteran Craig Hentrich suffered a calf strain in the third quarter of Sunday’s game.
Rookie A.J. Trapasso, who was in camp with the Titans is a possibility, as are veteran punters who are out there and have been with the team before, such as Josh Miller or Glenn Pakulak.
Fisher said the team is still evaluating Hentrich to determine how long he might be out and whether or not they need to carry two punters short-term or put Hentrich on injured reserve and sign a punter for the remainder of the season.
“When you only have one punter, we’ll replace him and we’ll take our time doing it. I don’t have any names for you right now. Trapasso will be an option, but we’re in the process of doing that,” Fisher said. “It’s hard to carry two punters on your active roster the whole entire year. We have other needs and we may have other needs that come up. We’re in the process of discussing it.”
Speaking of other needs, Fisher did not rule out the team looking for a new return man after rookies Ryan Mouton and Javon Ringer struggled on punts and kickoffs, respectively Sunday.
“They’re getting better. It’s not where we want to be but they’re both improving,” Fisher said.
Both Mouton and Ringer muffed kicks with Mouton having to down his on his own 1-yard line.
Asked if the Titans would seek another returner, Fisher said, “Yeah. I mean, if there’s somebody else out there that’s better, and we feel like it’s a move we need to make, we’ll make it.”