In honor of the AFL legecy game this week against the New York Jets, Tennessee Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck has his own guarantee of sorts.
Maybe it's not quite like Joe Namath's Super Bowl guarantee back in 1969, but Bulluck promises a different and better Titans defense than the one of the past two weeks will show up this Sunday against the Jets. He says the Titans know how to win and have plans to do just that this week in the Big Apple.
At 0-2 and dead last in passing yardage surrendered that might be bold talk. The Titans have given up more than 350 yards through the air in each of the first two games this season. But Bulluck vows that that is about to change as they prepare to take on the 2-0 Jets and rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez.
“We’re definitely getting back after it. We’re going against a rookie quarterback,” Bulluck said. “We plan on showing him a bunch of different looks and to take what [Jets safety] Kerry Rhodes said last week [about New England], we want to knock their quarterback around. … We’re not a team that’s desperate. We’re a team that knows how to win. And we’re a team that plans on going to New York this week and getting a win, our first win.”
To back up Bulluck's claim, it will take the elimination of a myriad of mistakes that have plagued the Titans, especially in the secondary two games into the season.
“We still run the same defense,” nickelback Vincent Fuller said. “My gut feeling is that it’s a thing that happened where we made some mistakes in the secondary, and our thing is just to eliminate those mistakes and not allow them to happen.
“There are basic fundamental things we work on in practice that we just lost sight of. And seeing those types of things happen makes us pay more attention to detail.”
Safety Michael Griffin, who bit on a play fake that allowed Houston Texans Andre Johnson to cruise past him wide open for a 72-yard touchdown pass from Matt Schaub Sunday, said mistakes have to be fixed and that the entire defense must be accountable to each other.
“Everybody has got to be held accountable for mistakes. I’m one of the people who’ve got to be held accountable for mistakes,” Griffin said.
Griffin said the 0-2 start is tough, and that rectifying it starts with each player taking care of his own duties.
“When you don’t care no more, that’s when you have issues. I care. This is my first time ever being in an 0-2 start. In college and even high school, we always won,” Griffin said. “This my first time being 0-2. But I’ve got to learn from my mistakes, and go out there and play my type of game.”
Defensive tackle Tony Brown says players have to get back to doing their own assignments on each and every play to make the defense work again properly.
“It’s not a lack of focus. It’s that we all want to make plays so bad that sometimes we forget our technique and what we’ve been taught,” Brown said. “It goes out the window when you’re really trying to make a play badly.”
The Titans believe that for all that has gone wrong, they are not that far away from getting it fixed – offering up two losses by three points each as evidence.
“We’ve lost two games by a combined six points, and we made a lot of mistakes. And also, we know how good this team can be, so it’s nothing to panic over,” Bulluck said. “Really, it’s a matter of cutting all the b.s. out and getting down to basics. We all know how we play defense. The defense that played last Sunday, I hope everybody got a good glimpse of them, because they’ll never show up again this year. I guarantee that.”