Titans not resting, even on off day
Posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2008 4:17 pm
By: By TERESA M. WALKER, AP Sports Writer
NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Titans can’t help themselves.
They finally earned a “Victory Monday” off after their historic fourth straight victory to open the season, and many still showed up to lift weights and watch film.
So much for trying to give a guy a break.
“It is nice to have a Victory Monday,” linebacker David Thornton said. “Hopefully, we’ll have a few more of those down the road. A lot of guys still came in today even though the day was off. That says a lot about the guys on our team, the character of the guys. They don’t want to change the routine that we’re in.”
Why change anything when the Titans improved to 4-0 after Sunday’s 30-17 win over Minnesota? This perfect start is the best in the 49-year history of this franchise, something George Blanda, Earl Campbell, Warren Moon and Steve McNair never accomplished.
They sit atop the AFC South with a two-game lead over Jacksonville, three over defending division champ Indianapolis. The last time they started a season even winning three games in 1999, they reached the Super Bowl.
Nobody is making predictions, not when coach Jeff Fisher has a team filled with players who have bought into his one-week, one-game approach. Next up is Baltimore before a bye. Then they visit Kansas City (1-3) leading into a Monday game with Indianapolis (1-2) Oct. 27.
Thornton was part of Indianapolis teams that started by winning through September before signing with the Colts’ division rival in 2006. He called it a good feeling to win early.
“Hopefully, that can continue. … It’s just not looking too far ahead. I was speaking to some guys in the locker room today just taking it one game at a time, one week at a time because I’ve been in situations where you’ve been on that run and you can look too far ahead and lose sight of taking care of the task at hand,” Thornton said.
The Titans have had some help. They are the only NFL team to play three home games through the first four weeks of the season.
But they are efficient on offense. A unit that ranked last in scoring efficiency inside an opponent’s 20 last season now leads the NFL in that category, scoring on all 13 such trips (10 touchdowns and three field goals). LenDale White is tied with Ronnie Brown of Miami for most TDs rushing in the AFC with five.
No team that played four games through Sunday has allowed fewer points than the 46 given up by the Titans. They also lead the NFL in turnover margin at plus-6, with 12 takeaways.
Cortland Finnegan still leads the NFL with his four interceptions, half the team’s total. Albert Haynesworth leads the AFC with five sacks through four games, one off his career high.
It’s why the Titans have won an NFL-best seven straight regular-season games and haven’t allowed more than 17 points in any of their past eight games counting their playoff loss.
Yet Fisher sees where his team can play better: Tennessee can cover punt and kickoff returns better, and get more production from its own returns. He also sees too many big plays allowed, including a 28-yard touchdown run by Adrian Peterson on Sunday.
And an offense that went three-and-out four times and totaled 70 yards in the second half while protecting a lead.
“We’re just trying to win another game,” Fisher said. “They don’t talk about you, fine. If they start talking about you, you have to keep things in perspective. These guys, those things aren’t important to them. They like winning games. So far we finished the first quarter the way we’d hoped to, the way we expected to. Now we’re moving forward.”