Manager moniker bothers Collins
Posted: Friday, November 7, 2008 4:43 pm
By: By TERESA M. WALKER, AP Sports Writer
NASHVILLE (AP) — Kerry Collins understands that people are trying to compliment him when they call him a game manager or caretaker. The Tennessee quarterback says it’s a little bit insulting too.
Collins is 7-0 as a starter with the Titans since taking over for Vince Young, and he has thrown for 1,236 yards with three touchdowns yet only three interceptions. He also has been sacked only three times as the Titans (8-0) prepare to visit Chicago (5-3).
And yes, he said there’s much more to playing quarterback in the NFL.
“Managing the game always has been a part of it. That’s certainly I think what we all strive for is to manage the game well and not make a lot of mistakes and make good decisions. But there’s also the other side where you have to make plays and you have to make plays when your team needs them,” Collins said.
“That’s all part of being a quarterback. Certainly, I understand with our team, with our defense, they’re going to keep us in the game a lot of times if I don’t make mistakes. And if we don’t make a lot of mistakes as an offense, it gives ourselves a better chance of winning on Sunday.”
Collins ranks 14th all-time in yards passing with 35,953, having passed Jim Kelly in Week 7 at Kansas City.
He also ranks 11th in NFL history with career passing attempts and 12th in completions.
He has led a team to victory after trailing or being tied in the fourth quarter 29 times in his career, three this season.
“This is the NFL. There are times when you’ve got to be able to throw it and catch it, and the last couple weeks we’ve been able to do that,” Collins said.
The Titans rank last in the NFL with four TD passes, one more than they had through eight games of 2007.
But they have rushed for an NFL-best 15 TDs for 19 touchdowns offensively, and that’s up from 13 total at this point last season.
UNDER THE LIGHTS: Coach Jeff Fisher let his Titans sleep late Thursday.
He pushed back practice five hours, taking advantage of the extra lights the team installed on one of their three outdoor football fields.
“When you’re in a routine getting up 5:30, 6 o’clock every morning, it’s nice to just sleep in during the week. I know the veterans when they went through it their first experience, they really appreciated it. The design was just rest up, heal up,” Fisher said.
Then they worked for a little more than two hours with only defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch (groin), linebacker Keith Bulluck (chest) and cornerback/returner Chris Carr (shoulder) not practicing. Kerry Collins (ankle) practiced after being limited Wednesday.
VETERANS AFFAIRS: The NFL will be celebrating Veterans Day at games on Sunday, and the Titans did their part last week by honoring members of the Wounded Warriors who unfurled an American flag before kickoff. They also recognized Purple Heart recipients with a game ball with a local member of the military singing the anthem.
But Veterans Day is especially important to Titans fullback Ahmard Hall, a Marine who served four years with tours of duty in Kosovo and Afghanistan before he walked on at Texas and signed as an undrafted free agent with Tennessee in 2006. His wife, Joanna, also served in the Marines.
He will be leading some teammates and cheerleaders on a visit to a local Veterans Affairs Hospital on Tuesday.
“I just reflect on the time that I served and the people who I served with. I also reflect on those who lost their lives for our freedom and the soldiers who are serving overseas fighting for our freedom. Veterans Day is very special,” he said.
DEFENSIVE DEPTH: If the Titans wind up playing without defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and linebacker Keith Bulluck on Sunday, there will be a dropoff. The good thing these days? They also have enough talented depth to make sure it’s not much of a first step.
Jacob Ford got two sacks and forced a fumble filling in for Vanden Bosch in last week’s 19-16 overtime win over Green Bay, and end Dave Ball got one himself. When Bulluck had to go to the locker room with a rib injury, Stephen Tulloch moved outside from the middle linebacker spot and Ryan Fowler, who started last season and the first three games this season at middle linebacker, went in.
Tulloch worked at all three spots in the preseason and said he’s very comfortable himself and with the others.
“We know those guys can definitely go in there and fill the void and make things happen. That’s what’s special about this team is everybody works together. If one person goes down, another can step up and care of that situation,” Tulloch said.
Tulloch has been getting a lot of attention himself lately. He made a key fourth-and-1 tackle for loss in the 31-21 win against Indianapolis on Oct. 27. The linebacker inspired by Hall of Famer Mike Singletary has 39 tackles and two forced fumbles.
“He’s active, a good knee bender, you know, a good football player,” Chicago coach Lovie Smith said.
EXTRA POINTS: The Chicago Bears lead the NFL with 19 takeaways, but Tennessee is second with 18. … Kicker Rob Bironas needs only three field goals to qualify to be ranked in the category of highest field goal percentage in NFL history. He currently has an 84.4 percent rate on field goals, which would rank him fourth behind Mike Vanderjagt (86.5 percent), Nate Kaeding (86.2 percent) and Shayne Graham (85.8 percent). … Titans coach Jeff Fisher is 0-3 against the team he played for in the 1980s, although he did win a preseason game in Chicago in 2000. … Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is raising money for the March of Dimes with his “Dining for Dimes” fundraiser on Monday at The Bound’ry Restaurant in Nashville. For more information, www.marchofdimes.com/tennessee. … Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch is celebrating his 30th birthday on Nov. 17 with a charity event with Total Nonstop Action wrestling at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville. The KVB93 Foundation is raising money to build a media center for the Boys and Girls Club.