2013 DRAFT GUIDE
Titans get back to basics in win over Steelers

By WILL GRAVES - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-09 02:54

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Mike Munchak entered the offseason with a very specific idea of what he needed from the Tennessee Titans if his team was serious about getting back into contention in the AFC.

The coach, a Hall of Fame offensive lineman, needed the Titans to be tough. He needed them to be relentless. He needed them to not be intimidated.

Check. Check. Check.

Buoyed by a persistent running game and an invigorated defense, the Titans smothered the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-9 on Sunday in the kind of performance sure to open a lot of eyes. The ones in the Tennessee locker room included.

``We said it only counts as one win, but it's a sweet win,'' Munchak said. ``It is a great start for us to start 1-0 in a game that a lot of people thought would be the other way.''

Hardly. Tennessee limited the Steelers to 195 total yards, sacked quarterback Ben Roethlisberger five times and forced two turnovers. Not quite the start Pittsburgh was looking for in what it hopes will be a bounce-back season after missing the playoffs last year.

``Not good enough, point blank,'' Roethlisberger said. ``No excuses. I don't make excuses. It just wasn't good enough.''

Here are five things we know after Tennessee ended Pittsburgh's 10-game winning streak in home openers.

1. THE STEELERS ARE HURTING. Pittsburgh pointed to the health of its young and retooled offensive line as one of the keys to its season. That health lasted less than 10 minutes. Three-time Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey is out for the year after tearing the ACL and MCL in his right knee in the first quarter. Pouncey was blocking when teammate David DeCastro fell on top of him, leaving the unit without its unquestioned leader.

``It's going to be tough,'' running back Isaac Redman said. ``Pouncey is the heart of our offensive line. To lose him, we're going to have guys step up and we're all going to have to play better.''

Pittsburgh linebacker Larry Foote is also done for the year after rupturing his right biceps while running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, cornerback Cortez Allen and kicker Shaun Suisham were also dinged up.

2. TENNESSEE CAN GRIND. The Titans needed 42 carries to muster 112 yards rushing. What they lacked in flash they made up for in ferocity. Tennessee kept plowing forward 2 to 3 yards at a time, controlling the clock and wearing down Pittsburgh's defense. The Titans ran it on 11 of the 12 plays in a 49-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter that gave them the lead for good.

``We went back to try to get back to Titans' football,'' Tennessee offensive tackle Michael Roos said.

3. GREGG WILLIAMS STILL HAS IT. The longtime defensive guru is back in the league after serving a suspension following his role in the bounty scandal that rocked the New Orleans Saints. While Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray remains very much in charge of the play calling, Williams has infused the unit with the same kind of relentless aggression that has become his trademark.

The Titans never allowed Roethlisberger to get comfortable and held the Steelers to just 32 yards rushing.

``We're working much more together now,'' defensive tackle Jurrell Casey said. ``Nobody's pointing fingers at anybody else, and nobody's being selfish. We have to work as a unit, and that's what we did.''

4. DARIUS REYNAUD NEEDS A REFRESHER. The Tennessee kick returner got a season's worth of mental miscues out of the way in the first 3 seconds of the game.

Reynaud fielded the opening kickoff from Suisham just outside the Tennessee goal line and shuffled back a few inches to down the ball in the end zone, believing it was a touchback. One problem, the ball never got that deep. Officials eventually ruled the play a safety, giving the Steelers an early 2-0 lead and Reynaud a place on the lowlight reel.

``I know I was in the end zone,'' Reynaud said. ``I did not know where the ball was. That's something I need to work on.''

5. THE STEELERS HAVE NO RUNNING GAME. Pittsburgh introduced a zone blocking scheme in the offseason hoping it would help bolster a running game that ranked near the bottom of the league in 2012.

The early returns were not promising. Stephens-Howling led Pittsburgh with 19 yards rushing and the Steelers didn't have a run longer than 8 yards all day. Even worse, Redman fumbled twice, including one into the Tennessee end zone in the first quarter.

``It's unacceptable,'' Redman said. ``It wasn't a guy hitting, more the ball coming out. It was something we work on every single day in practice.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Aldon SmithApr 17 09:32p

The San Francisco 49ers do not plan on releasing LB Aldon Smith this offseason. Smith is expected to be suspended at the beginning of the season, but the length [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 17 08:52p

New York Jets RB Chris Johnson (knee) said he expects to receive medical clearance to resume football activities in the near future. He underwent knee surgery in January but [ More ]

Sebastian VollmerApr 17 08:42p

New England Patriots OG Logan Mankins said OT Sebastian Vollmer (leg) has looked good this offseason while he recovers from the broken leg he suffered during the 2013 season.

Chris SneeApr 17 07:32p

New York Giants OG Chris Snee (hip, elbow) is expected to participate when offseason workouts begin next week even though he is not 100 percent.

Rolando McClainApr 17 06:02p

The Baltimore Ravens reinstated LB Rolando McClain from the reserve/retired list Thursday, April 17.

Russell AllenApr 17 05:02p

The Jacksonville Jaguars released LB Russell Allen, WR Jabin Sambrano and DEs Will Pericak and D'Aundre Reed Thursday, April 17.

Chad JohnsonApr 17 02:22p

Free-agent WR Chad Johnson (Patriots) signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League Thursday, April 17.

Brian CushingApr 17 01:32p

Houston Texans LB Brian Cushing (knee) was medically cleared Thursday, April 17.

LaMichael JamesApr 17 10:04a

According to a league source, the San Francisco 49ers have been shopping RB LaMichael James. He finds himself behind RBs Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and perhaps Marcus Lattimore on [ More ]

Mike BrownApr 16 11:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Mike Brown signed his exclusive-rights free agent deal Wednesday, April 16.

Eli ManningApr 16 11:33p

Former New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said in a radio interview this week that it is 'ludicrous' to say QB Eli Manning is declining. 'There's been no [ More ]

Sidney RiceApr 16 08:03p

The Seattle Seahawks are re-signing WR Sidney Rice to an undisclosed one-year deal Wednesday, April 16, according to sources.

Dwayne BoweApr 16 07:03p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe pleaded guilty Wednesday, April 16, after being arrested last November for marijuana possession. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges of littering and defective [ More ]

Arian FosterApr 16 04:53p

The Houston Texans may consider selecting a running back during the middle rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft that could become RB Arian Foster's backup in the future.

Chris JohnsonApr 16 04:43p

The New York Jets signed RB Chris Johnson to a two-year deal worth $8 million, with another $1 million in incentives available.

Terrelle PryorApr 16 04:33p

The Oakland Raiders hope to trade QB Terrelle Pryor before the start of the offseason program Monday, April 21.

Clay MatthewsApr 16 04:13p

Green Bay Packers LB Clay Matthews (thumb) said he likely will be limited during offseason workouts because of his surgically repaired thumb.

Chris JohnsonApr 16 03:53p

The New York Jets will use RBs Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory as a tandem this upcoming season and have them split carries. RB Bilal Powell will be the team's No. 3 running back.

Dan SkutaApr 16 03:33p

San Francisco 49ers LB Dan Skuta (foot) is not expected to need surgery on the foot injury that bothered him during the 2013 season. Skuta met with a foot [ More ]

Gus BradleyApr 16 02:53p

Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley watched Georgia QB Aaron Murray participate in his pro day Wednesday, April 16.

Reggie BushApr 16 02:13p

Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said RBs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell likely will receive similar workloads this upcoming season than they did during the 2013 season. Bush [ More ]

Cheta OzougwuApr 16 01:53p

The Chicago Bears have waived DE Cheta Ozougwu.

Mike JamesApr 16 12:53p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Mike James (ankle) said he is happy with the progress he has made in his recovery from an ankle injury and that he has been [ More ]

Carson PalmerApr 16 12:43p

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer said he would understand if the team selects a quarterback during the 2014 NFL Draft, because he knows the team has to think about [ More ]

Josh FreemanApr 16 12:23p

The New York Giants have agreed to terms with free-agent QB Josh Freeman (Vikings). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Rolando McClainApr 16 12:13p

Updating previous reports, retired LB Rolando McClain failed his conditioning tests during his workout with the Baltimore Ravens. The test consisted of six timed 150-yard runs.

Golden TateApr 16 10:53a

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate said he thinks he can be a 'more explosive Lance Moore,' referring to the former New Orleans Saints receiver. Moore caught 65 passes for [ More ]

Matt FlynnApr 16 10:01a

Green Bay Packers QB Matt Flynn is expected to compete with QB Scott Tolzien for the backup quarterback job, but head coach Mike McCarthy anticipates keeping three QBs on [ More ]

Rolando McClainApr 16 12:03a

Retired LB Rolando McClain (Ravens) worked out for the Baltimore Ravens Tuesday, April 15, as he attempts a comeback. The workout wasn't a smooth one in terms of conditioning, [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 16 12:03a

The New York Jets are sticking to their budget/value system. While they want free-agent RB Chris Johnson (Titans), they will not 'overpay' for him. The depressed running back market [ More ]

Aldon SmithApr 16 12:03a

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith hasn't only lost the benefit of the doubt with the team, but he probably won't play with the team in 2014, according to [ More ]

Malcom FloydApr 15 11:53p

San Diego Chargers WR Malcom Floyd (neck) continues his rehab from a neck injury, but his status is still uncertain. When the team begins voluntary workouts April 22, Floyd [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group