Titans, Chiefs winning through lots of turnovers

By TERESA M. WALKER - AP Sports Writer
    2013-10-03 17:54

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Safety Michael Griffin has a theory on why teammate Alterraun Verner has been a one-man turnover machine.

Maybe, just maybe the Titans ticked Verner off when they opened up his cornerback job for competition this offseason.

It's Verner's job for sure now, and he's leading the NFL with six takeaways all by himself. He's a big reason why the Titans (3-1) and undefeated Chiefs are tied for the best turnover margin in the league at plus-9 going into Sunday's game.

``He just has a knack of being around the ball, and he's always been a playmaker since a rookie,'' Griffin said. ``He's just been playing great football. He's carrying the load right now, and the rest of us ... the entire secondary we got to start picking things up.''

Turnover margin is one of the NFL's more important stats because a positive differential usually is a key to winning. A negative margin can be disastrous; Pittsburgh (0-4) is last in the NFL with a minus-11 turnover margin.

``You sure don't want to turn the ball over, and you want to accumulate as many as you can,'' Chiefs coach Andy Reid said.

The Titans have gone the first four games this season without a turnover, though they've come close to losing the ball more than once. They have tied the 1995 St. Louis Rams as the only team in the Super Bowl era without a turnover through four games. They have not had a winning record in a season when their turnover margin was below zero dating back to at least 1999.

Protecting the ball has become even more of a focus since a 34-12 loss to Chicago last November. The Bears forced five turnovers that game; the Titans were lucky that they held onto two of six fumbles.

``That kind of woke us up last year when that happened to us,'' Titans coach Mike Munchak. ``We didn't think that could happen to us to fumble as many times as we did in one game. From that point on, it's been a mindset. On defense, it's been the opposite. You're working on it all the time.''

The Titans certainly have, trying to make a habit of running to the ball and clawing to strip it out. Linebacker Akeem Ayers said it's becoming something that they do naturally as a defense.

``You look at the statistics of a defense, usually teams with the most turnovers at the end of the year are usually the team in the playoffs ... We're doing good at that right now. We want to get better.''

Verner rotated with Tommie Campbell this preseason before finally being named the starter in his fourth season. The 5-foot-10, 186-pound cornerback came in with six career interceptions. Now he's tied for the league-lead with four interceptions after picking off two passes last week in a 38-13 rout of the Jets along with recovering a fumble.

``That's what competition does,'' Verner said. ``It brings out the best in you because you have to be on top of your game.''

Tennessee finished that win over the Jets with a season's best four turnovers, and Karl Klug recovered a fumble for a touchdown. Safety Bernard Pollard is the only other player with an interception, but the Titans have been very effective at sending a message on defense, according to Chiefs receiver Dexter McCluster.

``They're going to hit you ever single play, so all we can do is go out there and bring it at them,'' McCluster said.

The Chiefs are tied for third in the league with 12 takeaways. But they had their first three turnovers last week in beating the New York Giants 31-7, and Alex Smith said ball security is going to be a big emphasis against the Titans.

``They play physical, a physical defense you can see it shows up on tape,'' Smith said. ``They challenge you outside, they challenge you up front. They play fast. They're a good unit. Not necessarily a household name on the unit, but they're playing really well.''

Notes: RB Shonn Greene (right knee) and DT Sammie Hill (right ankle) missed practice again, and Munchak said it will be hard for either to play Sunday. ... DE Ropati Pitoitua (shoulder) and RT David Stewart (right leg) missed a second practice each but are expected to be on the field Friday. DB Blidi Wreh-Wilson (hamstring) also missed practice. WR Kenny Britt (neck/ribs) practiced fully for a second straight day along with LB Patrick Bailey (hamstring).


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Frank GoreNov 25 11:43a

Indianapolis Colts RB Frank Gore (knee) is out of practice Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Joseph RandleNov 25 10:43a

Free-agent RB Joseph Randle (Cowboys) was arrested Tuesday, Nov. 24, in a Kansas casino on charges including felony criminal threats, misdemeanor assault of a law enforcement officer, interference with [ More ]

Colin KaepernickNov 25 10:13a

Updating previous reports, San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick (shoulder) had a more significant tear in his left labrum than originally believed, according to a source. He'll require four to six months of rehabilitation.

Marshawn LynchNov 25 09:33a

Updating previous reports, Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) will have surgery Wednesday, Nov. 25, to repair a sports hernia, and he's expected to be out for a month.

Stedman BaileyNov 25 08:53a

Updating a previous report, St. Louis Rams WR Stedman Bailey (head) will undergo surgery Wednesday, Nov. 25, after he was shot twice in the head in Florida. Bailey is [ More ]

Stedman BaileyNov 25 02:03a

St. Louis Rams WR Stedman Bailey (head) was involved in a shooting incident Tuesday, Nov. 24, in Florida, and he suffered a head wound, according to a team source. [ More ]

Marshawn LynchNov 25 02:03a

All indications are that Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) is expected to miss four to five weeks due to his abdominal injury. The hope is that Lynch is [ More ]

Thomas RawlsNov 25 02:03a

Seattle Seahawks RB Thomas Rawls is expected to serve as the primary ball carrier for the game Week 12 against the Pittsburgh Steelers with RB Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) missing [ More ]

Peyton ManningNov 24 08:53p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (foot, ribs) will miss at least the next two weeks as he continues to recover from a partially torn plantar fascia and a rib [ More ]

Tyrod TaylorNov 24 07:13p

Updating a previous report, Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor (shoulder) is dealing with a shoulder injury, and head coach Rex Ryan expects Taylor to be able to play in [ More ]

Chip KellyNov 24 06:43p

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly may not return as head coach of the Eagles next year, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Schefter said momentum and signs seem [ More ]

B.J. DanielsNov 24 06:13p

The Seattle Seahawks re-signed WR B.J. Daniels to the active roster Tuesday, Nov. 24.

Matt ForteNov 24 05:33p

Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte (knee) and WR Alshon Jeffery (groin) are both expected to suit up in Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers Thursday, Nov. 26. Both [ More ]

Aaron DobsonNov 24 05:23p

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots WR Aaron Dobson (ankle) is expected to miss at least Week 12 with an ankle injury, and possibly more time. Dobson's X-rays were negative, though.

Danny AmendolaNov 24 05:13p

New England Patriots WR Danny Amendola (knee) suffered a knee sprain in a Week 11 win over the Buffalo Bills. He is not expected to miss extended time, though. [ More ]

Jimmy ClausenNov 24 04:33p

Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Nov. 24, with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a torn medial collateral ligament. Free-agent QB [ More ]

Joe FlaccoNov 24 04:33p

Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Nov. 24, with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a torn medial collateral ligament. Free-agent QB [ More ]

Sam BradfordNov 24 04:23p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (shoulder, concussion) had 'some memory loss' after sustaining a concussion in Week 10, and he also said his separated left shoulder could keep him [ More ]

Josh McCownNov 24 04:03p

Cleveland Browns QB Josh McCown will start in Week 12. QB Austin Davis will serve as backup, while QB Johnny Manziel will be Cleveland's No. 3 quarterback.

Johnny ManzielNov 24 04:03p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel will serve as the Browns' No. 3 quarterback in Week 12. QB Josh McCown will start.

Zach ErtzNov 24 03:03p

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz (concussion) will not play Thursday, Nov. 26, against the Detroit Lions as he will still be in the concussion protocol.

Bryce BrownNov 24 02:13p

Free-agent RB Bryce Brown (Seahawks) is re-signing with the Seattle Seahawks Tuesday, Nov. 24.

Colin KaepernickNov 24 01:13p

San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick (shoulder) had surgery to fix a torn labrum in his left shoulder Tuesday, Nov. 24, and he is expected to need a recovery [ More ]

Devin FunchessNov 24 12:23p

Carolina Panthers WR Devin Funchess is showing signs of becoming a similar receiver to teammate WR Kelvin Benjamin, who caught 73 passes for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns in [ More ]

Tyrod TaylorNov 24 12:03p

Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor's (chest) availability for Week 12 against the Kansas City Chiefs is unknown, but head coach Rex Ryan hopes his quarterback will be available. Ryan [ More ]

Sam BradfordNov 24 11:03a

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (concussion, shoulder) cleared the concussion protocol Tuesday, Nov. 24, but it's unknown if he'll start Thursday, Nov. 26.

Ryan MathewsNov 24 10:53a

Philadelphia Eagles RB Ryan Mathews (concussion) is still in the concussion protocol Tuesday, Nov. 24, and remains out of practice.

Danny AmendolaNov 23 11:13p

New England Patriots WR Danny Amendola (knee) suffered a right knee injury on a non-contact play on a punt return in the third quarter of the Week 11 game [ More ]

Aaron DobsonNov 23 07:23p

New England Patriots WR Aaron Dobson (back) is officially active for the Week 11 game against the Buffalo Bills.

Marshawn LynchNov 23 07:13p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) is not expected to play in the Week 12 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team is expected to find out Tuesday, Nov. [ More ]

Jamie CollinsNov 23 07:13p

The New England Patriots have declared LB Jamie Collins, WR Julian Edelman, CB Justin Coleman, WR Keshawn Martin, DL Sealver Siliga, OG Tre Jackson, DL Trey Flowers inactive for Week 11.

Anthony McCoyNov 23 05:33p

Washington Redskins TE Anthony McCoy was waived Monday, Nov. 23. Free-agent TE Je'Ron Hamm (Redskins) was re-signed to the Redskins' practice squad.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
Player Notes:
Forum Posts:

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group