2014 DRAFT GUIDE
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

Matt JonesMay 20 02:15p

Washington Redskins RB Matt Jones said that he loves the offense and has a chip on his shoulder after not being used properly while in college. 'My college career [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 20 08:53a

Updating a previous report, Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) is experiencing numbness in his right ring finger. He hopes to avoid surgery through rest and rehab, and no [ More ]

Derek CarrMay 19 06:13p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (finger) has a right ring finger injury that could be surgically repaired. A return for training camp is still achievable, however, according to a source.

L. WashingtonMay 19 05:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR L'Damian Washington (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, May 19.

Shayne GrahamMay 19 03:03p

New Orleans Saints PK Shayne Graham was released Tuesday, May 19. Subsequently, free-agent WR Lance Lewis (49ers) was signed.

Joseph BarksdaleMay 19 02:23p

Free-agent OT Joseph Barksdale (Rams) will sign a one-year deal worth $350,000 with the San Diego Chargers, according to a source. The deal also comes with more than $1 million in incentives available.

Tom BradyMay 19 01:43p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will continue to appeal his four-game suspension, despite owner Robert Kraft saying the team will not appeal the discipline levied against them.

Jed CollinsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Tyler CluttsMay 18 03:32p

Dallas Cowboys FB Jed Collins was released Monday, May 18, and FB Tyler Clutts was re-signed to an undisclosed contract.

Lache SeastrunkMay 18 02:42p

Tennessee Titans RB Lache Seastrunk was released Monday, May 18.

Jimmy GaroppoloMay 17 08:42p

New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo's quick decision making and accuracy fit well with New England's playbook that includes quick-rhythm passes as part of the foundation, and Bucky Brooks [ More ]

Zach HockerMay 17 04:42p

The New Orleans Saints have signed free-agent PK Zach Hocker (Dolphins).

Joseph RandleMay 16 07:32p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle has the skills to lead the team's backfield in 2015 but he'll need to work on his off-field issues, according to Jon Machota of [ More ]

Matt CasselMay 15 07:52p

Buffalo Bills QB Matt Cassel is likely to enter Week 1 of the season as the team's backup quarterback, in the opinion of The Buffalo News' Vic Carucci. He [ More ]

Santana MossMay 15 07:12p

Free-agent WR Santana Moss (Redskins) is not ready to hang up his cleats and retire this offseason. 'I'm a free agent right now, you know how they do [ More ]

Robert TurbinMay 14 05:32p

Seattle Seahawks RB Robert Turbin (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason, according to sources. No timetable was disclosed for his recovery.

Tom BradyMay 14 03:52p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has officially appealed his four-game suspension.

Greg SalasMay 13 02:23p

Free-agent WR Greg Salas (Jets) signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions Wednesday, May 13. Financial terms were not disclosed.

John ConnerMay 13 12:03p

Free-agent FB John Conner (Jets) signed with the Buffalo Bills Wednesday, May 13. FB Corey Knox was waived to make room for him.

Tom BradyMay 13 10:03a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's four-game suspension could be reduced significantly, and possibly overturned, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Brady has put together a renowned legal team to appeal his suspension.

D.J. SwearingerMay 12 05:22p

Free-agent SS D.J. Swearinger was officially claimed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tuesday, May 12.

Fred JacksonMay 12 03:13p

Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson may not make the final roster if the Bills end up keeping only three running backs, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com. RB LeSean [ More ]

Lance MooreMay 12 01:23p

Free-agent WR Lance Moore (Steelers) signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions.

Justin BlackmonMay 12 11:02a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon was denied reinstatement by the NFL this offseason, according to The Associated Press' Mark Long. It's unclear whether Blackmon failed a drug test or [ More ]

Joseph RandleMay 12 10:42a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle could see the bulk of the carries as the season weighs on, in the opinion of beat writer Todd Archer. Archer pegged Randle for [ More ]

Jimmy GaroppoloMay 11 09:42p

New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to start while QB Tom Brady serves his suspension for 'DeflateGate'. Brady was suspended four games by the National Football League [ More ]

Tom BradyMay 11 07:12p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will appeal his four-game suspension, according to his agent.

Tom BradyMay 11 05:52p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has been suspended four games for his involvement in the deflated-football incident in the AFC Championship. In addition, the Patriots will lose their [ More ]

D.J. SwearingerMay 11 04:12p

Houston Texans SS D.J. Swearinger was officially released Monday, May 11.

Carey SpearMay 11 01:22p

Cleveland Browns PKs Travis Coons and Carey Spear will compete for the kicker job this offseason, and the competition is wide open at this point, according to special teams coordinator Chris Tabor.

Garrett HartleyMay 11 01:12p

Cleveland Browns PK Garrett Hartley was released Monday, May 11.

Kyle ArringtonMay 11 10:32a

New England Patriots CB Kyle Arrington was released Monday, May 11, according to a source. The team left the door open for him to return.

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