NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Benefiting from their breather of a bye last week, Titans players returned to the practice fields Monday with a refined focus on what they’ve done so far and what they want to do in the final six games of the regular season.
Jason McCourty said the rest he got during the week off made him feel “excellent.” He and the Titans are also energized by the prospect of making a push for a postseason berth.
Although the Titans struggled to a 1-4 start, they find themselves in striking distance because eight teams in the AFC have records between 6-4 and 4-6.
“It’s good to know you’re not out of it,” McCourty said. “For us, it’s just focusing on each game and making sure we’re doing the best we can to put our best foot forward each time.”
Tennessee (4-6) visits Jacksonville (1-9) Sunday in the first of two meetings between those teams this season, but Titans coaches spent much of the past week self-scouting their own team to pinpoint what has been most and least successful on both sides of the ball.
Coaches discussed their findings Monday during film study and meetings, and players went through a workout and comprehensive practice.
Kamerion Wimbley said the Titans are aware they “left some plays out there” in the first 10 games, but added Tennessee is resolved to make improvements in some areas.
“We just feel if we get better on a lot of technique things we should be able to improve during the latter part of this season,” Wimbley said. “It was good to knock some of that rust off (from) a long bye week. We’ll come back on Wednesday and continue to work on our game plan for the Jaguars.”
Jordan Babineaux said the combination of rest and reflection should help the Titans down the stretch.
“That’s what the bye week is for, so it was good to see and know kind of where we’ve had success and what we’ve been good at,” Babineaux said. “It’s late, but you’ve got to keep that up and be strong where we are strong and understand the things that gave us success throughout the year.”
Titans coach Mike Munchak said he was pleased with how players responded to the time off and the way they returned to work in the full practice that often pitted starters on both sides of the ball against each other instead of ones-versus-twos.
“It was good work, and a good way to get back into it. For coaches and players, when you’re in such a grind for 10 weeks and all of a sudden, you take some time off, it is different,” Munchak said. “It does take a little bit to get back into it. I figured this was better to get into it, break a good sweat, get some good work, get back into it mentally, and then get back on their Tuesday routine, where some guys come in for treatment, some guys start watching tape tomorrow, whatever that may be. Then we’ll get to work on Wednesday.”
Munchak said the Jaguars’ overtime loss at Houston on Sunday illustrates how win-loss records often do not indicate how close a game will be.
Jaguars backup QB Chad Henne replaced Blaine Gabbert after Gabbert suffered an injury early and nearly sparked the upset. Henne completed 16 of 33 passes for 354 yards and four touchdowns, and Jacksonville led Houston 34-20 with 12:33 remaining before the Texans mustered the comeback. Henne is scheduled to start against the Titans.
“They were in position to beat the No. 1 team in the league in Houston,” Munchak said. “They had a great opportunity to win that game, and (Henne) made good decisions throughout the day to do that. That’s the thing about this league, people get so caught up in records. There you have 1-8 versus 8-1, and the 1-8 team should have won probably, had many chances to win that game. We understand what that’s all about, and it’s going to be a great game for us and a tough game for us to win in Jacksonville.”
Colin McCarthy, who’s battled an ankle injury since the season opener, benefited from the extra week between games.
McCarthy believes the Titans can continue momentum from their 37-3 win at Miami on Nov. 11 when the defense forced four turnovers, including a 49-yard interception he returned for a touchdown, and said it was god to take a deeper look at this season as the team prepares to write its ending.
“We’ve got six games left,” McCarthy said. “It’s kind of late now to focus on the bad things, so we’re focusing on the good things we’ve done, continue to build off that, and put together a game plan for us to attack Jacksonville and be effective.”