|Titans' task? Protect the ball after 8 turnovers in 2 games|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 18 October 2007 11:53|
Tampa Bay cornerback Ronde Barber recovered the ball only to fumble himself after Titans running back LenDale White slammed into him. Tennessee receiver Justin Gage threw himself down on the ball, ending the play and keeping the ball in the Titans' possession.
``It got us some field position,'' Gage said Thursday. ``It got us down the field farther and a new set of downs. When a play like that happens and it comes back to our side, it gives the offense confidence as opposed to a turnover that hurts our offense.''
No matter if Vince Young's strained right quadriceps muscle heals quickly or if it's backup Kerry Collins at quarterback Sunday in Houston (3-3), the Tennessee Titans must find a way to hold onto the ball after eight turnovers over the past two games.
Subtract the fumble that Gage recovered, the number drops to seven for the Titans (3-2). That turnover total could have been even higher if not for a bit of luck mixed with help from replay review.
Barber thought he had two interceptions except for challenges that overturned both plays. But officials upheld an interception by Phillip Buchanon in that game when Titans coach Jeff Fisher thought the cornerback stepped out of bounds.
Fisher isn't happy with turnovers, and he said all could have been avoided.
``You have to go back and discuss them, go into detail and emphasize, as much as you can, that they don't happen again. Again, it will be a key part of this ballgame,'' Fisher said. ``The team that can protect the ball and not give it up has got a pretty good chance of winning.''
The Titans protected the ball pretty well in 2006 with 26 giveaways. In the NFL, only 13 teams had fewer.
They started off this season fairly stingy, losing the ball only five times through the first three games combined. With the struggles since the bye, the Titans now are halfway to last year's total of giveaways with 13 and 11 games still remaining.
Now, only five NFL teams have more giveaways.
``To me, we've had enough for the season already,'' tight end Ben Troupe said. ``Hopefully, we've got all our turnovers out of the way for the season.''
The Titans have gotten lots of help from the defense to erase those mistakes. They have 10 takeaways that have turned into 28 points, including two interception returns for touchdowns by Vincent Fuller.
But Young, who threw a little Thursday but didn't test his right thigh, is responsible for five of those turnovers. He has been intercepted four times and botched a snap.
Texans coach Gary Kubiak said Young reminds him a bit of his old roommate, John Elway, for his ability to forget an interception during a game and still find a way to win at the end.
``That's hard to teach a guy. That's a hard trait to have. I think Vince has the trait that it's all about winning. He's been that way, nothing bothers him. If he makes a bad play, he's going to come back and make the next one,'' Kubiak said.
``The bigger the play is in the game, it seems like the better the kid plays, and that's just a credit to him.''
The Titans did overcome five turnovers in beating Atlanta 20-13 on Oct. 7, thanks to a defense that held the Falcons to two field goals and got the ball back for Tennessee with a pair of interceptions.
In Tampa Bay, the Bucs turned Young's fumble into a field goal, and that was the difference in a 13-10 loss last weekend.
``You know it's part of the game. We need to get back in the swing of things,'' Scaife said. ``Just execute, be fundamental and don't try to make too much happen. I think that's the way to eliminate all that stuff.''