NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Jeff Fisher is hoping a better team translates into a better September for his Tennessee Titans.
They started 0-5 in 2006, a miserable beginning for a team that has struggled in the opening month since moving to Tennessee.
Subtract three of their four playoff seasons, they have started 10-25 since 1997. September has been even more unkind. Exclude the Super Bowl season of 1999 and the 2003 playoff team, the Titans have won seven games in this month over seven seasons.
``When we've had good teams, we've played well,'' Fisher said Monday. ``When there were cap issues or injury problems, we've not. I'd like to think we're a better team, so I'd expect September to be better.''
The Titans open the season Sunday at Jacksonville hoping to continue the momentum of last season. Not the 0-5 start, the part where they finished 8-8 by winning six of seven and a mere loss out of the first playoff berth since 2003.
Center Kevin Mawae thinks this team is in better shape with more experience than a season ago. Vince Young is going into his second season as a starter compared to a year ago when Kerry Collins started after being signed just before the final exhibition game.
``The guys are more experienced than we had last year, and I think the guys understand what we're trying to accomplish,'' Mawae said. ``Are we going to start off 6-0 instead of 0-6, whatever it was last year, I can't say that. I don't know.
``I think we'll have a much better showing than we did last year.''
Linebacker Keith Bulluck sees a team with much more chemistry now than when the 2006 season started.
``I feel better than I did last year,'' Bulluck said.
A year ago, he saw a team that was all over the place with the pieces being put into place compared to players knowing their exact roles going into this season.
A year ago, Michael Roos had just flipped from right tackle to left tackle with the retirement of Brad Hopkins, and Young was being eased into the NFL with spot duty in the first three games before taking over as the starter.
``That should be huge to avoid a sluggish start just for the simple fact we have built momentum from last season at the end of last season and playing fairly decent football in the preseason. Now everything counts,'' Bulluck said.
The Titans went through the preseason at 3-1, their first winning record since 2004. That didn't result into regular-season success then as injuries led to a 4-12 mark.
``So that record don't really mean much,'' defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth said.
Rookies a year ago remember only too well the pain of starting the season without a win over the first five games. Young openly discussed how miserable he was at losing, coming off his national championship in college at Texas.
Running back LenDale White said they definitely don't want to struggle like that again.
``You want to go out and play football hard and get a victory. You don't play football to lose ever. I think going out and getting a victory to start the season off right will help us go farther down the line,'' White said.
It won't hurt that the Titans open against AFC South rival Jacksonville, a team they split with last season. Linebacker David Thornton said these teams know each other very well.
``It almost counts double so to speak,'' Thornton said. ``You always want to get off to a fast start.''

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