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Defensive Line Looks to Disrupt Romo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Something's gotta give.

The Titans are in a three-way tie for first in the NFL in number of sacks against opposing quarterbacks. The Dallas Cowboys are in in a three-way tie for first at preventing sacks.

Tennessee (2-2) visits Dallas (1-2) at 3:15 p.m. Sunday. The Titans have 16 sacks on the season, and the Cowboys have allowed just one.
Titans defensive end Dave Ball, who leads the team with 4.5 sacks, said the defense is aware of the success the Cowboys have had in protecting quarterback Tony Romo. Ball, a six-year-pro in his third season at Tennessee, recorded a career-best 2.5 sacks last week against Denver and has five quarterback pressures on the season.

"If you can put solid pressure on any quarterback, that's going to have an effect on the game," Ball said. "That's what we try to do, regardless if it's Romo or Johnny Unitas back there, we're going to try to get the guy on the ground."

Dallas coach Wade Phillips said the Cowboys are equally aware of the Titans' success at rushing the passer.

"They come of the ball really well, and I'm really impressed with their defense with the way they play," Phillips said. "I don't expect anything less from (teams coached by) Jeff Fisher.  I'm impressed with the way they come off the ball and the way they work hard."

Defensive end Jason Babin has 3.5 sacks, linebacker Will Witherspoon has three, defensive tackle Tony Brown has 1.5, cornerback Cortland Finnegan has one and defensive end Jacob Ford has one. Rookie defensive end and 2010 top draft choice Derrick Morgan recorded 1.5 sacks before suffering a season-ending torn ACL against Denver. Ford missed last week's game but had a full practice Friday and is listed as probable for Sunday.

Romo has completed 88 of 128 attempts for 940 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. He's been sacked less than one percent (.78) of the Cowboys' pass attempts, and Fisher said Romo has an ability to make plays with accurate throws when he is scrambling.
"You have to change your rush up, change your concept and hope you can bat a ball down," Fisher said.

The Titans will be without cornerback Jason McCourty (fractured forearm) for the second straight week. Fisher said defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks did not practice Friday and is doubtful, and Brown did practice Friday and is listed as questionable.

Tennessee signed defensive tackle Amon Gordon this week, and Fisher said Gordon may be active Sunday after a solid week of practice.

"He understands what we're doing," Fisher said. "He's got caught up real fast and he's in good shape, so he'll be a Sunday decision."

Gordon played two games with Tennessee in 2008. He watched the Titans game from his home in California Sunday and had just taken his daughter to school Monday when his agent called to say Tennessee wanted him to come for a workout. Gordon said his familiarity with the Titans' defense has helped him transition smoothly.

"If my number is called from where I worked this week to get myself prepared, if they need me, I'm here to contribute," Gordon said. "All you can ask for in this business is an opportunity, so it's on my shoulders to go out there and do with it what I will."

McRath is Back

Linebacker Gerald McRath will return to the Titans' lineup Sunday after serving a four-game suspension. Fisher said McRath had a "good week" but did not know how much McRath will play against Dallas.

McRath, who could not participate in any team activities during the suspension, said this week that he missed the sidelines and the locker room. He said he went through personal workouts and went to his mother's house in Hiram, Ga., on the weekends and watched games Titans games at a restaurant.

"The toughest thing was I couldn't get inside the tv and help out," McRath said.

He said the defense's performance without him means that he really must perform well to earn playing time.

"I don't see myself as a starter," McRath said. "I see myself as a person that has to work every day to one day be a starter. That makes me work even harder because if it's not broke, don't fix it. If you watch, the defense has been playing (well). To come back in, I need to be able to help you guys out."

Gage out

Fisher said wide receiver Justin Gage (hamstring) is out for Sunday's game. Gage caught two passes for 30 yards against Denver before suffering the injury.

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