NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- New Titans coach Mike Munchak has experienced many firsts — loss, home win, come-from-behind win, road win — so far this season.
Today will present the first opportunity to see how his team responds from its bye week. Tennessee (3-2) hosts Houston (3-3) at LP Field in a game that will give winner early possession of first place in the AFC South.
Munchak said he was pleased with the week of practice that the team turned in following its lone open Sunday until January.
"Sometimes when you haven't played it drags on, but I think the energy has been good all week," Munchak said. "I think because who we are playing — we are playing a division team — made that easy. Coming off of a loss makes you hungry and you want to get your confidence up so it's been good. It was a great finish to a good week and we just have to go out and play."
Titans safety Michael Griffin said players haven't forgotten that they didn't play as well as they wanted the last time Tennessee took the field — a 38-17 loss at Pittsburgh two weeks ago.
"I think this coaching staff has gotten us well-prepared and I think this team still has a bad taste in its mouth (from) losing this last game, especially the way we lost and how badly we lost," Griffin said.
One component of practices that helped the Titans maintain tempo and intensity is a short period in which starters compete against starters. Munchak said he had never done that during his playing career, but it is a tactic that Tennessee has implemented since training camp.
"We have kept periods alive, at least two periods a day in practice where we would go six or seven snaps in a row before we switch over," Munchak said. "When you go against the first group, you just go harder. You get a lot closer to the speed of the game than you do when things are carded. We do it for all of the situations, we do a run period, we do a third down period, we will do a blitz period and just kind of change it up every week but we will do it every practice."
Defensive linemen Jason Jones and Shaun Smith said they enjoy the full-speed reps against offensive starters and the looks they receive from doing so.
"Ones versus ones, we've got to take seriously," Smith said.
Griffin said the snaps against first teamers add an element that spices up the weekly meetings, walk-throughs and reviews.
"I think it's fun," Griffin said. "It gets the tempo up when you're going against your offense. It teaches us to keep the momentum going, to always stay fired up. It's enjoyable going against our offense. It's a way to compete."
INJURY UPDATE: Tight end Craig Stevens (rib cartilage) practiced Thursday and will be listed as questionable. Linebacker Colin McCarthy (hamstring) and safety Chris Hope (forearm) will be out.