Titans Embrace Late-Season Bye Weekend

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. –** Veteran DeMarco Murray can use the time to heal up. The Titans running back has been dealing with a toe injury since the end of October.

In his mind, this weekend's bye is well-timed.

"I think it's the latest bye in NFL history,'' Murray said with a smile. "But I think a lot of guys like it, including myself. (The rest) is going to be huge for me. At the end of the day I think the only thing that helps my toe is rest, and not running. I plan on letting it heal and hopefully I can get back to being myself."

Rookie safety Kevin Byard also embraces the moment to pause. While playng at MTSU, he was used to playing 12-game regular seasons. In his first NFL season, he's played in 16 games already, counting 12 regular season games and four in the preseason.

"At this point I think everybody is hurting," Byard said. "I feel like my body is tired, but I don't have time to think about my body. I just have to keep my routine, keep getting my massages, keep getting in the cold tub and just keep pushing to the end of the year."

While the rest of the NFL plays this weekend, the Titans and the Browns get a break – both teams will be on a bye.

The Titans will return to action on December 11 against the Broncos, the first of four straight games to close out the season.

Across the board, players said it's a good time for a bye.

The week off allows them to take a break mentally, and physically.

"It's an awesome time,'' said left tackle Taylor Lewan, who's been dealing with a knee injury.  "Honestly, I think the later the bye week the better. I think this late in the season, your body is breaking down and you do whatever it takes to get healthy and this is a perfectly timed thing."

Titans coach Mike Mularkey said players like defensive lineman Jurrell Casey (foot) and cornerback Jason McCourty (knee), who suffered injuries in Sunday's 27-21 win over the Bears, should be able to return to practice next week and be able to play against the Broncos.

Safety Daimion Stafford (hamstring) and tight end Phillip Supernaw (concussion) were held out against the Bears, and a week off should benefit them as well.

Players said they need to rest, and begin of focusing on the Broncos.

Plenty is at stake for the Titans (6-6) down the stretch.

"The feel around here is guys are starting to understand we could be in the playoffs,'' tight end Delanie Walker said. "We are in a good position. But we are going to have to clean some things up and hit the ground running because we face a good team in the Broncos when we come back, and it's another team we'd like to beat to show we are a different team.

"The important thing now is we have to rest up, and come back fresh and healthy with four games to go."

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