NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- For two franchises that met at birth, the Titans and Raiders lack recent familiarity.
The organizations first met in Oakland 50 years ago this Saturday, with the Houston Oilers defeating the Raiders 37-22 on the inaugural weekend of the American Football League, which later merged into the National Football League. The Oilers became the Titans in 1999, after two seasons as the Tennessee Oilers. The Raiders moved to Los Angeles for the 1982-1994 seasons, but returned to Oakland in 1995. The teams have played 45 times but last met in 2007, a 13-9 win for Tennessee at LP Field.
As Titans players and coaches prepare for the Raiders, they are cautious of the unexpected.
The Titans finished last season at 8-8 after a discouraging 0-6 start. Oakland went 5-11 last season after winning its first game. Four of those victories were come-from-behind wins, and four occurred against teams that finished with better records than Oakland.
Last season's results are history. Oakland traded in the offseason for quarterback Jason Campbell, and Tennessee players said Wednesday they doubted the Raiders tipped their hand too much while going 3-1 in the preseason.
"We have to assume we're going to see some things slightly different from what we saw in the preseason on tape," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. "But, that's the case with most clubs. You're going to see different things, you're going to see different alignments, different pressures, different things, and of course they're faced with the task of defending our running back and passing game, as we are with them."
Fisher, who is entering his 16th full season as the Titans coach, said Oakland's unpredictability and its team speed are the biggest concerns for Sunday.
"I think we're veteran enough and experienced enough to be able to adjust," Fisher said. "I think both teams are going to have to adjust, because let's face it, both teams held a lot of things out of the preseason. That's the nature of the opener."
Oakland has had eight head coaches since 1995. Tom Cable is entering his second full season at the helm. He said Campbell has "brought a professionalism" to the Raiders.
"Kind of a spirit of work and a body of work that he has proven himself to be a starter in this league, and he's been through a lot of ups and downs himself, so I think he relates well with this football team," Cable said.
Campbell, who is entering his sixth year in the NFL, posted career highs in completions (327), completion percentage (64.5), passing yards (3,618), touchdowns (20) and quarterback rating (86.4) with Washington last year, but the Redskins went 4-12 and traded for Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, shipping Campbell to the West Coast.
"It was nice to get the opportunity," Campbell said, "because I had been through so much in Washington at the time, to come here and be able to start over again with a new regime and a new team and everything gives you a new energy coming into it based on everything that happened in Washington a year ago."
The Titans will open 2010 with a different starting quarterback than in the 2009 opener. Vince Young will begin his fifth year in the NFL. Young started the final 10 games of 2009, going 8-2. Young delivered career highs in passer rating (82.8), yards per attempt (7.3), touchdown percentage (3.9) and interception percentage (2.7).
Young said the Titans are hungry to get back to the playoffs and have matured. He said adjustments will be critical against Oakland because of the lack of recent film, and he will stifle anxiety as the game proceeds.
"I'm always nervous … the first two series," Young said. "After you get hit a little bit, then you can go and play some ball."