Titans head into bye eager to rest, heal


The Titans practiced for about an hour Thursday before coach Jeff Fisher gave them a long weekend off, and the NFL's only undefeated team at 5-0 doesn't have to return until Tuesday.

The coach had his own message for his Titans who will visit Kansas City (1-4) on Oct. 19.

"We're by no means where we should be as a football team. But in the meantime the bye is designed to get better, take care of yourself, rest up, make good decisions while you're gone and come back ready to win the next ball game. In the back of your mind, the most important thing should be win No. 6," Fisher said.

"They're deserving of the opportunity, and I'm sure they'll make the most of it."

The bye comes at a good time for the Titans with defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch having hurt his groin in last week's 13-10 win at Baltimore and defensive tackle Tony Brown wearing a walking boot after having his foot stepped on in that game.

Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth also got a couple days off along with end Jevon Kearse.

"It's super special being 5-0 going into the bye week," Kearse said. "I know we're going to have a lot of conversations about football talk while we're gone, a lot of talk. But you can't get too lax. We've got to enjoy this team and use this time to heal up ... We've got to come back with the same focus we started with, and that's to try to win all of them."

Kearse is one of the quiet offseason pickups who has paid off nicely so far for the Titans. He signed a two-year deal in March after being released by Philadelphia, and he has started every game and has 1½ sacks.

When Haynesworth, Brown and Vanden Bosch were out with injuries late against Baltimore, Kearse was the lone starter still on the field with backups Dave Ball, Jason Jones and Jacob Ford for a few plays. He said he has been playing between 40-45 snaps per game, but he wants more.

His plan after a quiet weekend of TV watching?

"Try to ... add a little bit more to my repertoire," Kearse said.

Cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who shares the NFL lead of four interceptions with teammate Michael Griffin, agreed with Kearse that this start is extra special. That means being cautious and conscious of making good decisions even for the player going back to Alabama to watch his alma mater Samford host Appalachian State.

"We know this is a long stride ahead of us with 11 games. They're big for what we want to do, so we definitely have to be on high alert," Finnegan said.

Fisher thinks this bye comes at a good time for his team, especially when counting the preseason.

"It's been made very clear to the young players we're not halfway there, but there's no break now so you take advantage of this to get your body back and get refocused," Fisher said.

That's exactly what rookie running back Chris Johnson plans to do. He leads the team with 85 carries for 381 yards, which ranks him second in the AFC to Larry Johnson of Kansas City, and also has caught 12 passes for 69 yards. He also understands the need to avoid anything that could prove a distraction to the team.

"Those are just extra stuff we don't want to deal with," he said.

With five Texas Longhorns and only one Oklahoma Sooner on the roster, there was some trash-talking about Saturday's Red River Shootout as the Titans left the field. Fullback Ahmard Hall is one of the ex-Longhorns, and he will watch the game from home on TV while he rests. But Hall said the Titans understand what is at stake.

"We have a good thing going so I think everything will be good," Hall said.

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