Titans Playing for Pride, Each Other

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Minutes after a comeback rally fell two points shy as time expired against Indianapolis, reporters asked Titans linebacker Gerald McRath "where does the team go from" losing its sixth straight game?

"Up, up, up and up," the second-year pro said with conviction. "That's all you can do. You got to go up." 

Tennessee's once strong hopes of making the playoffs this season have slimmed as it has fallen from first in the AFC South to last, but Titans players said after the game that they have much to play for in their final three games.

"You always play for pride every time you put the uniform on," McRath said. "You're playing for the guy next to you. That's what we're playing for now." 

The question for the Titans in their remaining games might not be "where" but "who" plays significant game snaps.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher said in press conferences on Friday and Monday that the team would look at giving more game snaps to younger players, and resting veterans who "are banged up." Fisher did not specify which positions because he had not talked with the veterans that may play fewer snaps.

"Just for example, we've got a few guys that are banged up," Fisher said Monday. "They're hanging in there, doing the best they possibly can and they're banged up. 'Would it be better for us to play a younger guy that's not banged up, that might be 100 percent that might just give you a better chance to win the ball game?' In addition to that, it gives you a chance to look at a younger player. It's certainly not placing blame on anybody, but that's what we're talking about. It's not just knee-jerk reactions. You have to look at the big picture, and that's what we're doing."

Fisher gave players an extended weekend off. Players are scheduled to return to Baptist Sports Park Tuesday for a workout and resume practice Wednesday. Tennessee hosts Houston at noon Sunday in its final home game this season.

"They're going to come back here and have fun," Fisher said. "We're going to get ready and play an opponent that shut us out three weeks ago."

Houston defeated Tennessee 20-0 on Nov. 28 in the first career start for quarterback Rusty Smith. Texans running back Arian Foster had 143 yards on 30 carries in the first meeting, while Titans running back Chris Johnson was held to 5 yards on seven carries.

The Titans held Texans receiver Andre Johnson to 56 yards on nine catches, but couldn't muster a counter attack. Johnson and Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan were ejected during a skirmish in the fourth quarter in which both players' helmets came off and Johnson threw three punches that struck Finnegan, who did not punch back.

Finnegan said after Thursday's game that the Titans would keep looking for ways to improve.

"Each week is so different, and we play football to win football," Finnegan said. "We haven't been doing that lately. You take from every game something positive and build on it. Every guy in here can get better, including myself. If we continue to do that, we can become a better football team."

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