NASHVILLE, TN, Oct. 14, 2008 — It's a chance at a classic trap for the Tennessee Titans.
Kerry Collins and the Titans are back at work preparing for Sunday's road game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The undefeated Titans (5-0) return from their bye Tuesday for meetings before resuming their regular practice schedule Wednesday with a trip to Kansas City (1-4) up Sunday. Now if only the Titans don't overlook the struggling Chiefs and think about their Oct. 27 prime-time game with AFC South rival Indianapolis.
Coach Jeff Fisher insists that won't be a problem.
"We're not going to have any difficulty getting focused for this ballgame," Fisher said Monday. "They left with that being the intention when they come back. so I'm not concerned about that whatsoever."
The Titans have won the game after their bye in each of the past two seasons and are 6-0 since 1999 in seasons where they finished at least 8-8 or better.
Fisher said he noticed some players were back at the team's headquarters Monday even though the Titans aren't scheduled to return until Tuesday for lunch and meetings. The coach did admit to being concerned only about normal issues when coming back to work after a bye week of timing, increased penalties, turnovers. So those will be emphasized this week.
But taking the Chiefs lightly or taking something for granted? Again, not a problem for these Titans.
"They're highly motivated right now. That's the one thing that has gotten us to this point. They've carried in a high level of respect each week for their opponent, and that's what's gotten us to this point and we're not going to waver off that," Fisher said.
Fisher has plenty of examples to show if he does want to warn his Titans against complacency after previously winless St. Louis downed Washington 19-17 and Houston got its first win 29-28 over Miami on Sunday. But Fisher said he only needs to put on a tape of the Chiefs' 33-19 win over Denver to get their attention if needed.
A sixth straight win to open this season would extend the NFL's longest winning streak to nine consecutive regular-season wins dating back to 2007. And the Titans need every game possible with defending AFC South champ Indianapolis improving to 3-3 going into that divisional game.
Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth said last week before the Titans left that they know well enough not to overlook anybody. He cited Miami beating New England and San Diego already this season.
"You've got to stay focused because these guys get paid just like we do," he said.
Fisher said a challenge will be that Kansas City also is coming off its bye, giving Chiefs coaches time to develop some new wrinkles for a team with a lot of roster turnover since the Titans beat them 26-17 last Dec. 16. Brodie Croyle also is expected back at quarterback.
"I think he gives them a boost," Fisher said.
The biggest question for the Titans will be the health of their defensive line.
End Kyle Vanden Bosch didn't play in the second half of Tennessee's 13-10 win at Baltimore on Oct. 5 because of a groin injury, while tackle Tony Brown had been in a walking boot with an injured ankle. Fisher said he was encouraged when asked about their health. If they don't practice Wednesday, Fisher said that won't mean they won't be available against Kansas City.