Head coach Jeff Fisher said the team needed the opportunity to get used to the helmets and break them in before Sunday's Hall of Fame game against the Bills in Canton, Ohio. In that game, the Titans will wear their throwback Houston Oilers jerseys and helmets the first of four times this season. They will don the Oilers blue in legacy road games against the Jets and Patriots, and at home against Buffalo.
"This is a special opportunity to be a part of this great game, especially when you consider the impact our owner Mr. Adams had on this league and it being the 50th anniversary." Fisher said. "We have four games with the throwbacks. They're early in the year and this will be the first opportunity and I know the players are excited about the uniform."
Fisher and the Titans are honored to be a part of the Hall of Fame game, which marks the start of the preseason and is the only NFL game that will be played this weekend. Some Titans, especially Houston native Vince Young, have been anxious to wear the old school Oilers uniforms.
"It's big. There's a lot of history, a lot of ups and downs and a lot of excitement with the franchise," Young said. "The fans were always supportive of the Oilers, especially myself as a kid. I used to love the Oilers and I watched them every Sunday. It's going to be pretty cool running around in that jersey representing the history of the franchise."
Another native Texan, fullback Ahmard Hall, was truly excited to don the Oilers attire.
"It feels good because it's the team I watched as a child," Hall said. "If the Titans were still the Oilers, it would be like 'Wow, this is the team I watched my whole childhood and I'm living the dream by playing on this team.'"
That idea of playing as the Oilers, a team that owner Bud Adams Jr. founded back in 1959, is something all of the Titans players feel honored to do. It's a unique chance to represent the history and legacy of the organization.
"Anytime we get a chance to represent the Houston Oilers history, I think that's a great thing," safety Vincent Fuller said. "It's a privilege to be able to wear it and hopefully we will represent the Oilers well in Canton."
Fans that were disappointed when the Oilers left for Tennessee back in 1997 will get a chance to see their favorite team dressed out in the powder blue once again on Sunday.
"A lot of guys tell me back home that when the Oilers left, they followed us over here to Tennessee," Hall said. "So it will be good for those old school guys back in Houston, Texas and down south to see us wearing that…it will bring back a lot of memories."
SIMULATING CROWD NOISE: Titans rookies did their best to simulate crowd noise during the morning session, a practice that has become common under Coach Fisher. While the offense and defense lined up on the one yard line, the rookies and injured players lined up in the end zone, yelling and pretending to make crowd noises.
"We're trying to cover a lot of different situations. When you go on the road and you are backed up on the minus one yard line, its loud and you have to work through those things," Fisher said. "When you can do them on the practice field, it becomes less of an impact during games."
This drill makes it difficult to hear the snap count, often leading to false start and off-sides penalties. While typically this situation benefts the defense, it is important for the both sides of the ball to practice in those situations, linebacker David Thornton noted.
"The crowd noise is definitely a factor," he said. "It could potentially be a distraction but it's part of being a pro. You have to be able to eliminate distractions and focus on the task at hand."
TUESDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: Today marks the first day of two full practices for the Titans. After the morning practice, many players were planning on getting some rest prior to tonight's 7:30 p.m. practice at Baptist Sports Park.
"You try to get as much rest the night before because you know you are going to need it," Fuller said. "It's important to try to stay off your feet as much as possible in between the two practices and just hydrate because it's hot out there and you want to make sure you don't cramp up."
The second practice of the day will be held under the lights, which adds an exciting twist for players and fans.
"It should be fun. Playing under the lights kind of reminds you of Friday night football when you were in high school," Thornton said. "It should be a high tempo practice. Hopefully guys can get their legs back, get some rest, come back and have a sharp practice tonight."
Fuller said players feed off the energy that fans bring to the evening session.
"It will have a different energy level tonight," he said. "It did last year, it did the previous year. Ever since I've been here, that night practice starting at Austin Peay a couple of years back. It is a different feeling because the fans are out. They get the chance to come out after work and watch practice. We appreciate that and we appreciate the energy they provide us."