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Camp Notebook: Titans Eager to Face First Foe

Posted Aug 5, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It's finally going to be someone else.

The Titans will open preseason play against the Washington Redskins at 7 p.m. Thursday at LP Field, giving players an opportunity to line up against an opponent for the first time in 2013.

Titans players competed against each other during the team’s nine-week offseason program from April to June and have challenged each other since camp opened July 25.

Akeem Ayers (56) and the Titans' defense is ready to line up against opposing competition. The Titans host the Redskins Thursday at LP Field.
Click here for a slideshow from Monday's practice.

“We’ve got something to look forward to at the end of the week,” linebacker Akeem Ayers said. “Now is the time you really want to tighten up and really just fine tune all the little things you need to do this week. We have a shorter week (than normal) so this is a good feeling just to be getting ready for an opponent other than our teammates.”

Titans coach Mike Munchak said Tennessee will spend Tuesday and Wednesday preparing for Washington but not put as much strategy into the game plan. The purpose is to simplify things so the coaches can evaluate all the players on the expanded roster that they will be required to trim to a maximum of 53 players by the end of the month.

“We’re going to play a lot of guys, so you want to keep it simple and be able to cover things,” Munchak said. “(Tuesday) will be a full day of getting ready for Washington and the same thing on Wednesday.”

Munchak said the Titans likely will play starters between 18 and 25 plays, give or take a few, depending on the player and the situation. He’s more focused on the way guys play than the amount.

“We need to come out and play with great energy and great effort and not worry about how long you’re playing and know we’re going to play as long as we need to play,” Munchak said.

Munchak said he anticipates that the Redskins will keep things fairly simple, but there will be a benefit in playing a team that uses principles of the 3-4 defense (like Tennessee’s first five opponents of the regular season) and an offense with similarities to AFC South foe Houston.

“There will be a lot of competition, I’m sure there are going to be challenges in protections, and they’re very aggressive on defense, a lot like Pittsburgh,” Munchak said. “So, hopefully, we’ll get tested in that way. They’ll come after us and blitz us, and give us some good work.”

Kendall Wright said receivers are ready to go against different cornerbacks, and Jason McCourty said cornerbacks are ready to cover opposing receivers.

“No matter who we were going up against Thursday night we want to go out there and we want to be able to compete at a high level,” McCourty said. “I think that’s the biggest thing for us, just getting out on that field and trying to win every battle that we go through so whether it’s the ones out there, the twos or the threes, it’s about winning.”

Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey said he wants to continue to improve at stopping the run and see if the Titans can dictate the level of physicality.

“We want to make the game our game and not theirs,” Casey said. “You want to go out there and put your dominance on somebody at all times.”   

Preseason Live: Tennessee TitansSTILL ROBERT: Redskins second-year QB Robert Griffin III, or more commonly known as RG3, is recovering from an ACL injury and will not play Thursday.

Although the recovery process is reportedly going well, the injury will keep Griffin from suiting up on the same field as Wright, who was one of his favorite receivers in their time at Baylor, for the first time. Griffin was selected with the second overall pick, and Wright was tabbed with the 20th overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft. They’ve remained in contact, and Wright said Griffin has done a great job of handling the fame that accompanied his 2011 Heisman Trophy and successful campaign as a rookie that was accompanied by a wave of endorsement deals.

“He’s still the RG3 I know from Waco. He hasn’t gotten big time,” Wright said. “He told me one time he’s tried to go to the mall in disguises and it didn’t work. He’s the same Robert. He won’t change anytime soon.”

SIDELINED: Colin McCarthy (hamstring), Rob Bironas (back), Zaviar Gooden (ankle), Brian Schwenke (hamstring) and Matthew Pierce (ankle) did not practice and are unlikely to play Thursday, Munchak said. Karl Klug experienced soreness after Saturday’s scrimmage and was given Monday off.

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