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Know the Foe: Titans Want to Corral Colts TE Coby Fleener

Posted Nov 29, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans said Coby Fleener’s eight-catch, 107-yard performance against them two weeks ago was pretty simple.

“He ran to the area he was supposed to run to, got open and caught the football,” defensive coordinator Jerry Gray said.

The Titans know the importance of keeping tabs on Colts TE Coby Fleener, who had eight catches for 107 yards against them on Nov. 14.

The 2012 second-round pick did most of his damage in the second half, with six catches for 87 yards on seven targets. Indianapolis had success in finding Fleener in the play-action game after it began to establish the run. The Colts capitalized on a busted coverage of such a play for a 39-yard gain in the fourth quarter.

“Once it happened, and once you see it, it’s something that can easily be fixed,” linebacker Akeem Ayers said. “It’s not something I believe will happen again. It could, but for the most part, that’s a minor mistake that can be easily corrected, especially after watching the film. We’ve got to play with more discipline and have better eyes.”

“We’ve just got to make sure we know where he is and understand his role in the offense and it’s a big role since Reggie Wayne isn’t there,” Gray said. “We have to understand that as players and coaches and make sure he isn’t the reason why we lose the game.”

The catches and yardage against the Titans were career highs for the second-year pro.

The plan will be for defenders to make sure they locate him with their eyes and then be physical during the parts of the play where that is permitted.

“They did a good job of getting him the ball,” cornerback Jason McCourty said. “As defenders, sometimes we might have taken our eyes off him and were not aware of where he was in our zone drops, so we’ve just got to do a better job of knowing where he is on every play and being able to keep our eyes on him.”

Added cornerback Alterraun Verner: “We’ve got to get our hands on him, we’ve got to get physical and find ways to attack the ball when it’s thrown to him. Most of the times he caught the ball, he was wide open and nobody was contesting him, so we’ve just got to get tighter coverage on him and make him have to make the tough catches.”

In some games this season the Titans have used George Wilson as a third safety on the field and tasked him with stopping tight ends, but Wilson is likely to start in place of Michael Griffin, who is serving a one-game suspension imposed by the NFL. That leaves Wilson, Bernard Pollard and Daimion Stafford as the three safeties who will be available for the Titans, but Verner gained experience at free safety during the team’s offseason program.

“I’m sure I’ll take the bulk of it. It’s a challenge I’m looking forward to,” Wilson said. “He gave us a good showing last time, got over 100 yards so I’m taking it on myself to take a lot of those catches away from him and not allow him to be a playmaker like he was the first time around.”

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