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Notebook: Appendectomy Halts Roos' Streak

Posted Oct 26, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Michael Roos’ impressive streak of durability and determination will give way to the need to play it safe.

Roos underwent an emergency appendectomy Monday and will not suit up Sunday when the Titans (3-4) host the Colts (3-3) at LP Field on Sunday, coach Mike Munchak said Friday.

Roos started immediately as a rookie and has made 119 consecutive starts for the Titans. His streak will end less than 10 games shy of fifth place in franchise history (Eddie George, 128), but more than 100 shy of his position coach Bruce Matthews, who made 229 consecutive starts from 1987-2001 and played in a total of 296 games with the Houston Oilers and Tennessee Titans.

“We’re not going to take any risks or chances with that even though he’s feeling pretty good,” Munchak said. “He probably needs a good week to rest, and then he’ll be good next week.”

Munchak said he’s disappointed for Roos because he knows how much he enjoys the game and for the streak to end for a non-football reason.

“You take that for granted when you have a guy like that, that you count on every week and has always been there. I don’t think that guy missed a practice, very few practices in all that time too,” Munchak said. “That’s the hard part. The bottom line is he wants to play and help us win. The side story is it is too bad it has to end a great streak he has going. Hopefully he’ll give us six more years of missing no games. I wish this wouldn’t interfere with that because it would have been nice to keep that going for him.”

Although he’s disappointed at missing the game, Roos began to come to terms with it earlier this week.

“You always want to keep something like that going, but you can’t do anything disastrous to my health going forward,” he said.

Indiana native Mike Otto will replace Roos. Otto set a school record at Purdue by making 51 starts, but his role with the Titans has always been backing up Roos and right tackle Dave Stewart and contributing on special teams and unique formations.

Roos and Stewart have been incredibly durable over the years, but Otto did make one start in 2011 when Stewart was sidelined against the Buccaneers. Tennessee defeated Tampa Bay 23-17, rushing the ball 35 times for 202 yards and allowing one sack on 35 pass plays in that game.

Otto said he’s continually prepared as the starter despite the consistency of Roos and Stewart.

“Every week, that’s how I study. I prepare as if I’m going to be the starter mentally,” Otto said. “I don’t get the reps in practice, but as far as studying the playbook and studying the opponent, I prepare the same way.”

Munchak said the team has confidence in Otto, who’s been with the Titans since being drafted in the seventh round in 2007 and spending that season on the practice squad.

“He’ll be fine. He’s crafty and has been around the league for a while, so he knows what needs to be done,” Munchak said. “It’ll be a challenge, no doubt, for (the entire offensive line), not just him. He’s the new guy, but they’re all going to be under siege. It’ll be a good challenge for the whole group.”

BALANCING ACT: The Titans benefitted from balance against the Bills and want to continue that Sunday against the Colts.

Tennessee posted 197 rushing yards (195 by Chris Johnson) and 205 passing yards, departing from a pattern this season in which passing yards significantly outnumbered rushing yards in five of the first six games.

Offensive coordinator Chris Palmer said the success at running the ball early and the closeness of the game kept Tennessee multidimensional throughout the game.

“We’ve always had the philosophy that you throw to score and you run to win,” Palmer said Thursday. “When you have balance, it helps you tremendously.”

The Colts (3-3) have switched from their predominant use of the Tampa 2 version of Cover 2 out of a 4-3 front to a 3-4 defensive front and scheme with more variety. Indianapolis ranks 16th overall in yards allowed (352.3), which meets in the middle of its rankings against the pass (210.7 yards per game, sixth in NFL) and run (141.7 per game, 26th).

In addition to balance between running the ball and throwing it, the Titans have also believed in spreading the ball across the field. Tennessee has completed passes to at least seven receivers in each game this season, to eight receivers four times, nine receivers one time and 11 receivers once.

MORE FLAVORS: Titans receiver Damian Williams said preparing for a less “vanilla” version of Colts defense than in years past has been fun and challenging.

“In the past, it’s always been like, ‘OK, they’re going to run Cover 2 the whole game,’ so we’ll go out there and run Cover 2 plays,” Williams said. “Now, it’s more of a challenge for us, and not to say they weren’t challenging before, but it was more vanilla back then.”

Williams had career highs of 45 catches, 592 yards and five TDs in 13 starts last season but has been asked to play in relief at multiple receiver positions this season. Palmer credited Williams, who has 18 catches for 165 yards this year, for the job he’s done, saying that Williams may be the offensive MVP.

Williams humbly smiled when told that this week and said, “I’m kind of the backup everything, so I’ve kind of found my niche and am just filling in when people need a breather, or whatever the case may be.”

Williams said he spends extra time studying because of the additional challenges.

“I’d be lying if I said it was easy. You have to study a lot. You have to know all the positions, the ins and outs,” Williams said. “One thing that’s a little different is you’ve got to know the reads of the quarterback. That’s one of the things that’s really difficult for receivers: knowing exactly when they’re going to go there and why they’re going to go there.”

WHY WAIT?: Titans defenders said they were encouraged by holding Buffalo scoreless on its final three possessions but said they need to be more impactful earlier in games and more consistent throughout.

“The sad part about the game is we waited until our last three drives to play our best football, so we’ve just got to do that throughout the game,” Jason McCourty said. “We’ve got to do a better job of realizing what the team is trying to do to attack us. We were able to win the game, which is a good thing, but watching that film, we see as a defense just because we won doesn’t mean all our problems are solved.”

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