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Notebook: Defense Prepares for Passing Threat

Posted Dec 21, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn.— Michael Griffin ticked off the list of adjectives. And they just kept escalating.

“Veteran quarterback, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, an MVP quarterback,” Griffin said in a sign of respect for Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers.

“He has a lot of confidence in himself and his team really believes in him,” Griffin said. “It’s a different situation going into this game, compared to last game.”

There is currently considerable separation between Tennessee’s last opposing quarterback, Mark Sanchez, and the player it will face Sunday at Lambeau Field.

Sanchez through four interceptions — two to Griffin in the fourth quarter and two to Jason McCourty — as the Titans beat the New York Jets 14-10 on Monday night and was benched this week. Rodgers, in contrast, leads the NFL in passer rating (104.7), ranks second with 32 touchdown passes and has only thrown eight interceptions this season.

Griffin said the Titans’ secondary is embracing the challenge that the Packers’ passing game will present even though it’s a complete reversal of last week’s preparations for the Jets.

“Last week it was lift more weights, get in the weight room and whatever because of the run game we knew they were going to run at us,” Griffin said, “but this week, it’s get your track shoes on and watch more film and just be ready to go.”

Both of Griffin’s interceptions occurred deep inside Tennessee territory. He tracked down the first at the 24-yard line with a little more than seven minutes remaining and the second pick at the 2 on the first play after the two-minute warning.

It was Griffin’s first two-interception game since Dec. 21, 2008, against Pittsburgh. Griffin finished that season with a career-high seven picks and went to the Pro Bowl.

BROWN WATCHES ‘LUGGAGE’: Rookie linebacker Zach Brown led the Titans with two of their four sacks against the Jets.

Brown tracked down Jets reserve QB Tim Tebow for a loss of two in the second quarter, and then dropped Sanchez for a loss of seven in the third quarter.  Brown said he was in man-to-man coverage on the second play and surveyed his assignment. He quickly concluded that he could leave that responsibility and go after Sanchez.

“You’ve just got to make sure if you’re going against a tight end that they don’t get out,” Brown said. “Keep your eyes on your luggage.”

The Jets did not appear prepared for Brown’s adjustment, and Sanchez was unable to avoid the sack.

“It’s rare that you go untouched, but when you do, it’s almost an easy sack,” Brown added.

Brown also recovered a fumble by Sanchez to seal the win for the Titans.

WR UPDATES: Kendall Wright (rib) missed practice for the third straight day and is questionable for Sunday’s game. Damian Williams, however, practiced fully for the second straight day but is also questionable against the Packers.

Wright leads the Titans with 62 receptions, which is the second-most in Titans/Oilers history behind Bill Groman’s 72 receptions in the franchise’s 1960 inaugural season.

Titans coach Mike Munchak said Wright is “getting better every day.”

“He’s less sore, and it’s still about doing activity,” Munchak said. “He’s been doing some of that, but not out here in football. It’s something that he could feel better, like we’ve had before with a couple of other guys. Kenny (Britt) back earlier in the year was sore, and he ended up playing on Sunday. We’re not ruling him out, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

Williams has missed the past two games after injuring his hamstring Dec. 2 against Houston. Williams made the catch but tried to stop abruptly as he unsuccessfully tried to avoid running over a member of the sideline security team.

OTHER INJURIES: Kevin Matthews will be out with an ankle sprain he suffered Monday, keeping him from suiting up against his cousin Clay Matthews. Colin McCarthy (concussion), Ryan Mouton (hamstring), and Scott Solomon (knee) are also questionable.  

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