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Notebook: Munchak says Jake Locker, Shonn Greene will be 'More Active This Week'

Posted Oct 14, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans coach Mike Munchak said Monday that he thinks Jake Locker will “be able to do more this week” as he recovers from hip and knee injuries.

Titans QB Jake Locker was able to navigate the sidelines at CenturyLink Field without crutches Sunday and will be doing more activity this week, coach Mike Munchak said.

Locker was injured Sept. 29 in the third quarter against the New York Jets and has missed the past two games for the Titans (3-3). The third-year pro has done some rehab and watched each of the past two games from the sidelines. He progressed to not needing crutches between the Kansas City game and Sunday’s 20-13 loss at Seattle.

“(Locker) and Shonn (Greene) and those guys starting today (will) be a lot more active,” Munchak said. “Now it’s just us seeing how they handle more activity. I think the rest part and the light stuff is over and now he can get more into real football stuff. It’s a matter of seeing how quickly he progresses without pain. (It’s) the same with Shonn Greene. We’ll see where Shonn is this week with running and how he handles, how his knee responds to more football activity. So, the next couple days we’ll get a better feel for where those two guys are in terms of how soon they can help us win.”

Munchak said the odds of Locker playing this week against San Francisco “aren’t great by any means” but he’s past the point of being obviously ruled out this early in the week. Munchak said the Titans won’t limit Locker but also aren’t going to rush him back because they don’t want to jeopardize the organization’s long-term plans for Locker.  

“We’re not going to say, ‘Well, geez, if he can stand up, he can play.’ It’s more of he’ll come out like the rest of these guys do, and (we’ll) see if he has setbacks and how he does when he’s throwing, moving around,” Munchak said. “Those are the things he can start doing now, and it’s just a matter of seeing how he does and where we go from there just like we would with Shonn (Greene) and anyone else.”

Greene suffered a knee injury in the season-opener that required a surgical procedure. The Titans have missed the powerful running back who was brought in during free agency to complement speedier Chris Johnson. The absence has shown in short-yardage situations  as well as delayed the formation of identity that Tennessee wanted to establish as a team that can be highly effective at running the football when it needs and wants to do so.

“It’s a lot different, a lot harder for a defense when they’re dealing with different types of runners at different times on different plays,” Munchak said. “We feel he does add a lot to our offense that’s missing that we were excited about back in March when we signed him. Unfortunately, we haven’t had a chance to see that because he got hurt so early in the Pittsburgh game. We think having him back will be a big plus for us. It won’t solve all of our problems by any means, but I think it’s going to help us in a real positive way to move chains and stay on the field.”  

In replacing Locker, Ryan Fitzpatrick has been able to make more plays with his legs than in the plan (he’s scrambled 12 times for 83 yards in the past two games), but Tennessee’s rushing attack has stagnated. Chris Johnson has had 45 yards on 26 carries since Locker left, and Jackie Battle has gained 77 yards on 15 carries, but two breakout runs accounted for 57 of those yards.

SHARED BLAME: Munchak and players said a rotation of individual lapses by different players has helped bog the running game. It’s a combination of timing being thrown off, missed blocks, the inability to get a big enough push to counteract a missed block and defenses continuing to load the box with defenders to prevent the Titans from building momentum on the ground.

“There’s different guys messing up at the wrong times and we’re just not very consistent right now so you just focus on little things and finishing our blocks,” guard Andy Levitre said. “I know the effort is there. It’s just those little things that we’re not doing right that are costing us and maybe we’re one block away from springing five yards, 20 yards, so we’ve got to get back to those basic things and really focus during the week.”

THIRD-AND-1 SEQUENCE: Battle had a neck injury at Seattle and was unavailable on a third-and-1 from the Seahawks’ 43-yard line when Johnson had the wind knocked out of him on the play before. Seattle was able to stop Darius Reynaud for no gain to force a punt with the score tied at 10.

Munchak said the play was called in quickly and then the Titans learned Johnson had the wind knocked out of him on the screen pass that gained 14 yards a play before. Munchak said he then tried to ask officials for a measurement of the chains but officials had already moved the ball.

Munchak said he thought about calling a timeout to give Johnson a chance to recover, but the Titans attempted had been successful twice earlier in the game and is one that Reynaud runs in practice and “is very capable of making that play if we block it better.”

INJURY UPDATES: Munchak said the Titans think Battle is “going to be OK this week” and the Titans were waiting to find out more about Moise Fokou, who forced two fumbles before he left Sunday’s game with a knee injury.

Munchak said the Titans were waiting for more information about Fokou’s injury, and while they don’t think it will be anything “major,” he could be “week-to-week.

“He was playing well, had a really good game going when that happened, so we’re hoping for the best there,” Munchak said.

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