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Notebook: Ryan Fitzpatrick Shows Increased Comfort with Titans Offense

Posted Nov 15, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The best indicator of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s increased comfort with Tennessee’s offense may have been his career-high completion percentage against Indianapolis Thursday.

Fitzpatrick completed 22 of 28 passes (78.6 percent) for 222 yards with one touchdown and a passer rating of 111.6, but the Titans fell 30-27.

Ryan Fitzpatrick set a career high by completing 78.6 percent of his passes against Indianapolis. Click here for the game's slideshow.

“He played well. If it wasn’t for the drops, I don’t know if any one of them would have hit the ground yesterday,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “He made good decisions, he was checking in and out of plays, he was changing the protections. He did a nice job getting the ball to the people in the crossing routes when they were playing man or they were playing zone. I thought when they were playing off the guys did a good job of getting open.”

The Titans (4-6) have reworked the offense to better fit Fitzpatrick’s strengths and preferences now that he’s replacing injured Jake Locker for the rest of the season.

Since relieving Locker Sunday during Tennessee’s game against Jacksonville, Fitzpatrick is 44-of-61 passing (72.1 percent) for 486 yards with three touchdown passes.

“He’s done a good job in there and I think will continue to do that,” said guard Andy Levitre, who teamed with Fitzpatrick in Buffalo. “He’s smart and really puts in the time and effort to make sure he knows what’s going on (in games), so I have no doubt in my mind that he can do well for us.”

BRIEF BREAK, THEN “BREAK THAT GLASS”: Playing on Thursday created a longer weekend than normal for Titans players who have Saturday through Monday off before returning to practice Tuesday to prepare for their Nov. 24 game at Oakland.

“The schedule is get your mind right,” Bernard Pollard said. “Like Coach (Gregg) Williams said, this is playoff time from here on out. If we want any shot at anything, we need to win here on out, and if that means we need to break that glass and hit that button, if (the media) can, hit that for us. We’re going to be hitting it, too, but if we want to go where we say we want to go, we need to do a better job of completing football games and coming up with wins.”

Alterraun Verner said the Titans can’t think about trying to run the table and win their final six games because they must first focus on winning one. Tennessee has lost five of its past six.

“We have to win in Oakland and then we can worry about the rest,” Verner said. “I think when you start thinking about winning the next six, then you lose the fact that you need to win one first.”

Players and Munchak said they realize there’s a difficult road ahead (at Oakland, at Indianapolis, at Denver, vs. Arizona, at Jacksonville, vs. Houston).

“We’ve made it hard on ourselves, and now we’re the only ones that probably believe we can do it,” Munchak said. “You hear about teams every year that do something, and it’s kind of our turn to show we can do it. We’re going to be away for a while. We play three games on the road, so we’ll see what happens.”

HUNTER EVALUATED: Munchak said evaluations of receiver Justin Hunter were ongoing Friday. Hunter was shaken up when he hit the ground after trying to catch a deep pass, and the Titans put the rookie through concussion protocol testing.

“We assume he’ll be OK, they’re still doing tests on him,” Munchak said. “He was up high, had a chance to catch a ball. He didn’t quite get it, came down hard and hit the ground. Just making sure he’s OK, but we assume he’s fine.”

SENT TO THE LEAGUE: Munchak said the Titans sent video of Colts LB Erik Walden ripping off the helmet of Delanie Walker and head-butting the face of the Titans’ tight end to the league office. Walden was penalized for yanking off the helmet, but went unpunished for the head-butt.

“(Officials) didn’t see it from the sideline — he would have been thrown out of the game if they saw the head-butt,” Munchak said. “They didn’t see it live when it happened during the game. They saw the helmet part, but they’ll see it on tape and I’m sure there will be consequences for that during that little span there where they had three personal fouls.”

INJURY OUTLOOK: Munchak said the Titans hope that Moise Fokou (knee) will “have a great chance” of playing at Oakland, and the Titans assume Brian Schwenke (ankle) will be fine. “He hasn’t been on the field yet. We’re hoping he’ll have a good weekend in rehab and then Monday he’ll get a chance to get on the field.”

Munchak said receiver/return specialist Damian Williams is “week-to-week” and has “gotten a lot better than he was in the last couple of days.” Williams was injured returning a punt against Jacksonville.

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