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Notebook: Titans Focus on the Finish

Posted Dec 28, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans have prepared for Sunday’s season finale with the mindset of showing what they can do next season and what they wished they’d done more often this season.

Tennessee (5-10) hosts Jacksonville (2-13) at LP Field and seeks its first win this season against an AFC South foe. The Titans were close twice against the Colts and at Jacksonville, losing the three contests by a total of 15 points.

Titans coach Mike Munchak said Friday that he told his players, “it’s one of those games where I assume we’re going to play very well, win this football game, and say, ‘Man, why didn’t we play like that all year?’ ”

Munchak and the Titans said they expect high energy and effort from both football teams and expect a good game.

“It’s the last time these guys are going to be together for a long time,” Munchak said. “It’s the last time a lot of these guys will play with each other because you are going to have changes, you always do. I think that means a lot to these guys. I think you’re going to see great effort.”

Nate Washington said it’s important that everyone in the locker room finishes what they started during offseason team workouts and meetings, even though this is not the ending they envisioned.

“I think we all realize that this will be the last time collectively that we’ll all be together, so we just want to go out and make sure we’re giving everything for each other,” Washington said. “I think at the end of the day, people might look at our season and see some things that went wrong for us and some really bad games, including last week at Green Bay, but this is a group of prideful guys. We want to go out there and make sure we’re giving our all and doing everything we can to make sure we get a win.”

Jason McCourty, who is completing his first year as a captain, said emerging with a win will be an important building block.

“We’re still not going to be happy about our record at the end of the season with a win or a loss, but I think going into the offseason with a win, we’ll continue to build and that will be something happy to build on,” McCourty said. “It’s hard to win a game in this league, no matter what your record is. Jacksonville is going to come in on Sunday and want to win the game just as bad as we are.”

MOONEY ELEVATED, McCARTHY ON IR: The Titans added FB Collin Mooney to the 53-man roster and placed LB Colin McCarthy on injured reserve on Friday.

Mooney will add depth at running back, where Chris Johnson and Jamie Harper have been dealing with ankle injuries they suffered last week. Johnson said he is determined to play this game, and Harper is optimistic about his chances, but Munchak said the Titans would like to be as healthy at the position as possible.

Mooney, an undrafted rookie who played at Army and then fulfilled his military commitment, has played in one game (Dec. 2 vs. Houston) and spent the rest of the season on Tennessee’s practice squad.

McCarthy played in seven games this season. He suffered a high ankle sprain in the season opener that caused him to miss multiple weeks, and he was diagnosed with a concussion after the game at Jacksonville on Nov. 25 that kept him out of the lineup this month. McCarthy is the 16th Titan on injured reserve.

NO MJD: The Jaguars also placed a key player, Maurice Jones-Drew, on injured reserve Friday to make roster space to add defensive tackle Jerome Long from Kansas City’s practice squad. Jones-Drew suffered a foot injury on Oct. 21 that forced him to miss the remainder of the season. The Jaguars have placed four other players — LB Greg Jones, RB Rashad Jennings, WR Cecil Shorts III and DB Dwight Lowery — on injured reserve since Dec. 22.

COOK INJURY BETTER THAN EXPECTED: Munchak said Jared Cook’s shoulder injury that ended his season on Dec. 13 “wasn’t as bad as they thought originally.”

“I haven’t talked to a doctor, (but) that’s what we were told,” Munchak said. “He’s back here and he’s been rehabbing here, so that’s a good thing. I think his spirits are good that he got (the surgery) done and he’s moving forward. He’s a guy on a list of guys that will be rehabbing. We won’t have an empty building here, that’s for sure, with guys trying to get healthy.”

Cook’s fourth season ended with 44 catches for 523 yards and a career-high four touchdowns a year after he set career highs in catches (49) and yards (759).

Munchak said the Titans would like to re-sign Cook before free agency and is optimistic that Cook would be healed in time for organized team activities next spring.

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