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Notebook: Titans Force Five Turnovers

Posted Aug 23, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans defensive end Kamerion Wimbley weighed in on Arizona’s quarterback competition by treating both equally, while linebacker Colin McCarthy mainly picked on — or picked off — Kevin Kolb.

Defense set the tone early Thursday night, and the Titans defeated the Cardinals 32-27 at LP Field in Tennessee’s first home preseason game.

Wimbley, who signed with the Titans as a free agent this offseason, recorded sacks on each of the first snaps that John Skelton and Kevin Kolb took. Wimbley dropped Skelton for a loss of eight on the Cardinals’ first offensive play, and took down Kolb for a loss of six in the second quarter.

“I think we were able to go out and capitalize off of a lot of mistakes that were made by Arizona, and we were also able to create plays,” Wimbley said. “We looked at this game as a tune-up game going into the regular season.  This is normally the game that the starters play the most. So I think it was important for us to be focused in this game and we put a lot of study into this team and I think it showed.

“I think we went out there and we were able to pick up on our keys and we were able to execute on the things that were called,” Wimbley continued. “I think the guys on this defensive line have been improving and getting better and it’s great to be a part of that. They bring a lot of energy and excitement, and we just go out and work hard every day in practice and it’s showing up in the games, so I’m excited about that.”

McCarthy intercepted Kolb late in the second quarter and on the first play of the third quarter. He returned the first 12 yards, and the second 31 yards for a touchdown on the final snap played by Tennessee’s first-team defense. He led the Titans with seven tackles, including two for losses.

“We were just playing good defense,” McCarthy said. “I think our D-line was getting a lot of pressure up front, causing them to make bad decisions with the football. It’s a whole defense. We are out there all running around, making plays. It’s the D-line. They were doing a great job getting pressure all night. I think we got three or four sacks. That’s the way our defense is. That’s the way we have been building through this preseason. We are excited for Week 1 to come around.”

The Titans recorded four sacks and forced five Cardinals turnovers in the game.

Safety Michael Griffin intercepted Skelton one play after Wimbley sacked him. Griffin dropped the ball as he was running it back but quickly recovered it for a 21-yard return that gave Jake Locker and the Titans’ offense the ball inside the red zone at the Arizona 19-yard-line. The Titans turned the turnover into points two plays later.

“It feels great just going out there and coming out with a win and getting turnovers. I feel like the front four of the D-line did a great job,” Griffin said. “Overall, I think we did a pretty good job.”

In addition to the three interceptions, Collin Mooney forced a fumble on a kickoff return that Cameron Graham recovered at the Arizona 19-yard-line that led to a Titans field goal by Will Batson in the fourth quarter.

Later in the final period, DaJohn Harris forced a fumble during a sack of Ryan Lindley that Jordan Babineaux recovered at the Arizona 16 that led to the game’s final touchdown a play later.

The Titans have forced nine turnovers in three preseason games this season.

McCarthy said the team is trying to lay a foundation they can build on in the regular season.

“We’ve been consistent. We got two in the first game, two in the second and now five here in the third.  So we’re building. That’s what we want to do,” McCarthy said. “We want to improve week to week so week one we hit the ground running, and we took another great step this week. You know we have one preseason game left and from there, it’s 16 straight. We’re excited.”

HARPER CAPS TD WITH FLIP: Jamie Harper punctuated a topsy-turvy second half by doing a forward flip after he scored the game’s final TD on a 16-yard run with 5:27 remaining.

Harper got a substantial block from Mooney and cruised in for the score. The 5-foot-11, 233-pound running back then showed his agility and landed as gracefully as an Olympic gymnast. It was a rewarding play for Harper who bought 70 tickets to the game so players from his Florida high school could attend on their way through the area to a game that will be held Saturday in Louisville, Ky.

TITANS RECOGNIZE FANS: The Titans gave a special welcome back to football to 90 fans before Thursday’s preseason game with the Arizona Cardinals. The fans were given 12th Titan jerseys and were able to take the LP Field playing surface at the 20-yard-line of the south end. Each Titans player then met the fan who was wearing a shirt with their corresponding number and autographed it.

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