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Notebook: Titans Make To-Do List that Begins in Oakland

Posted Nov 22, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Michael Griffin and the Titans got a jump start on making wish/to-do lists that generally accompany the approaching holiday season.

The Titans safety rolled off what he thinks will be most beneficial for Tennessee (4-6) in its final six games of the season that begin with Sunday’s 3:05 p.m. CT game at Oakland (4-6).

“We’ve got to play smart so:  1) you’ve got to eliminate the dumb penalties; 2) we’ve got to do our assignment and don’t try to do anyone else’s jobs; and 3) we’ve got to take care of the football. If we can do those three things, we can pull this thing out.”

The Titans are one of six AFC teams with the same record who are one game back of the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins for the final Wild Card spot in the playoffs. The Jets would go to the postseason via tiebreak if the playoffs began before this weekend’s games.

Tennessee’s offensive and defensive players know the opportunity that they still have in front of them despite dropping five of six.

“I think we really can’t get caught up on what games will propel us into the playoffs right now,” receiver Nate Washington said. “I think the main focus is making sure that every single opportunity we’ve had that’s slipped through our hands, make sure we seize those. I think a lot of guys understand the things we’ve done here in these games that haven’t been the type of play or technique that’s been able to get us through, so we want to correct them.”

Many times this season the Titans have fallen victim to self-harm. Tennessee is 4-2 when it has a positive or even turnover ratio and 0-4 when it has a negative turnover ratio.             

Of the 25 touchdowns the Titans have allowed this season, six have capped drives that included defensive penalties, four have followed offensive turnovers and three have followed turnovers on special teams.

“We’ve found ways to beat ourselves,” safety Bernard Pollard said. “That’s in the past. We can’t allow our past to dictate and destroy our future, so right now, we have to take it one game at a time.”

Pollard joined the Titans this offseason after helping the 2012 Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII. Baltimore opened last season 8-2 before dropping four of its final six and recovering with its postseason run. The year before, the New York Giants opened 6-2 through their first eight and fininshed 9-7, making the playoffs as the final NFC Wild Card team and eventual champ.

Jason McCourty said players are aware of teams that have recovered from rough stretches but said the Titans are totally locked in on the Raiders.

“You look around the league, and the year my brother (Devin) went to the championship, the Giants barely got in and then made a run. That’s all it takes. We’ve just got to win the next game. It doesn’t matter that we’re in the picture. It doesn’t matter that we’ve got to win the next five or six games. We’ve got to win the next game and then worry about the one after that. The only way we’re going to get there is by winning, and we haven’t done that these last few weeks. More than worrying about making a run, let’s win the next game.”

SCHWENKE MAKES MORE PROGRESS: Rookie center Brian Schwenke said he is “really comfortable and happy with how much I’ve progressed in a week” after suffering an ankle injury Nov. 10.

“The little things that bug me just the tiniest amount, hopefully game-day adrenaline will clear those up,” Schwenke said. “It’s really important (to fully practice), more than trying to feel out the ankle. There’s a reason we practice, and you’ve got to get comfortable with certain things and not doing them for a week, you kind of get out of that grind and lose a little bit. I probably went a little harder than some people just so I could make sure I got it all in, but it felt good.”

Titans coach Mike Munchak said the progress was encouraging The Titans practiced outdoors Tuesday through Thursday but rain pushed practice inside Friday. Schwenke is listed as questionable for Sunday.

“After doing all the work he did yesterday — he did half the reps yesterday — he got through it pretty well, and it wasn’t any worse. That was the key,” Munchak said. “Now, today being inside, he did most of the work, which is less work. I mean, it’s limited reps today, but he did pretty much everything he wanted to do. It’s just making sure there’s no issues between now and Sunday.”

INJURY UPDATES: Derrick Morgan (groin), David Stewart (shoulder), Moise Fokou (knee), Justin Hunter (concussion), Zaviar Gooden (hamstring) practiced fully Friday. Stewart, Hunter and Gooden are probable, and Morgan and Fokou are listed as questionable. Click here for the full injury report.

STAYING PUT: Damian Williams (hip) is out and not making the trip out west, Munchak said, but could do some running next week.

“We’ll let him stay back and just get rehabbed so he doesn’t have to be part of the long trip,” Munchak said. “That would probably be better for him to get work done here. Next week, hopefully, we’ll see where he’s at as far as getting more into some on the field, moving around more than he has, seeing where he’s at.”

Munchak said Williams will have an opportunity to return kicks again once he is healthy, but Devon Wylie is set to handle those duties for a second straight week.

“That’s the other thing that’s disappointing there. We really thought that was a nice fit for (Williams),” Munchak said. “He was excited for that opportunity, that phase of the game. Losing him in the second game hurt us, but if he’s healthy, we’d like to get him back there.”

ROSTER MOVE: The Titans claimed DB Micah Pellerin off waivers and waived S Corey Lynch on Friday. Pellerin, who turns 25 Saturday, will wear jersey No. 32. Click here to read more about Pellerin.

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