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Notebook: Titans Tackle Byron Stingily Anticipates Strong Challenge

Posted Dec 27, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Each day before Titans practice, No. 68 Byron Stingily stands taller and looms larger than the nearby jerseys with numbers in the teens, 20s and Nate Washington’s No. 85.

The 6-foot-5, 318-pound tackle enjoys going through warm-ups in the company of Washington, Damian Williams, Kenny Britt, Kendall Wright and running back Chris Johnson before joining his position group for drills and the remainder of practice.

Tackle Byron Stingily prepares for Titans practices by stretching with players like RB Chris Johnson and WR Kenny Britt.

“They’re my guys. I can always get a good laugh out of them. When you’re dragging or a little down, you can always be around them and they’ll get you going because they’re real high-energy guys,” Stingily said. “I’ve always been close to Nate and Damian and Kenny and all the receivers since I’ve been here. You’ve got to find some days alone where you’ve got to entertain yourself but they’re good people to be around. They’re some characters.”

Washington and Britt are usually the most talkative. Williams and Johnson also talk from time to time, but Stingily doesn’t chime in much.

“I’m quiet. I’m a lineman,” Stingily said. “I sit back and just laugh at all the stuff they do and talk about. I just listen. I’m not much of a joker. I just laugh at all the stuff that’s going on. That’s about it.”

Stingily is likely to make his second consecutive start at right tackle in place of David Stewart and the fourth of his career Sunday when Tennessee (6-9) hosts Houston (2-13) at LP Field in the season finale for both teams. The 2011 sixth-round pick started at Green Bay and against Jacksonville last year and at Jacksonville last week. He said Houston’s defensive front will pose a new challenge.

“I’m looking forward to it, going against a good defense and getting a chance to prove myself and trying to play good,” Stingily said. “I was comfortable last week because I had practiced against Sen’Derrick (Marks) and played against (Jason) Babin last year, so going against the Texans is new, but I think I’ve studied enough and practiced hard this week and paid attention to detail that I should be ready.”

The strength of the Texans’ seventh-ranked defense is largely up front with ends J.J. Watt and Antonio Smith flanking nose tackle Earl Mitchell and combining with outside linebackers Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus. Click here to read more about the matchup with Watt.

Stingily said the primary goal is “just be physical.”

“I’ve got to really get after people and just keep pounding the ball, and just open up holes and get the running backs going and protect (Ryan Fitzpatrick),” Stingily said. “I want to have another good performance and get a W.”

Titans coach Mike Munchak said it will be a great opportunity for rookie Chance Warmack to show how much he’s grown this season, as well as rookie center Brian Schwenke and Stingily to face such a stout front.

“I think it’s good for him going against a better player this week, different types of players I should say, and see how those guys (Stingily and Chance Warmack) play together,” Munchak said. “Their communication has been good. They’ve practiced together quite a bit because of the injuries we’ve had at tackle. I’d be interested to see those two guys play and matchup, how much better we hopefully play than we played the first time.”

WHAT CAN RECEIVERS DO? While much attention should go to the matchup between Tennessee’s offensive line and Houston’s defensive front, Washington and Wright said receivers can also impact an offense’s performance against a team that is strongest up front by running precise routes at the correct depth.

“We’re going to have to know that you’re not going to have time to lollygag. You’re going to have to get in and out of your routes and make sure you’re getting every catch that’s thrown your way so we’re going to have to be assignment sound as usual, but this is a team where their secondary is very young,” Washington said. “They have a couple of banged up guys and we understand that we’re going to have to take care of business to beat their front seven. It’s not just about beating their DBs for us.”

Added Wright: “I think we’re a different team than when we played them earlier in the season. I think our o-line can hold up with their d-line and give Fitz time so we can run our routes.”

FAMILIARITY WITH MATCHUP: Munchak and Texans interim head coach/defensive coordinator Wade Phillips have squared off before in different capacities, but this will be the first time that they’ve met as head coaches.

Phillips, who made his NFL debut as linebackers coach of the Houston Oilers in 1976, is 82-63 in 145 games and 12 seasons as a head coach. Munchak is in his third season as a head coach after spending 1997-2010 as offensive line coach for the Titans/Oilers.

“We’ve gone against their defenses so much when he was (defensive coordinator at Houston) and when he was in Buffalo. He’s been successful pretty much everywhere he’s been,” Munchak said. “I think unfortunately for him, his bad memory will be being part of the Music City Miracle when he was in Buffalo (as head coach of the Bills). He’s done a great job with the defense. I know he’s probably doing a great job with the team in a tough situation. It’ll be a good opportunity for both of us.”

INJURY UPDATES: In addition to Stewart (shoulder), Jurrell Casey (knee) did not practice for the third straight day, but Zach Brown (illness) fully participated Friday after missing Thursday. Munchak said Stewart and Casey are questionable and Brown is probable.

Munchak said Mike Martin would get the chance to play more, particularly on passing situations, and the Titans would likely combine Antonio Johnson and Sammie Hill in situations where a run play is more likely.

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