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Notebook: Titans Waiting for Updates on TEs Delanie Walker & Craig Stevens

Posted Dec 2, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans coach Mike Munchak said Monday the early loss of Delanie Walker to a concussion the day before created a ripple effect across the rest of the offense against the Colts.

The injury was complicated by the fact that the Titans were also without tight end Craig Stevens, who suffered a concussion the previous week at Oakland, and lost fullback Collin Mooney to a leg injury during the game.

Delanie Walker was credited with one catch before leaving Sunday's game at Indianapolis with a concussion.

The absence of Stevens and departure of Mooney had more impact on the rushing attack, and Walker’s injury had more impact on the passing game. He had 10 catches for 91 yards and a touchdown in Tennessee’s first game of the season against Indianapolis on Nov. 14.

“All of a sudden, they can put more attention on Kendall (Wright), on Nate (Washington), on our other receivers, which they couldn’t have done before,” Munchak said. “(We said last week) the one thing that can’t happen is you lose a tight end, and it happened the first 10 plays. That was hard. I thought (offensive coordinator) Dowell (Loggains) did a good job of working our way through that. We still did a lot of good things but not enough to win.”

Tight end Taylor Thompson played 72 of 75 offensive snaps, and the Titans used backup tackle Mike Otto as a tight end on 17 plays.

The Titans lost 22-14 to fall for the third time in four games and sixth in eight, with six of their seven losses this season being decided by nine points or less.

Tennessee (5-7) returns to action in Denver (10-2) at 3:05 p.m. (CT) Sunday, but the status of Walker and Stevens will be determined by the concussion protocol system.

“We’ll see how (Walker) goes through the process in the next few days,” Munchak said. “Stevens worked out (Monday) so we’ll see how he is. In the next couple of days, we’ll know more about both of those guys.”

KEEP THE BALL: Munchak said a major component of the game plan against the Broncos will involve keeping the ball away from Peyton Manning. The Titans have kept the ball 35:48 and 33:55 in their past two games, but will likely need to shore up the rushing offense to help with that.

“I think a lot of it is going to be help from the offense finding a way to stay on the field and keep him off the field,” Munchak said. “That usually worked the best and keeps you in those low-scoring games. That’s going to be a big part in having success, is keeping him off the field.”

FILL THE BACKFIELD: Munchak was still waiting to hear more about Mooney’s injury but said the Titans will “definitely have a fullback on the roster.”

“We’ll probably look for a fullback,” Munchak said. “(Sunday) we couldn’t run goal line, we couldn’t run a lot of things because we didn’t have a fullback or a tight end.”

Munchak said a hybrid player capable of playing fullback or tight end would be ideal, “but those guys are hard to find.”     

0-FOR-3: Munchak said he contacted the league office Monday and was told that officials made mistakes on three calls that went against the Titans Sunday. Munchak was told:

--Officials incorrectly ruled that Walker did not complete the catch on the play that he suffered a concussion. It was challenged during the game by Munchak, but stood as called after video review.

--Officials should have flagged Moise Fokou for a 5-yard penalty instead of the 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty that led to a 37-yard field goal at the end of the first half.

--Officials should not have flagged Shonn Greene for unsportsmanlike conduct for the talking between the running back and his former Jets teammate LaRon Landry after an 8-yard run ended with a substantial collision between the players.

“I think mistakes happen. It’s upsetting when you feel they could affect the game one way or another, but you just want consistency when things aren’t going your way,” Munchak said. “I don’t think there’s usually that many, but you know there’s going to be some mistakes.

“It’s more about learning from them for us as a staff and for me as a head coach so I know what they’re looking for and why I don’t challenge something and how I see them looking at it,” Munchak said. “The more I can educate the player, hopefully I can get them to play smarter, that we don’t make the same mistakes, that the officials don’t call…if they’re going to call something, I want to make sure these guys are aware of it. That’s the problem we have right now with the officials is that some guys call it different than others.”

RETURN GAME: Munchak said last week’s addition of veteran return specialist Leon Washington provides “an asset there now because of his experience and professionalism and how he handles the job.”

“I think the guys around him feel really secure about him, and hopefully in the next four weeks he’ll do some good things for us,” Munchak said.

Washington was added after Devon Wylie was released. Wylie replaced Damian Williams in the return specialist role after Williams suffered a hip injury on a punt return. Williams had been assigned the task after Darius Reynaud was released. Reynaud had the job in 2012 and this season after injuries in each preseason cost Marc Mariani both seasons.

Munchak said it’s likely that Williams will be able to return to practice Wednesday.

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