Tennessee Titans: Michael Preston

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The expansion of NFL practice squads from eight to 10 players also comes with a special exemption for two of the 10.

The criteria for practice-squad eligibility have been altered in two respects.

From the NFL announcement:
First, a player must have a minimum of six games -- up from the current three games -- on a Practice Squad in order for that season to count as one of the player’s three permissible seasons of Practice Squad service.

Second, each club will be permitted to sign a maximum of two Practice Squad players who have earned no more than two accrued seasons of free agency credit. Absent this exception, a player who has earned one or more accrued seasons would not be eligible for a Practice Squad unless the player spent fewer than nine games on a club’s 46-player active list in each of his accrued seasons.

Which Titans are now eligible for those two special slots?

Receiver Michael Preston, fullback Collin Mooney, defensive end Lavar Edwards and cornerback Micah Pellerin appear to be in line for such eligibility, though we have not yet gotten final confirmation from the league.

Preston is the one most in question.

"That's great," Preston said of the potential eligibility. "But I am hoping it doesn't get to that point. Hopefully I can do some things in these games coming up and keep doing some things in practice so I don't have to consider that option.

Final roster cuts are August 30. Teams can sign unclaimed players to their practice squads starting a day later.

Titans Camp Report: Day 18

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
7:16
PM ET
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tennessee Titans training camp:

  • The offense played a lot better than it did on Monday, with Jake Locker throwing three red-zone TD passes a day after he was shut out. There was still some sloppiness. Jackie Battle dropped two passes, and Taylor Thompson dropped one. Shonn Greene had a fumble, though he didn’t run the customary punishment lap which may have been because it was ruled to happen after the whistle (though there isn’t really a whistle).
  • In seven-on-seven work Charlie Whitehurst connected with Michael Preston on a deep ball over cornerback Ri'Shard Anderson. I’ve noted before that Whitehurst has put a lot of air under a lot of his deep stuff. This one was more of a line drive.
  • Kendall Wright continues to look amazing. It looks as if his confidence is as high as possible, and anything thrown near him is practically a sure thing. I hit him several times on Instagram.
  • Justin Hunter also had several good catches, beating Jason McCourty on a go route and going up easily over Tommie Campbell in the back right corner of the end zone in red zone 1-on-1s.
  • Bishop Sankey ran more authoritatively than he did a day earlier, when he fumbled a couple times. He had two live goal-line chances from the 2-yard line. The first was debatable -- I wasn’t sure he got in, he said he’s biased but admitted it needed a tape review. He was stuffed pretty quickly on a second snap.
  • Both sides were feisty. Bernard Pollard and Nate Washington had an extened back-and-forth hollering at each other, as did Daimion Stafford and Leon Washintgon. Washington told Stafford, “You can’t hit me” to which Stafford replied “You’re too little.” That exchange was repeated several times. Linebacker David Gilbert, back after a stretch out with a shoulder injury, flung tight end Chase Coffman to the ground to start a fight that spilled over. The Gilbert-Coffman dustup wasn’t anything beyond ordinary but leaked into a couple different shoving matches.
  • Right after that scrap, Anderson picked off Zach Mettenberger in the back right corner of the end zone. Anderson's been making some plays, but also gets beat. He seems like an all-or-nothing type at this point.
  • Derek Hagan caught a mid-range pass near the numbers on the right side in between a lot of defenders. I feel like he’s consistently good at finding that space on that play or ones similar to it.

Titans Camp Report: Day 17

August, 11, 2014
Aug 11
7:21
PM ET
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tennessee Titans training camp:
  • It was a horrific day for the offense, which came out flat and had mistakes in every area you can think of. There were multiple drops, fumbles, interceptions and bad snaps. Ken Whisenhunt downplayed it as one bad day, and of course it was, but the degree of badness was alarming. Said receiver Derek Hagan, who dropped a pass near the end of practice “It was bad, we didn’t get anything going at all. It was a crazy day. Nobody was catching the ball, bad blocking, missed assignments. Just an overall bad day.”
  • Shonn Greene had a fumble that Zach Brown recovered. Bishop Sankey fumbled twice, the first recovered by Brandon Copeland and the second bounced back to Sankey.
  • Kendall Wright streaked across the middle to collect a Locker pass, beating Jason McCourty. Michael Preston made a nice catch over Coty Sensabaugh up the left side from Charlie Whitehurst. Taylor Thompson had a couple more nice plays.
  • Jake Locker made a bad throw for Nate Washington in the right side of the end zone in red zone work. Tommie Campbell may have pushed off, but he easily collected the bad throw.
  • Whitehurst threw a terrible pick as he looked for Marc Mariani to his right. The line drive throw was easily caught by Blidi Wreh-Wilson who was practically halfway between quarterback and his target. Perhaps the worst play of all on a terrible day.
  • Daimion Stafford had a nice breakup of a throw for Mariani, whose helmet popped off in the process. Ri'Shard Anderson broke up a Zach Mettenberger dart for Hagan. Wreh-Wilson had a too-easy breakup of a Locker pass for Dexter McCluster. The defense made some plays, for sure. But more of the offensive failures were self-inflicted.
  • Justin Hunter wore a jersey that said “J A G” across the back instead of “Hunter.” He said Whisenhunt and receivers coach Shawn Jefferson talked to him after he forgot to convert a route Saturday night. Hunter didn’t know they’d follow through with the jersey, but they did. He said he’ll continue to work to be more than “just a guy.”
  • Hunter made a nice play in the middle of the field, winning a contested ball from Locker by taking it away from safety Michael Griffin.
  • Among the targets with drops: Delanie Walker, Preston, Washington (who had a chance to recollect the ball on the sideline but bobbled it until his feet were out), Thompson, Hagan.
  • Guard Andy Levitre said he played one game at center for the Bills against Miami and was bad at it. Whisenhunt reminded a questioner that he’d said in the past he intended to work Levitre a little at center to prepare a contingency. Now with Chris Spencer (ankle) out, it was the right time. Levitre said he lost focus and snapped as if the quarterback was under center a couple times when he wound up rolling balls past Zach Mettenberger. Ultimately, they put starting center Brian Schwenke in with the third team to settle things down.
  • Kickoffs: Maikon Bonani put one 9 yards deep and another 4 yards deep into the end zone. With less hang time, Travis Coons put one kickoff 4 yards deep. Coons also punted some.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Every team in every training camp talks optimistically. Every team with a new coaching staff talks about how things are different for the better.

The Tennessee Titans are lowly regarded by plenty of fans and media nationally. But they have a lot going on that they feel those people have not paid attention to.

With Ken Whisenhunt and his staff at the helm, new schemes on both sides of the ball, a schedule that doesn’t include some of the powers they faced a year ago and a division with two other rebuilding franchises, they might have a chance to surprise.

."You say each and every year, 'Feels different, feels different, feels different,'" safety Michael Griffin said. "Just, you can see every day, people out there talking, we always have guys picking people up. Each and every day there is competition. There are little side bets here and there -- who’s going to win this period and things of that nature. The whole time we’re all trying to get each other better.

"Again, it just feels so much different in this locker room, and everybody has the same goals in mind, and that’s a positive around here."

THREE REASONS FOR OPTIMISM

[+] EnlargeKen Whisenhunt
Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY SportsNew coach Ken Whisenhunt brings a solid résumé and a strong coaching staff to the Titans.
1. Whisenhunt isn’t Vince Lombardi or Don Shula, but the Titans' new coach is a significant upgrade from Mike Munchak, who was unsteady in his first three years as an NFL head coach. Whisenhunt had success in the role during his six seasons in Arizona, and he is a well-regarded offensive mind who will do more with what the Titans have than his predecessors.

Whisenhunt had the connections and the interviewing skills to hire a staff that appears to be filled with strong teachers, including a few quality holdovers. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton is turning the Titans into a less predictable 3-4 and comfortably works his way into different sections of practice when position work is unfolding. I've watched these coaches teach and I've seen them connect with players.

Whisenhunt may field a complex offense that's hard to defend, but he's good at keeping things simple. I don't see any changes in how the Titans function that aren't for the better at this point.

2. The Titans don’t have players the fans are going to pick to captain their fantasy squads, but Tennessee should have a good array of quality weapons on offense. Kendall Wright topped 1,000 yards in his second season, and now the team’s best receiver will be sent on a wider variety of routes, not just inside slot stuff. He's been excellent so far in camp. Justin Hunter is doing better getting his legs under him and is catching the ball more comfortably. He got behind Atlanta's defense a few times in the recent joint practice and should be a constant deep threat. Nate Washington is showing he remains a versatile, productive guy.

Beyond the receivers, tight end Delanie Walker and running backs Dexter McCluster and Bishop Sankey will be good pass-catching options. When the Falcons gave the Titans a lot of room underneath, Jake Locker hit McCluster with a pass over the middle, and he had a ton of space to take. The Titans have invested a great deal in their offensive line over the past two seasons. They have one more tackle than they need after signing Michael Oher and drafting Taylor Lewan. There should be better protection for the quarterback and better holes for the running backs.

3. The 4-3 defense in recent years lacked a star pass-rusher on the edge who an offense had to fear every snap. The Titans still don’t seem to have that guy. They have to find him, but even if he doesn’t emerge from this group, the overall production out of the pass rush should be better. Who is rushing and who is dropping into coverage? In the 4-3, opponents pretty much knew. In this 3-4, it won’t be nearly as clear on a regular basis. Jurrell Casey, who notched 10.5 sacks as a tackle last season, will work as an end now. He's worked on speed rushes off the edge as well as his bread-and-butter quick power stuff in camp.

Sure, some good quarterbacks can diagnose who is rushing and who isn’t, no matter the front. But outside of Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck (twice), the Titans don’t face any A-list quarterbacks coming off big 2013 seasons this time around. They don’t see Seattle and San Francisco this season either.

THREE REASONS FOR PESSIMISM

1. Locker is a really likable guy who works hard, says the right things and desperately wants to prove he is the long-term answer for the Titans at quarterback. But in two seasons as the starter, he's missed 14 games while dealing with shoulder, hip, knee and foot injuries. He's practiced pretty well, but there are plays splashed in that can be killers on a Sunday afternoon.

Getting 16 games out of him is hardly a certainty for the Titans. Even if they do and he fits well with what Whisenhunt is asking him to do, he has not been accurate or poised enough when he has played. He sometimes tries to do too much and isn’t poised under pressure. Though he moves well and is very fast, putting him on the move puts him at more risk of another injury. Behind him are more question marks. Charlie Whitehurst has had no real success in just 13 games in eight seasons and often fails to step into his throws. Rookie Zach Mettenberger has a great arm but slipped to the sixth round for several reasons and is rotating with Tyler Wilson as the third-team QB. (Update: Wilson was released Wednesday.)

2. The offensive weaponry looks good, but for those five pass-catchers to give the Titans the nice smorgasbord of options, they need to stay healthy. Also, guys like Hunter (second year), Sankey (a rookie) and McCluster (first year with the Titans and Whisenhunt) need to show that their potential and practice play translate into NFL Sundays in a Tennessee uniform. Wright was the best player on offense last season and should grow more. Can the others become known quantities?

Who is the star of the defense? DT-turned-DE Casey is a strong, quick rusher who was healthy and productive in 2013. He is going to land a big-money contract -- either soon from Tennessee or on the market next spring. There are some nice pieces around him, but the Titans need veterans to have their best seasons and youngsters to emerge, all simultaneously. In Georgia, no defender stood out and regularly gave the Falcons more than they could handle.

3. Forty-seven percent of the current 90-man roster has been in the league for two years or less. Youth is generally good, but it needs to be quality youth and it needs to be surrounded by quality veterans. The Titans lack experience in a lot of spots. There aren't kids in camp who weren't high picks but have forced their way up the depth chart to this point.

Maybe it’s a great mix of players and a good share of the inexperienced people can blossom together. But with new coaches and new schemes, it could be asking a lot for all that to happen in the first season.

OBSERVATION DECK
    [+] EnlargeJake Locker
    Don McPeak/USA TODAY SportsJake Locker needs a healthy season if he hopes to become the long-term answer at QB for the Titans.

  • Locker said he feels more comfortable speaking up and being vocal, and he has shown himself to be more confident in how he carries himself. After one throw that looked to be too long for an undrafted rookie, Locker pointed to tell Julian Horton where he should have gone. He still has bad moments in practice, but the preseason has not started, and he is progressing.
  • The Titans have moved running back Jackie Battle to fullback, where he can offer some needed versatility. He appears to have a sizable lead on incumbent Collin Mooney, who has had, at most, a handful of first-team snaps.
  • Among long-shot late additions, veteran receiver Derek Hagan has been consistently good and Brian Robiskie is also gaining notice. He's competing for the fourth and fifth wide receiver spots with Marc Mariani and Michael Preston. Maybe they'll keep six.
  • Sankey is learning quickly how to be a pro, and he has shown a bit of everything the Titans said they expected when they made him the first running back selected in the draft. His first day in pads he looked like an experienced NFL-caliber pass protector. He has good vision and makes good decisions on when to go and when to cut. He also catches the ball well, can run inside and outside.
  • Weakside outside linebacker Shaun Phillips has not worked at all with the first team when Kamerion Wimbley has been practicing.
  • Tommie Campbell was politely mentioned with Coty Sensabaugh and Blidi Wreh-Wilson as a contender for the starting right cornerback spot that opened when Alterraun Verner signed with Tampa Bay. But it’s a two-man competition, and Campbell has struggled horribly.
Thank you for loading up Twitter with mailbag questions. Here’s our first edition of the bag since camp opened:

Paul Kuharsky: Everyone gets room and board. Above that, first-year players get $925 a week and veterans get $1,700 a week. That's from the first day of camp until one week before the regular-season opener. Then the Titans' pay structure is different than most of the NFL.

Paul Kuharsky: It's far too early to say. Performance in preseason games will be the biggest factor in Maikon Bonani's bid to beat out Travis Coons and replace Rob Bironas. Bonani has a huge leg. The question is accuracy. If they both tank, the Titans could still look outside. But not back to Bironas. Lots of kicker questions overall. I expect Bonani to emerge. I don't think they are thinking at all at this stage about any veteran outsider.

Paul Kuharsky: The way Tommie Campbell is playing right now, he doesn't look like an NFL player. But we have to allow for more time with coordinator Ray Horton and DB coach Louie Cioffi and some work sample in games. And we have to consider the alternatives. Even if Marqueston Huff passes Campbell, someone else would have to get ahead of him for the fifth corner spot. And if Campbell is on the roster, he's not playing on defense unless something goes terribly wrong, so he won't factor into passing yardage surrendered.

Paul Kuharsky: Nope. I'm going to presume they sound like a combination of John Facenda and Jack Buck, and thank you very much for the compliment. (At least I'm not a bad pigeon.)

Paul Kuharsky: He's competing for the fourth receiver slot. I don't know how that's overlooked or undervalued. There is no way he's better than Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter or Nate Washington. He's a very easy guy to root for, and I understand that popularity. He's a very likeable, hard worker who does the right things and had great size. He's also slow. I think some fans come close to overrating than underrating. I'd put Preston fifth right now, behind Marc Mariani and ahead of Derek Hagan, but not by much.

Paul Kuharsky: It's hard to pick just one. Kendall Wright has been fantastic. Campbell, as we've discussed, is struggling. Marini has also been very good. Tyler Wilson has also been very bad.

Paul Kuharsky: I don't understand why the corners would be slacking. They are playing for jobs and roles. You can't take plays off or let down in the situations they are in. Now, receivers are going to win a good share of plays. That's life in the NFL. But you make a play, you make a play.

 





















Titans Camp Report: Day 2

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27
8:02
PM ET
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tennessee Titans training camp:
  • In one-on-ones with receivers against defensive backs, undrafted rookie wideout Julian Horton matched up against undrafted rookie corner Ri'Shard Anderson. Jake Locker's pass sailed further downfield than where Horton had broken to the sideline. As Anderson looked back after the ball went incomplete, Locker pointed to where he should have been. That’s not vocal, but it did illustrate the sort of ownership and willingness to be heard that Locker said he’s been more reluctant to show in the past.
  • There was a stiff wind that had a bearing on a lot of passes. Charlie Whitehurst looked most affected by it to me, particularly on some deep balls in one-on-ones where he chose to put a lot of air under passes. Even Zach Mettenberger, the strongest-armed quarterback on the team, threw some wobblers. Ken Whisenhunt said he was happy with the wind, because the Titans were sure to get something like it on a game day at some point. Long-time assistant equipment man Matt Thompson has always shown a big arm. He made one of the day’s best throws when Leon Washington needed a ball in the end zone to bring out as the team worked on return positioning. It was over 40 yards in the air, a rope with a nice arc and plenty of zip.
  • Whisenhunt said more cover-2 was as big a reason for the reduction in deep completions from Day 1 to Day 2 as the wind. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton said no deep balls have been a theme since he joined the team and he was glad the offense hit them on the first day so he could say “this is what we’re talking about” to the defense.
  • There were some big mismatches where the matchups got out of sync. I guess the lesser player in Justin Hunter vs. Anderson and Rico Richardson vs. Coty Sensabaugh has a lot to learn from such a snap. But I liked when Tommie Campbell stepped on the field, replacing Khalid Wooten, for a snap against Justin Hunter. Campbell struggled against Marc Mariani on Saturday and had a tough time again, particularly in some snaps against Hunter.
  • Blidi Wreh-Wilson got the second day work as the second starting cornerback, after Sensabaugh had it on Saturday. Wreh-Wilson stuck with Hunter on a deep route early in seven-on-seven and Locker looked to want to go there, but ended up checking down.
  • Taylor Lewan got the bulk of the work as the starting left guard with Andy Levitre (appendix) out and Byron Stingily heading inside to deal with sickness.
  • Michael Preston worked higher in the receiver pecking order on Day 2, and Mariani was lower.
  • Whisenhunt said at the start that competitive positions wouldn’t see the same guy at the front of the line for multiple days. That bodes well for the status of Jackie Battle, who was the front-liner at fullback ahead of Collin Mooney again on Sunday.
  • Locker was running comfortably and without any hesitation. In one team period, he pulled it down after seeing nothing to his liking and ran up the middle, threw a completion along the right sideline to Nate Washington after rolling right and also rolled left and took off that direction. There was nothing to suggest his surgically repaired foot was any sort of issue.
  • Nate Washington returned to the receiver group jawing hard at cornerback Micah Pellerin, telling him not to do that and “if you’re beat, you’re beat.” Pellerin dropped a pick of Whitehurst on a throw Whitehurst didn’t seem to step into as strongly as he could have.
  • Second team defense: LE Al Woods, NT Antonio Johnson, RE Mike Martin, LOLB Shaun Phillips, ILB Zaviar Gooden, ILB Colin McCarthy, ROLB Akeem Ayers, LCB Tommie Campbell, S George Wilson, S Daimion Stafford, RCB Sensabaugh.
  • Washington, Dexter McCluster, Bishop Sankey and Mariani didn’t field balls, but each brought balls out of the end zone in a kickoff return period.
  • Kendall Wright made a nice sliding catch in traffic in front of Sensabaugh.
  • Stafford picked off a Tyler Wilson pass for tight end Jason Schepler.
  • Bernard Pollard was busting on Zach Mettenberger from the sideline as Mettenberger led the offense, shouting "Roll Tide." That's what someone said to Metenberger recently before sucker punching the former LSU player at a Nashville bar.
Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans ...

Mike Munchak recently surprised Michael Roos with a text. Roos’ 10th year in the NFL will be his first without Munchak, a Hall of Fame offensive lineman, as his position coach or head coach, says John Glennon of The Tennessean.

To which I say: It’s a big transition year for Roos, who is under new
coaches and in the final year of his contract with Taylor Lewan poised to take his job in a year. Roos is a quality pro and will handle it all as well as anyone on the roster would.

Michael Preston is bidding to replace Damian Williams as the Titans' No. 4 receiver, says Lauren Moore of The Tennessean. Receivers coach Shaun Jefferson calls Preston a jack of all trades.

Finally, your soccer read of the day. The narrative about Michael Bradley playing poorly isn’t actually accurate, writes Beck Barnes.

To which I say: A lot of good points here, and the position switch does amount to taking one for the team. But Bradley’s first touch in big situations has been poor, and it needs to be better if the U.S. is to get to the quarterfinals. I want desperately to believe that we will win.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Derek Hagan wasn’t in the league last year.

Now he’s part of a group set to battle for the Tennessee Titans' fourth wide receiver job.

Mariani
The Titans' first three are clear: Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter and Nate Washington.

After that, it’s going to be a scramble.

Michael Preston is an impressive worker and an impressive guy, and he made some plays in limited chances last season. Marc Mariani has missed the past two seasons hurt, but the new staff seems to like him on offense. Brian Robiskie and Hagan rank as veteran journeyman, each on his fifth team. (Hagan says he has stayed ready.)

My prediction: I think Preston and Mariani will be the prime contenders, but I think the better of the two winds up the fifth guy and the other is the sixth, though the team could decide to keep only five.

So who will be No. 4?

An outsider who is cut when rosters around the league are trimmed to 53 on August 31.
Three days of voluntary minicamp on the field Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will have a bearing on the Titans’ draft, coach Ken Whisenhunt said last week.

That comment led a lot of readers to ask me just how influential a few days in shorts and helmets can be.

I don’t think Whisenhunt was suggesting this camp will create major alterations to the Titans' overall thinking and blueprint regarding draft needs.

I think it’s mostly about reassurance and reinforcement of opinions Whisenhunt and the staff have formed based on what they’ve seen on tape.

They aren’t going to get some huge read on linemen in a none-contact setting. But there may be a few spots where it’s particularly important.

Cornerback: The Titans drafted Coty Sensabaugh and Blidi Wreh-Wilson in the last two seasons in part because they knew they could need a starter in 2014 if Alterraun Verner moved on.

Verner is now in Tampa Bay, and the Titans have expressed a great deal of confidence in the ability of one of their young guys to emerge as the starter opposite Jason McCourty.

At no. 11 in the draft, Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert and Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard could be available and attractive for Tennessee.

Could an outstanding three days for Sensabugh or Wreh-Wilson help reassure the Titans about what they have at corner? If the two are constantly beaten, could it affect the team’s confidence in them?

It seems unlikely they’ll see such extremes, but time on the field for coordinator Ray Horton and defensive backs coach Louie Cioffi might be of some small influence.

Receiver: The Titans top three are set with Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter and Nate Washington. But Washington is in the final year of his contract and there is no sure thing at No. 4.

Michael Preston impressed in his limited chances last season, and could be a viable player in the spot. Marc Mariani has been more of a returner than a receiver when he’s been healthy, but I’ve heard they expect he can contribute as a receiver.

Might the Titans come out of this week thinking they are at least four-deep at the spot? Or could they wind up with a stronger belief they need to add to the bunch?
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- When Ryan Fitzpatrick got hit by a blitzer, he threw short for Michael Preston in overtime. The resulting interception by Antoine Cason set up the Arizona Cardinals' win over the Tennessee Titans.

Preston said on "The Wake Up Zone" in Nashville this week that his deep route didn’t come with an adjustment for a blitz.

Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains confirmed that Thursday.

Not only did Preston not have a sight adjustment for that situation, no receiver has one for any situation.

“We don’t sight, we don’t hot,” Loggains said.

That means Fitzpatrick or whoever is at quarterback is expected to make a protection adjustment to deal with the blitz and know who the best person in the progression is to turn to under pressure.

“That way you eliminate some of the gray area of, ‘Is that guy coming, is that guy not coming?’ Loggains said. “That way the receiver can go run his routes instead of staring at the safety and playing slow. …

“Instead of hot routes, we’ll put built-ins where Ryan has to recognize a coverage and go to Kendall [Wright] on an escape or Delanie [Walker] on a shallow cross instead of saying this receiver or tight end has to change his route after the snap and see the same thing the quarterback sees.”

Sounds smart to me.

Replacement receivers hardly practiced

December, 15, 2013
12/15/13
9:37
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans were without receivers Justin Hunter and Damian Williams Sunday because of a violation of team rules.

I credit Mike Munchak for making them inactive. He could have kept it quiet and played Hunter, who would have helped the team as the coach fights for his job.

Tennessee lost, 37-34, to Arizona in overtime.

Without Hunter and Williams, the Titans turned to Kenny Britt and Michael Preston as their receivers behind Kendall Wright and Nate Washington.

Britt caught three of six passes thrown his way, for 29 yards. He let a late touchdown pass go through his hands. Preston caught three of five passes targeting him for 27 yards and the Titans' two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Britt said he had not played a snap of offense all week in practice. Wright said that was the case for Preston too, but Preston corrected him and said his offensive snaps were "sparse" -- five to 10.

It was a solid combined performance from two guys who were not in the plan. But things would have likely been better with the guys who were in the plan.

"They broke some team rules," Munchak said. "The consequence was that they didn't suit up today."

A couple of us caught up to Williams as he left the locker room.

"It definitely lets the team down and I definitely am ashamed that I let my team down," he said.

He left open the idea that things we're so cut and dried, however.

I asked if it was more complicated than people might guess.

"Possibly," he said. "[But] the situation is that we violated team rules and that's it."

Rapid Reaction: Tennessee Titans

December, 15, 2013
12/15/13
7:46
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Rapid reaction from the Tennessee Titans' 37-34 overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals at LP Field:

What it means: The Titans sprang to life, rallying from a 34-17 deficit with 6:13 remaining, pulling even with 10 second left and forcing overtime. But Ryan Fitzpatrick threw his second interception to Antoine Cason on the first drive of overtime, and the Cardinals moved to a 41-yard Jay Feely field goal that won it. The Titans lost for the eighth time in their past 10 games, falling to 5-9 and guaranteeing a losing season.

Stock watch: Receiver Michael Preston, stuck on the practice squad for most of the season, caught two fourth-quarter touchdown passes from Fitzpatrick late in the fourth quarter as the Titans got it to 34-34. Preston had room to shine because Justin Hunter and Damian Williams were inactive for violating team rules. Kenny Britt dropped what would have been a touchdown before Preston caught his first one.

Evening out: It wasn’t long ago that Bernard Pollard was called for a bad penalty for hitting a defenseless receiver and Shonn Greene was flagged for unsportsmanlike contact for apparent taunting. The Titans were later told they were bad calls. This time it was the Cardinals who drew the penalties, and they may hear the same about a Rashad Johnson hit on Britt and a taunting call against Daryl Washington. The Titans felt like they lost in part because of those calls against them. They didn’t really use them in their favor as a springboard to win this one. A roughing call against Calais Campbell at the start of the Titans’ second-to-last drive helped produce a 24-yard Rob Bironas field goal that spurred the comeback.

What’s next: The Titans travel to Jacksonville looking to avenge a 29-27 loss on Nov. 10 to the previously winless Jaguars at LP Field.

Michael Preston was a luxury

October, 16, 2013
10/16/13
5:00
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- As much as the Tennessee Titans like Michael Preston, a sixth receiver who plays few snaps is a luxury when a team is beat up at another position.

Colin McCarthy is slated to start Sunday at middle linebacker against San Francisco with Moise Fokou recovering from a sprained knee. Patrick Bailey and Zaviar Gooden didn't play in Seattle because of injuries. If they aren't back, the Titans wouldn't have a healthy backup.

So they signed Zach Diles, who was with the team last year, to give themselves depth at linebacker. The move came at the expense of Preston, who was waived.

The Titans hope Preston doesn't get claimed off waivers and then they will have the opportunity to sign him to their practice squad and, perhaps, ultimately get him back on the 53-man roster.

For now, they had little choice but to take a chance on losing Preston.

Mailbag: Getting Chiefs off rhythm

October, 5, 2013
10/05/13
11:06
AM ET
Time for the weekly dip into Twitter questions. Thanks to all contributors.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Mike Munchak likes to talk about guys being professionals and doing their job.

Enough of them did their job for the Tennessee Titans to beat the San Diego Chargers and get to 2-1.

But there should be some serious shakeout for all the penalties in the game. Not every call is going to be right, but 11 penalties for 116 yards by nine different players certainly does not fit under the heading of being a professionals and doing your job.

Tennessee fans were up in arms about the officiating and had a couple of legitimate complaints. Eric Weddle got away with pass interference against Justin Hunter. Kenny Britt was flagged for an illegal block above the waist that looked like a hand on the back.

Still, the Titans amassed 10 penalties for 110 yards in the first half before settling down. San Diego got four first downs from penalties while the Chargers committed five for 45 yards and gave up first downs from infractions.

“It’s frustrating because when you see them on tape I think a lot of them are touch fouls,” coach Munchak said. “I think a lot of them seem unnecessary.”

I wasn’t in the room and in talking to a few people who were, it’s unclear if he meant they were unnecessary to commit or unnecessary to call.

I sure hope he’s not making excuses.

Many of his players and his offensive coordinator and were not.

“As a team we definitely have to be smarter, because those penalties are going to come back and bite us,” cornerback Jason McCourty said.

“It’s discipline,” left guard Andy Levitre said. “That’s something we have addressed as a team and obviously it’s yet to be fixed. I don’t know how we’re going to go about it. Obviously it’s up to the coaches. But we have to do a better job with that, that’s going to cost us big-time down the road.”

“That’s unacceptable and we’ve talked about it three weeks in a row,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “We need to find a way to fix that because it’s not smart football.”

A rundown of Sunday’s offenders:

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