NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Chris Brown is doing his very best to
help the Tennessee Titans not miss Eddie George right now. Jeff
Garcia will need a little more time to make a good impression on
the Cleveland Browns.
Brown ran for 46 yards on only six carries, and Steve McNair
threw for a touchdown as the Titans downed Cleveland 24-3 Saturday
night in the preseason opener for both teams.
"Chris Brown did an excellent job of running the ball," Titans
receiver Derrick Mason said. "I think we're going to be a very
productive running team this year."
Brown, the Titans' third-round draft pick in 2003, missed the
entire preseason last year because of a strained hamstring. But he
averaged 7.7 yards per carry in his first work as the Titans'
starting tailback, the job held by George, the team's career
leading rusher who was released last month in a pay dispute.
Brown hit holes quickly and had a long run of 18 yards. George
totaled 72 yards on 32 carries in the 2003 preseason, with his best
run a 6-yarder. Brown credited the offensive line for big holes to
run through and blocking help downfield from the receivers for
making it easier for him.
"It really helps my confidence that I can go out with the
starting offense and help take the lead and hopefully win games,"
McNair would have been perfect if one pass hadn't bounced off
the hands of Drew Bennett and into Daylon McCutcheon's arms for an
interception. McNair was 5-of-6 for 54 yards, including a 21-yard
touchdown to Mason that gave the Titans a 7-0 lead on the next
That was all for the NFL's co-MVP on this night.
Garcia and Kellen Winslow could have had smoother debuts with
The Titans, who chose to go with youth on the defensive line
rather than spend big bucks to keep Jevon Kearse and Robaire Smith,
greeted Cleveland's new quarterback by sacking him twice in his
first three plays and forcing a quick punt on the opening drive.
Garcia was 3-of-5 for 23 yards in three series, and he set up
Phil Dawson's 50-yard field goal with a 10-yard toss to Winslow on
the first play of the second quarter.
"We're not going to kid ourselves," Garcia said. "We need to
be a much better football team. It doesn't matter that it's
preseason or anything like that. There's a lot more this team has
to offer. We didn't display that tonight."
Cleveland coach Butch Davis wanted to see his Browns run the
ball well, and he liked how William Green picked up 23 yards on
three carries. He didn't like a 42-yard pass interference by
McCutcheon as he ran into Mason before his TD.
"We've played horrible in our pass defense. We gave up too many
big plays, two pass touchdowns and a big PI, and those things are
hard to overcome," Davis said.
Winslow's arrival in camp was delayed by a 12-day holdout before
he signed a contract that makes him the highest paid tight end in
the NFL. But he quickly added his first penalty to his first catch.
Holcomb, who had eight starts last season, nearly got the Browns
into the end zone. But linebacker Rocky Boiman hit Andre King
before the goal line just after he caught a pass on fourth-and-3 in
the second quarter.
Titans backup quarterback Billy Volek looked just as sharp as
McNair. He was 11-of-14 for 119 yards, with a 30-yard TD toss to
Jake Schifino for a 14-3 lead. Undrafted rookie Vic King added a
1-yard touchdown and 42 yards on 10 carries.
Titans kicker Joe Nedney, who tore a ligament in his right,
non-kicking leg in the season opener last year, had much better
luck with a 44-yard field goal at the end of the first half. The
ball hit the right upright, then bounced off the crossbar and over
to make it 17-3.
Titans starting left cornerback Andre Dyson hurt his left
quadriceps muscle and will have an MRI exam Sunday. Coach Jeff
Fisher said Dyson's knee swelled as soon as he came off the field,
but trainers eased the swelling by the end of the game. ... The
Titans rested defensive starters cornerback Samari Rolle and tackle
Albert Haynesworth (right foot). ... King suffered a mild
concussion after being hit by Boiman.