Derrick Morgan is Titans' starting DE

Updated: August 14, 2012, 11:30 PM ET
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans have maintained that Derrick Morgan is still the starter at left defensive end, and that is the word he is going with.

For more than a week, Morgan, the Titans' first-round pick in 2010, has been operating mostly with the second-team line, including in Saturday night's preseason opener at Seattle. Former practice squad player Pannel Egboh has been getting a majority of the first-team work.

"You guys need to talk to (defensive coordinator) Jerry Gray. He told me I'm the starter, and that's all I need to worry about," Morgan said of his current status.

Coach Mike Munchak said he considers Morgan to be a starter, but did say it might depend upon what package the opposing offense attempts against the Titans.

"He's not being limited in playing time. We see him as a starter and playing a lot. It just depends which package is on the field," Munchak said.

"That's why defense is so different. If they're going out there with three wide receivers then you're going to have a different corner starting, because that's just how it is. ... So, he's a guy that we consider a starter."

Morgan has struggled at times to match the production of his draft status. He lost most of his rookie year to a torn ACL, but returned last year to play in the final 15 games after missing the opener to have his injured left knee cleaned out with a second procedure. Thus far, he has just four sacks in 19 career games.

"There's always high expectations for a first round pick, and this is a make-or-break year for me," Morgan said. "Regardless of everything else, coming off an injury or whatever, I always have high expectations of myself, and that's how I approach every day. I'm expecting a big year for myself, God willing, and that's how I'm going to approach every day."

As for his goals, Morgan would like to erase the doubts about him with a big season.

"The goal of a defensive end is always to get double-digit sacks, and God willing, I'll get to that. That's what I'm working for," Morgan said.


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press