As the Tennessee Titans return from their bye week, Coach Jeff Fisher was a bit coy on Monday as to who his starting quarterback would be against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Fisher has steadfastly said through an 0-6 start that Kerry Collins is his starter, and that he remains confident. But on Monday, said that for “competitive reasons” he would not say definitely that Collins would start over Vince Young.
“Both quarterbacks had a good week, but [Collins] had an especially good week last week,” Fisher said. “I’m not going to go into details about the lineup changes. Those are competitive issues.”
Asked why he didn’t give Collins his usual vote of confidence as he has in past weeks, Fisher again cited competitive issues.
“We’ve had a week to do some different things. And especially considering the circumstances we’re in right now with the record, there’s things that you need to do differently,” Fisher said. “Let’s just say I’m not gonna be as specific and [will be] open-ended from a competitive standpoint.”
In Young’s rookie year of 2006, he entered the lineup at the urging of owner Bud Adams when the Titans were 0-3 and with a revitalized defense helped the Titans finish 8-8 after losing their first five. Young won Offensive Rookie of the Year, but was benched last year after the season opener.
Collins has completed 108 of 197 passes with five touchdowns and eight interceptions thus far in six games this year, but has been pulled the past two weeks in blowout situations against Indianapolis and New England.
Young has mopped up in both games, but is 0-for-5 passing with one interception.
Collins has been victimized a number of times this season by his receivers dropping passes. Rookie Kenny Britt still leads the Titans with 19 receptions, and he did not catch a pass against the Patriots and caught just two for 18 yards against the Colts.
“It’s really no different than what we’ve been saying since week one. We have to improve around him. We have to get open. We have to make the tight catch,” Fisher said of the team around Collins. “We have to run after catch. We have to make more plays. He’s putting the ball where he needs to put it for the most part, and we just need to help him.”
Fisher said Young and other backups had a good week of work during the bye when asked if he was confident Young was ready to go if a lineup change is made.
“I think he, along with a lot of the players that are in backup roles, took advantage of their opportunities last week,” Fisher said.
The Titans have also been hesitant to use gimmick formations, such as the Wildcat with Young, but Fisher also left that open to interpretation.
“There’s always that potential. Let me just say that, and I’ll stop it there,” Fisher said.
The Titans appear poised to get help in their beleaguered secondary as both Cortland Finnegan and Vincent Fuller could return form injuries.
The Titans were struggling before both went out with injuries against the New York Jets in week three, but have been shredded in the secondary since, losing three straight by at least 20 points.
Finnegan has been bothered by a hamstring injury, while Fuller has been sidelined with a broken forearm.
Fisher wasn’t tipping his hand when asked about the minor lineup changes he talked about entering the bye week on the heels of the 59-0 loss at New England.
“There may be one, there may be 22,” Fisher said of lineup changes. “Following along with that, we may play players more. We may play players less. We may deactivate a player or two that’s been active.”
Not enough room
Buried in the debacle at New England, rookie Javon Ringer turned in a solid performance in his first chance to play on offense. Ringer had seven carries for 47 yards, including a 32-yard run in the second half.
“He did exactly what we thought he would do. We’ve seen it on the practice field when he’s getting reps, and he’s carried over some of the things he did in the preseason when he got his opportunity,” Fisher said.
Could the fifth-round pick get more opportunities? It could be tough with Chris Johnson and LenDale White ahead of him.
“There’s just not enough balls to go around. I wouldn’t hesitate to put him if there’s an issue, but we’ve got C.J. and LenDale who’s proven he’s capable of doing it,” Fisher said.