The Tennessee Titans believe Luke McCown can execute a handoff.
That’s why the Jacksonville Jaguars’ decision on Tuesday to name McCown their starter and release veteran David Garrard did not do much to change the Titans’ approach to Sunday’s season-opening game in Jacksonville.
“Their offense is going to through Maurice Jones-Drew — they’re going to run the football,” Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray said. “They’ve done that for the last five or six years [and] they’ve done it really well.
“That’s pretty much what they’re going to do to take pressure off the quarterback.”
Over the last five seasons, Jacksonville is 20-8, including 6-2 last season, when one of its backs rushed for 100 yards or more.
Jones-Drew became the starting running back in 2009 and in the last two seasons has rushed for more than 2,700 yards. He had an NFL-best streak of six straight 100-yard games in 2010.
“It was a surprise to everybody not just us when you make a quarterback move that late, but I don’t think it will change much,” Tennessee coach Mike Munchak said. “We know their philosophy and we know what they like to do, especially run the ball with play-action and knowing that when you make a change at quarterback it’s going to be a little bit different than it has been in the past.”
This is the third time in five years the Titans and Jaguars have opened the season against one another. Both times Jacksonville was held to just 10 points.
“[McCown] is ready to lead us and we are ready to follow,” Jones-Drew said. “Whatever he needs from us we are willing to do and he is doing a great job thus far.”
• Sleepless Saturday: Titans offensive coordinator Chris Palmer has been an NFL head coach, so he has an idea of what awaits Munchak as Jeff Fisher’s replacement prepares for his first official game.
“He won’t sleep Saturday night so he’d better get some sleep the rest of the week,” Palmer said.
To this point, Munchak says he has not lost any sleep worrying or wondering how it will be.
“I’m more worried about making sure that everything for the team, and have us ready to play, and the staff,” he said. “I’m sure at some point I will, yes.”
• Injury report: For the Titans, defensive ends Jason Jones (knee) and Derrick Morgan (knee), and running back Javon Ringer (back) did not practice.
For the Jaguars, tackle Eben Britton (back) and defensive end Aaron Kampman (knee) had limited participation. Jones-Drew, defensive tackle Tyson Alualu, fullback Greg Jones and cornerback Rashean Mathis also had limited participation but the team said those were not injury related issues.
• Quote of note: “Well we are getting ready to find out. He’s got a blank slate right now starting 0-0.” — Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio on how Munchak will do as a head coach.
• Keeping quiet: Fisher used to love to take digs at the Jaguars, which made him a villain among that team’s fans. Presented the opportunity, Munchak opted not to add any fuel to whatever fire lingers.
“We are going to show up, you can tell them that,” Munchak said. “We are definitely coming.
“I know how this has been a great rivalry. Anytime you play within the division, it’s a big deal. There is always a little more added to it, especially when it’s early.”