Titans looking for key replacement, passing game boost

Monday, October 29, 2007 at 11:42pm

The Tennessee Titans are in need of a long snapper after Ken Amato suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Sunday’s 13-9 victory over Oakland.

Amato will miss the final nine games of the season, leaving the Titans in need of help at the position.

“He tore his ACL and will be out for the rest of the season. We’ll be looking at different scenarios as far as replacing him,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.

Starting center Kevin Mawae handled a punt snap after Amato went down Sunday, but the Titans will likely search for a replacement for Amato among free agents.

“Kevin did a great job on that last punt. We expected them to come [with pressure], and they did. He did a great job. He’s done the short snap and has been very consistent with that,” Fisher said.

Fisher added that Ryan Fowler and LeVar Woods have long-snapping experience as well.

“We could look outside. We can also look inside. We’ve got more long snappers on our roster than we’ve ever had. So we’ll discuss our options over the next couple of days,” Fisher said.

Twice in the past, Amato has missed time with injuries. He missed nine games in 2005 with a broken leg and missed one game last season. Both times, the Titans signed Jon Dorenbos as a replacement for him, but he is currently on the Philadelphia Eagles roster.

The Titans have had long snappers in as part of their Tuesday auditions to compile a short list of emergency replacements. Those include Jared Retkofsky and Mike Schneck.

Other than Amato’s injury, the other ailments from the game were minor, according to Fisher, though some players could miss Wednesday’s practice because of it.

Fisher said receiver Brandon Jones (knee) should be ready to play Sunday, but that running back Chris Brown (ankle) would still be questionable.

The Titans also have to replace defensive tackle Corey Simon, who retired last week, on the roster. Tennessee has some interest in Grady Jackson, who was released by Atlanta, and also could bring back Jesse Mahelona, who was waived earlier this season.

FINDING A SPOT: Fisher said Monday the move of Michael Griffin, who had been primarily cornerback in his time with the Titans, to the starting free safety role was a way to get all the team’s best athletes on the field together. Griffin had four tackles, including two solo stops, in his starting debut Sunday against Oakland, replacing Calvin Lowry.

The decision was based on primarily what was going on outside at the cornerback spot. “Cortland [Finnegan] and Nick [Harper] are playing so well out there [at cornerback],” Fisher said. “We’ve got depth out there with Rey [Hill] and Kelly [Herndon] and Eric [King]. We just felt like we owe it to the defense to get the best players on the field. Griff had been working against the offense on the practice field for the last month or so, so we just felt like it was time to give him a shot.”

Fisher said the move was not made because Lowry had been part of giving up long touchdowns in each of the previous two games.

“It had nothing to do with the way Calvin was playing,” Fisher said. “I’m very pleased with the way Calvin was playing. We were 4-2 with Calvin as our free safety, and he made a lot of plays for us. But Griff is a special athlete, and that doesn’t mean he won’t go back to corner. As of right now, we’re going to go ahead and start him again this week.”

OFFENSIVE WOES: Fisher addressed the Titans continued troubles in the red zone and passing the ball overall. Quarterback Vince Young, who had three potential touchdown passes (including two on one drive) dropped, had just 42 yards passing.

“I think everybody would like to see 48 points and 400 yards passing, but our plan last week, specifically, was to go in and run the football against this defense,” Fisher said. “We felt like if we could run the football and play well on defense, then we would win the ballgame. Now, we had a number of opportunities. We had four drops. We had an offensive pass interference call. We had a couple of touchdown passes that were dropped. … We’re not happy with the lack of points and the lack of touchdowns, but we definitely had some opportunities yesterday and couldn’t take advantage of them.”

Ben Troupe dropped a first-half potential touchdown, then Quinton Ganther and Roydell Williams dropped two TD throws in a row from Young in the fourth quarter.

NEEDS WORK: Fisher said he was pleased with the way Chris Davis handled the kickoff return chores, but that the unit as a whole needed to improve.

“This wasn’t Chris Davis’ issue yesterday,” Fisher said. “We didn’t do a good job blocking for him. But we’re going to continue to work on it. [Oakland is] a very talented cover team. So one of the areas where we need to stress improvement is in the returner support and blocking. But he came off the ankle injury and I thought he handled the ball well.”

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By: junebugfan on 12/31/69 at 7:00

What??? I heard Chris Brown talking on the evening radio show like two days after the injury and he talked like he was going to play THAT week. Now he is still listed as questionable for the next game? Wonder if they are just wanting to keep Chris Henry up? Works for me. He appears to have a burst like few of this team's past backs have had. Who was that Tennessee Oilers "scat-back"? Wasn't his last name White?