Verner's rapid development unseats two veteran players

Monday, November 1, 2010 at 8:43pm

The legend of Alterraun Verner continues to grow.

Halfway through his rookie season, the fourth-round draft pick out of UCLA has taken two jobs from veteran players.

That much was evident Sunday in the Tennessee Titans’ loss at San Diego when he started at cornerback ahead of Jason McCourty, who started the first three games but was replaced by Verner when an arm injury sidelined him for the next four. McCourty did reclaim his position when the Titans used the nickel package, and that’s when Verner played the slot position ahead of Vincent Fuller.

“I think AV needs to be on the field all the time and he’s got a real good understanding of what we’re doing in the nickel package,” coach Jeff Fisher said Monday. “So we went ahead and made that move.

“It’s our responsibility to put the best people on the field to create the best matchups for us defensively.  Vinnie has not dropped off, no. I think AV has a little more inside. Vinnie is a safety playing the nickel back, playing the third corner. AV is now a corner playing the third corner spot.”

Verner was credited with four tackles in the contest, tied for second among Tennessee defensive backs. McCourty made two stops and had an interception (his second of the season). Fuller’s only tackle was on special teams.

“(McCourty) obviously made a good play on the ball on that interception before half,” Fisher said. “He tackled, pursued—he did fine. … We kept (Fuller) in our dime package. Vinnie does a great job preparing, very reliable, real dependable.”

YOUNG UPDATE: Vince Young’s ankle injury is related to, but not as severe as the one he sustained two weeks earlier at Jacksonville. The other bit of good news for the Titans’ quarerback is that there is no coincidental knee injury this time.

“There were high-ankle symptoms initially at Jacksonville, but he didn’t have the swelling, didn’t have the separation,” Fisher said. “But no, I wouldn’t classify this time around as being high ankle.”

Young is not expected to do much at practice this week (the Titans have a bye) but is not likely to miss any more game time.

“There would probably be some things that we would install, maybe expand the creativity of our offense this week,” Fisher said. “But we can still do that without him working on it this week.”

MORE DISCIPLINE: Safety Donnie Nickey is likely to get fined by the NFL after he was ejected from the San Diego game because he inadvertently struck the referee, Bill Leavy, as he took a swipe at a San Diego player.

“Considering how Donnie was treated on the ground, I can understand why Donnie got up and got upset, but I would anticipate a fine being levied from the league office,” Fisher said. “.  It is very unfortunate, you don’t want that to happen, but Bill understood. …  I think the league will look at all the facts and take fair and appropriate action.

READY TO GO: Linebacker David Thornton, who has been on the physically unable t perform list since the start of the season, will be added to workouts this week. That will activate a three-week evaluation window during which the team must decide whether to activate or release him.

“I think if he’s able to go then we have to make a decision, do we bring him up because our two outside linebackers are playing well right now,” Fisher said. “ … He can do some things on special teams, he’s always been willing to do that and then he gives us the opportunity to plug him in in an extra backer package.  In addition to that some other things we can do and some sub-packages and he’s there if we need him.”