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Scouting report: Tennessee Titans


Quarterback Kerry Collins will start against the Texans for an injured Vince Young.

The Tennessee Titans went 10-6 in 2007 and earned a trip to the playoffs, where they lost in the Wild Card round to the San Diego Chargers. The Titans are 2-0 heading into Week 3 against the Texans, notching wins over the Jaguars and the Bengals.

Jeff Fisher is entering his 14th full season as head coach of the Tennessee Titans. Fisher holds the franchise record for wins by a head coach with 122 victories and is the longest-tenured head coach in the NFL.


Quarterback: Kerry Collins will start in place of injured Vince Young, who injured his knee in Week 1. Collins is the NFL's second-leading active passer with 34,717 passing yards and 174 touchdowns thrown. Collins provides excellent experience and production for the Titans offense. Last week against the Bengals, Collins went 14-of-21 for 128 yards and threw his first touchdown pass in two years.

Running back: LenDale White ran for his first 1,000-yard season in 2007 with 303 carries for 1,110 yards and seven touchdowns. White has scored a touchdown in both games so far this season. White is joined in the backfield by the Titans 2008 first-round draft choice Chris Johnson. Johnson is regarded as one of the fastest players to enter the NFL in recent years and has had a very nice start to his rookie season, rushing for 202 yards in his first two games.

Wide receiver/tight end: Justin Gage returns at wide receiver for the Titans after the 2007 season in which he led the team with 55 receptions and a career-high 750 receiving yards. Starting opposite Gage is Justin McCareins, who spent the last four seasons with the New York Jets. In seven seasons in the NFL, McCareins has played in 100 games with 57 starts and has caught 210 passes for 3,264 yards and 16 touchdowns. Tight end Alge Crumpler was acquired via free agency in the offseason and provides a receiving threat up the middle. Crumpler was a four-time Pro Bowler with the Falcons after catching 316 passes for 4,212 yards and 35 touchdowns. In the past four seasons, Crumpler has led all tight ends (minimum 100 receptions) with a 13.6 yards-per-catch average.

Offensive line: Michael Roos starts at left tackle for the Titans' offense. He has started every game in his first three seasons with 15 games at right tackle and 33 contests at left tackle. Left guard Eugene Amano spent his first four seasons in the NFL as the Titans' reserve center and guard but has played in all but one game in his career. Six-time Pro Bowler Kevin Mawae starts at center for the Titans. Including Travis Henry's 1,211 rushing yards in 2006 and LenDale White's 1,110 rushing yards in 2007, Mawae has blocked for a 1,000-yard running back in 11 of his 14 NFL seasons. Jake Scott, who was signed in the offseason, will start at right guard. Scott started 55 consecutive games for the Indianapolis Colts from 2005-2007. David Stewart started all 16 games at right tackle for the first time in his career in 2007 and will continue that streak in 2008.


Defensive line: The Titans defensive line is anchored by Pro Bowl tackle Albert Haynesworth. Haynesworth led all AFC defensive tackles in 2007 with six sacks and started in his first Pro Bowl a season ago. Joining Haynesworth in the middle of the line is tackle TonyBrown,who plays with good leverage and solid technique. Defensive end Jevon Kearse returns to the team that drafted him this year after signing a contract with the Titans in the offseason. Kearse is a three-time Pro Bowl selection and has led his team in sacks in six of his first seven NFL seasons. On the opposite end of the line is defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who is a two-time Pro Bowl selection and has registered a team-high 31 sacks in three seasons with the Titans.

Linebackers: The Titans linebacking corps is led by Keith Bulluck, who is entering his ninth NFL season. Bulluck has led the team in tackles in five of the past six seasons and is third on the Titans franchise tackles list with 1,027 career stops. Joining Bulluck at linebacker are David Thornton and Ryan Fowler. Thornton is entering his seventh season in the NFL and third as a Titans' starter. Fowler is an aggressive linebacker with good instincts.

Secondary: The Titans secondary is anchored by safeties Chris Hope and Michael Griffin. Griffin was the Titans first-round draft choice in 2007. He started the final 10 games of the 2007 season at free safety, registering 49 tackles and three interceptions. Hope was signed away from the Steelers in 2006 and hopes to return to form after a season cut short by a neck injury in 2007. At cornerback, the Titans start Nick Harper and Cortland Finnegan. Harper, a solid tackler with good cover skills, registered 80 tacklers in his first year with the team last season. Finnegan is a young corner with blazing speed and led the Titans with 16 passes defensed in 2007. Finnegan already has three interceptions in two games in 2008.


Kicking: On special teams, the Titans are led by Pro Bowl kicker Rob Bironas. Bironas led the league with 35 field goals last season, including an NFL-record eight against the Texans in Houston (10/21/07). Punter Craig Hentrich averaged 42.0 yards per punt in 2007 and returns for his 15th pro season and 11th with the Titans.

Returning: Tennessee signed cornerback Chris Carr as an unrestricted free agent last March, and he immediately filled the role of both kick returning and punt returning. Previously with Oakland, Carr is the Raiders all-time kickoff return leader, returning the ball for them 201 times for 4,841 yards (24.1 avg.). Second-year wide receiver Chris Davis is listed as the backup to Carr on the depth chart for punt returns. Rookie running back Chris Johnson, already turning heads with his skills as a running back, provides depth returning kickoffs behind Carr.

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