Tennessee Titans beat writer Jim Wyatt of The *Tennessean *spoke with Nick Scurfield of HoustonTexans.com to preview Sunday's game between the Texans (5-4) and Titans (3-6) on Monday Night Football at Reliant Stadium.
Wyatt has been covering the Titans for *The Tennessean *since 1999.
Nick Scurfield: Jim, when we talked before the Week 2 Texans-Titans game earlier this season, it would've been hard to imagine the Titans were going to start 0-6. How much more fun has your job gotten in the last three weeks?
Jim Wyatt: It's certainly been a lot more entertaining and a lot more positive; I'll be honest with you. Especially when they started 0-6 and lost 59-0 to New England, the atmosphere was not very good at all. Guys in the locker room were very touchy and defensive about things. There were questions about everything from who the quarterback should be to Jeff Fisher's job security, and it was an ugly situation. I've covered the team since '99, and I know they started 0-5 one year, but this was different this year because they had such high expectations. Coming into the year after going 13-3 last year, I think a lot of people looked at this team as a playoff team, a team capable of making the Super Bowl, but things were just falling apart. They seem like they got things back on track. It may be too little, too late, but at least there's some positive vibes around town as opposed to the ones going around a couple weeks ago.
Nick Scurfield: Texans head coach Gary Kubiak has said a few times this week that when he looks at this Titans team, it's the same one that won 13 games last year. What do you think keyed their turnaround?
Jim Wyatt: It hasn't been simple. I know the Vince Young people think it's as simple as changing quarterbacks. Vince Young's done a great job the last three weeks. He's playing better than I've ever seen him play. He's limiting the mistakes, he's throwing the ball well, making better decisions. But across the board, they're playing like they did last year. They're playing well on defense, they're getting turnovers, stuff that they weren't doing earlier in the year. They've got more interceptions in the last three weeks than they did in the first six games of the season. So the defense has gotten better, and offensively, you needed two hands to catch all the drops in those games. They haven't dropped a pass in the last three weeks. The running game is going well. Chris Johnson is on a heck of a roll right now. Everything seems to have come together at just the right time. I think Vince Young has provided a spark and, certainly, winning helps a lot of things.
For more, including Wyatt's take on the Titans' trash talk, running back Chris Johnson and his prediction on the game (Spoiler alert: He picks the Texans to win), click here to listen to the full interview in a HoustonTexans.com podcast.