NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Titans are back at work after a week off and eager to chase this franchise's first playoff berth since 2008.
The Titans (3-4) went into their bye losing three straight to teams with a combined 18-3 record. They also had a lengthy list of injuries that included middle linebacker Moise Fokou sidelined by an injured left knee and defensive end Derrick Morgan nursing a sore shoulder in a 31-17 loss to San Francisco on Oct. 20.
They got a workout Monday with everyone feeling better after being off seven days straight.
"We faced a little adversity losing three, so now it's time for us to turn it around," cornerback Jason McCourty said. "We got a chance to go home, get our minds clear and now it's only about football. I'm excited to see what we do in these upcoming weeks."
The Titans trail Indianapolis (5-2) in the AFC South with two games left against the Indianapolis Colts for a chance to close ground in the division. They trail only Denver (7-1), San Diego (4-3) and the New York Jets (4-4) in the AFC wild card chase and are tied with Miami and Baltimore at 3-4. But the Titans already beat the Chargers and Jets, giving them a tiebreaker if needed at the season's end.
Of their four losses, two came by a touchdown or less. The Titans also were at least tied or had a lead in the fourth quarter of three losses with only the loss to San Francisco a blowout.
"Everything we plan to do this season is still out there," McCourty said.
"There's no reason for our confidence to have wavered. We can still get everything we wanted to get done this year," McCourty said. "We just have to continue to come together as a team. Today gave us a chance to go out there and work on some things we needed to work on coming off the bye week. I think we're a lot more healthy, so I'm excited."
Defensively, the Titans worked on improving their run defence. They currently rank 23rd in the NFL, giving up 117.1 yards per game after a stingy start. They also took advantage of coaches spending the bye week self-scouting tendencies over the first seven games and spent time trying to improve defence on first and second downs.
Coach Mike Munchak and other team officials attended a memorial service for owner Bud Adams in Houston. Tight end Delanie Walker said they all talked about wanting to win for their late owner after practice Monday with their first chance to play again since his death Oct. 21 coming Sunday when they visit St. Louis.
"We got to get this one for him, and we know he's going to be up there watching over us and pushing us a little bit more so this is a good week for it," Walker said.
The trip to St. Louis offers Tennessee a mini-reunion not only with Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who spent 17 years coaching the Oilers-Titans before leaving in January 2011, but a handful of former Titans. The Rams are one of six teams remaining on the Titans' schedule with losing records.
Receiver Nate Washington, one of only 16 players left who played in Tennessee for Fisher, said their only incentive is trying to have a winning season. The Titans have had only one winning record in the previous four seasons with Munchak going 9-7 in 2011 and just missing the playoffs on a tiebreaker.
"We're still in it," Washington said. "We just have to make sure we're doing everything we can to tighten up the things we have so we can get the wins we've been letting slip through our hands."
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