Titans ready to click offensively down stretch
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - With Jake Locker back, the Titans feel they are finally ready to start clicking offensively again.
The Tennessee quarterback said Wednesday he is feeling as good as he has since before hurting his right hip and knee. The Titans expect the offense to get back on track and coach Mike Munchak says Locker will be a big part of the improvement. Munchak is just excited to see Locker play 10 games in a row.
''He can get that rhythm going that we felt we were getting in on offense that kind of got stripped from us,'' Munchak said.
''And now we've got to get in it fast because we have to win some games. If he can do that this week and get some help from his buddies, we can get ourselves going here. That's what we need. He's going to be a big part of it, and he's going to need to play well for that to happen.''
The Titans (3-4) moved up a notch in the NFL rankings for total offense during their bye, though they remain among the league's worst at No. 27 overall averaging 311.6 yards per game. They play at St. Louis (3-5) on Sunday trying to start a push for this franchise's first playoff berth since 2008.
With Locker, the Titans opened the season 3-1, and he's posting the best numbers of his career. He ranks fourth in the AFC with a 97.1 passer rating and is completing 62.9 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and only one interception. Even with a brace on his knee, Locker still scrambled three times for 29 yards.
He missed two games after hurting his leg Sept. 29 against the Jets.
''The little details are what's killing us,'' Locker said. ''If you watch all our games, we've moved the football. We've done a good job moving the football getting first downs. But we've had some drives stall out, especially early on.''
Now the Titans have lost three straight and are coming off a 31-17 loss to San Francisco on Oct. 20 where they held the ball just 24 minutes, 14 seconds - the least this season. Locker started that game, but the Titans didn't score until the fourth quarter when they already trailed 24-0.
The run game that carried Tennessee early has ground to a near halt in this skid. Chris Johnson had at least 19 carries each through the first three games but hasn't had more than 12 in a game in this skid. Shonn Greene, who signed a three-year contract in March, has had only five carries after needing surgery on his right knee in September.
Munchak would like to see his Titans run at least 35 times Sunday with Greene getting at least 15 carries. The Rams are giving up 116.1 yards rushing per game this season.
''We just got to get plays,'' Munchak said. ''We haven't had enough plays the last three weeks.''
Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who will be facing his old team for the first time Sunday, said he's been very impressed with what the Titans have done with their offensive line. He noted the Titans attacked three very good defenses very well and was impressed with Locker's return against the 49ers.
''Athletically, he has all the tools,'' Fisher said. ''He's throwing with accuracy, he's got great vision. His legs I think are a significant concern for our defense because he can extend plays.''
Notes: S Michael Griffin (right quadriceps), LB Moise Fokou (knee) and RT David Stewart (shoulder) did not practice. DT Jurrell Casey (ankle) was limited. DEs Derrick Morgan and Ropati Pitoitua (calf) and LBs Patrick Bailey and Zaviar Gooden (hamstrings) all practiced fully.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker
Boomer: Pujols becomes 26th player to hit 500 HR's
Boomer: NHL needs a Canadiens-Bruins series