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Quick start unfamiliar for Fisher's teams

Discussion in 'Tennessee Titans and NFL Talk' started by NewsGrabber, Sep 18, 2008.

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    Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans are 2-0 for the first time since 1999, their first season using the new nickname after existing as the Houston Oilers and then, for two nomadic seasons, as the Tennessee Oilers.

    So far, there are striking similarities between the 1999 team and this one: They are both defensive teams with effective running games. And they both saw their starting quarterback turn over the controls to the backup in Week 2 after being injured the first week of the season.

    Steve McNair needed back surgery in 1999, and Neil O'Donnell started five games over six weeks as McNair recovered, posting a 4-1 record.

    Vince Young sprained his left knee in the opener and has other well-documented issues to sort out. He's not as far along in maturity as McNair was in 1999, and he's not assured of getting the starting job back as McNair was.

    Only punter Craig Hentrich remains from the 1999 AFC champion team.

    A fast start isn't something Jeff Fisher is used to. His teams have historically started slowly, and he's had only four teams in his 13 seasons before this one that exited September with a winning record.

    "When you get off to a good start it allows you to focus on improving instead of your focus being on doing whatever it takes to win a ballgame," Fisher said. "So when you're winning, you more easily focus on improving, and when you improve, you keep winning."

    Jake Scott knows about good starts. Since he's been in the NFL, he's been part of one September loss. The Colts lost the first game of his rookie year, when he didn't play in the first four. With the Colts and Titans he's now won 14 consecutive September games.

    "When it comes down to December, you want everybody else chasing you, you don't want to be the one that's chasing somebody else," he said. "Injuries are inevitable in this league. You're going to have some weeks when guys are hurt and can't play. So the further you can get ahead early on, the better off you're going to be later on if you have to have guys sit out or miss games or plays. You can ride that out if you build a nice, healthy lead early in the season."


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