When Collins was cut by the Raiders, he signed with the Titans.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
Two weeks ago, the Raiders were leading the league with 194.2 rushing yards
per game. With defenses continuing to throw more people at the line of
scrimmage, that number has plummeted to 145.8. Now they face the league's
top run defense (59.7 yards per game), trying to get RB LaMont Jordan & Co.
back on track.
The Raiders aren't built to be pass-heavy, and will be stubborn about
running the ball on first and second down in an attempt to set up
Titans kicker Rob Bironas helped win last Sunday's game with eight field
goals, but that also stressed the Titans' struggles to finish drives with
touchdowns (34.6 percent of the time they get inside the red zone).
QB Vince Young will return to the lineup, although it remains to be seen if
he'll have his full mobility. RB LenDale White, fresh off his first 100-yard
game of the season, might have to shoulder a heavy workload again with
backup Chris Brown still ailing.
FAST FACTS: Culpepper averaged 30.6 rushing yards per game before his knee
injury in 2005, and just 5.9 since. ... The Titans are beginning a
three-game home stand.
--QB Josh McCown got in more snaps Thursday but again with the scout
team. Daunte Culpepper will start against the Titans.
--DT Gerard Warren did not practice Thursday and is unlikely to play
against Tennessee Thursday.
--CB-KR Chris Carr was still limited with a calf injury, with the Raiders
preparing Dominic Rhodes on kickoff returns and Johnnie Lee Higgins on punt
returns if necessary.
--QB Andrew Walter is getting almost no work during practice with McCown
and JaMarcus Russell working with the scout team. Walter could be moved from
the roster as soon as McCown is healthy enough to be the backup.
--WR Jerry Porter has 11 catches in six games, but has 14 receptions for
271 yards and five touchdowns in his last two games against Tennessee.
--QB Vince Young (strained quad) took a full practice load for the second
day in a row Thursday and there appears to be no reason to expect him to be
at all limited against Oakland.
--WR Brandon Jones (knee) practiced for the first time since he had his
right knee scoped on Oct. 15 and said he felt pretty good and is optimistic
he won't have any ill effects Friday.
--RB LenDale White will likely get a bigger share of work for the second
week in a row as Chris Brown (ankle) hasn't practiced and looks unlikely to
play against the Raiders.
--RB Chris Brown (ankle) did not practice Thursday and looks likely to
miss his second game in a row.
--FB Casey Cramer could be a factor against Oakland if he plays ahead of
Quinton Ganther. FB Ahmard Hall (arm) is out. Ganther was up last week as
insurance behind both Hall, who was coming off a concussion, and rookie
running back Chris Henry. But since Henry did reasonably well filling in for
Chris Brown, the Titans could go with Cramer against the Raiders.
--DT Corey Simon announced he was retiring because he was having trouble
recovering from practices. The Titans will go into the Raiders game with
three interior linemen and DE Antwan Odom could shift inside if needed.
Since he was the team's starting quarterback for much of 2004 and 2005,
the Raiders have plenty of information on Kerry Collins in the unlikely
event he starts against them Sunday for the Tennessee Titans.
They also have more than they'd like on Vince Young, even though they've
never faced him before.
Young, in his second year out of Texas, is expected to return to action
after giving way to Collins in last week's 38-36 win over the Houston Texans. If his mobility is too restricted, the Titans can call on Collins,
who performed admirably in a 13-10 loss to Tampa Bay and the win over
Coach Lane Kiffin said the Raiders will be ready to play against either
man. Kiffin was Southern Cal's co-offensive coordinator the night Young
completed 30 of 40 passes for 267 yards and rushed for 200 yards on 19
carries, scoring two touchdowns in the final 4:03 of a 41-38 win over
"I remember him very clearly scoring 41 points and having 500 yards of
offense in the Rose Bowl," Kiffin said. "He presents a lot of challenges
because you can have everybody covered up and you can have a good rush and
it only takes one seam for him to go.
"He's not going to slide after six yards. He's going to make somebody
miss and get 30 yards."
Raiders cornerback Fabian Washington, a first-round draft pick in 2005
based in large part on his speed, remembers playing against Young while at
Nebraska and feeling overmatched.
"I took literally about five steps and said there is no way I can catch
this guy, and he scored," Washington said. "I still remember that play. You
can't let him get outside the pocket and run with the ball. He's good enough
passing the ball, but once he starts using his legs he's a different
Collins, who ironically had two of his best games as a Raider (eight
touchdowns, two interceptions, 74 points and two wins) against the Titans,
presents more of a stand-and-deliver challenge.
"They're totally different quarterbacks," Kiffin said. "At the end of the
Tampa game, he took 'em down for a drive, and then obviously last week
played well against Houston. He brings a big-time arm and when they protect
him he's really good."
The key to the Titans' top-ranked rushing defense may be first down, on
which the Titans are allowing a league-low 2.5 yards per attempt.
Only three other teams in the league -- Baltimore (2.6), Minnesota (2.9)
and Green Bay (2.9) -- are holding opponents to less than three yards on
first down carries.
Only the Indianapolis Colts had any first-down run success against
Tennessee, with 14 carries for 52 yards.
"For an offense, the longer the distance, the shorter the playbook,"
middle linebacker Ryan Fowler said. "It takes away a lot of plays...
Offensive coordinators want to be in manageable situations.
"You can watch the percentages just drop on third down conversions once
it's third-and-seven-plus as opposed to third-and-two. If you can limit them
on first down, you can get them in those situations."
The Titans play host to Oakland this weekend, and it figures to be a
strength-against-strength matchup with the Raiders trying to build a ground
game with LaMont Jordan and Tennessee determined to stop him.
PREDICTION: Titans 22-20