Raiders - Titans gameday primer
Kerry Collins
Kerry Collins

Posted Oct 28, 2007


This is the 41st meeting between the Raiders and Titans. The Raiders lead the series 23-17 and have won three of the last four. In Oakland's last two wins, 34-25 in 2005 and 40-35 in 2004, quarterback Kerry Collins completed 38 of 66 passes for 609 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions.

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 play-action.

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.

Raiders:

--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.

Titans:

--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.

Raiders:

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 Houston.

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 USC.

"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 beast."

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."

Titans:

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



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