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News » Tennessee Titans Inside Slant 2009-03-27

Tennessee Titans Inside Slant 2009-03-27

Tennessee Titans Inside Slant 2009-03-27
For a team that wears "flying under the radar" like a badge for motivation, the news that the Tennessee Titans would be opening the season in primetime at Pittsburgh on Sept. 10 was certainly a bit of a change.

The Titans were selected to kick off the NFL season in the Thursday night game against the defending Super Bowl champions, a team they defeated 31-14 at LP Field last season. Titans' players LenDale White and Keith Bulluck then created a stir by stomping on the yellow Terrible Towels on the sidelines after the game.

Such a spotlight is something the Titans are not used to -- at least in the beginning of a season. Titans coach Jeff Fisher and his players have used the small-market, no-respect tag as a motivating factor numerous times over the years.

When you finish a league-best 13-3, the dynamics and expectations change, and the Titans are finding that out already with the news of opening the season before the entire league.

"With the news of having primetime kickoff game right from the start, I think everybody is excited around here," defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. "I think it can do a lot for us. We always kind of play the card that we don't get a lot of respect. We usually have to get off to a fast start for people even start talking about us. But we'll get plenty of attention that first game with the spotlight that it brings to this organization."

Of course, getting to open the season against the Steelers might be just a bit of redemption for the Titans, who last season blew the AFC's No. 1 seed by losing to Baltimore in the divisional playoffs. The Titans then watched the Steelers, whom they had dominated in the regular season, go on and win Super Bowl XLIII.

Not surprisingly, that redemption and the thought of unfinished business are a theme of the off-season program that began last week.

Cortland Finnegan had a dream season individually in 2008, earning Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors and signing a four-year, $17 million extension. But, he said the focus won't be on any of those sorts of things this season.

"It's the same every year. If you don't win the Super Bowl, you haven't done the ultimate team goal," Finnegan said. "You have to love this game to play it right, and if you love it, you should come back wanting to get better.

"You want to get better and be a solid foundation for your team. Accolades are great, but at the end of the day, it's truly all about the Super Bowl."

Appropriately enough for the Titans, that road starts in Pittsburgh on Sept. 10.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 27, 2009

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Chris Henry Name: Chris Henry
Position: RB
Age: 23
Experience: 2 years
College: Arizona
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