Rushing yards are a promising sign for Tennessee coach despite one-point loss to Washington Redskins in preseason game.
NFL: Mike Munchak likes the flash he sees in Tennessee Titans
Mike Munchak is encouraged by the early results of his Tennessee Titans players' ability to run the ball.
After talking about wanting to pound opponents for the past few months the Titans ran for 92 yards in the first quarter on Thursday against Washington Redskins and averaged 13.1 yards per carry.
The numbers are helped by Chris Johnson breaking loose on a well-blocked play for a 58-yard touchdown. But free agent signee Shonn Greene added five carries for 32 yards and capped a 61-yard drive with his own 19-yard score.
"That's what we're hoping to be all about, what we'd be able to establish and we did that," Munchak said. "We have to be a team that we're going to do it if it's there. If we think it's there, we're going to run the ball and take over on the line of scrimmage. We may run it 10 times in a row if that's what it takes to win, or we feel we can take a game over."
Tennessee lost Thursday night's pre-season opener 22-21 to Washington, but the Titans were not at full strength, at least with the run game. The right tackle David Stewart rested a sore ankle as he works his way back from the broken right leg that ended his season last December. The rookie right guard Chance Warmack, the No 10 draft selection overall, also made his debut.
The tight end Delanie Walker, one of 17 free agents signed for his skills both at blocking and catching, remains on the physically unable to perform list recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this summer. Munchak said they hope to have Walker available for the third preseason game against Atlanta Falcons on August 24.
Left guard Andy Levitre was the Titans' first free agent signing in March, and he played approximately 14 to 15 plays.
Now Munchak says he is excited and wants to see Warmack and Stewart in a game together after finally getting Levitre and the left tackle Michael Roos together. He saw good run lanes, linemen leading screens and trapping.
"We saw a lot of versatility in what these guys can do this year and with the type of backs we have and a quarterback that is mobile and can take advantage of that play action, we have a lot of things, we feel, that will open up as we get into the season," Munchak said.
Locker was not asked to do much against the Redskins because the run game was working so well. The quarterback was seven of 11 for 58 yards and was sacked twice. The Titans also gave up touchdown drives of 64 yards or longer to three different quarterbacks, so they have plenty to work on before visiting Cincinnati Bengals next Sunday.
But Johnson's touchdown was a perfect example of how well the Titans blocked. The line pushed the Redskins to the right with tight end Craig Stevens making the final block to free Johnson up with only rookie Bacarri Rambo between him and the end zone.
"That was very well blocked and he makes that last guy miss, and that's what you preach," Munchak said. "When you create in the box there's only one guy for him to make miss and he did that. It was very well executed, and we came back on the next drive and did the same thing."
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