Bolts Notebook: Tussle with Titans

The Chargers look to improve to 2-0 on the road as they tackle the Titans in Week 3. And even though these teams are not in the same division, they are more than familiar with one another. Check out these key game elements to watch as the Chargers look to keep pace in the suddenly impressive AFC West.

The Dirty South

Dwight Freeney and Derek Cox are familiar with Sunday's foe from their time in the AFC South -- Freeney with the Colts and Cox with the Jaguars. The Chargers are hoping they turn that familiarity into productivity. Freeney has a half-sack and a pass breakup thus far, but has yet to get the game-changing sack-strip for which he is famous. Cox has one pass defended but has yet to intercept a pass after picking off four of them in 12 games last season in Jacksonville.

Ready to Run

It will be interesting to see how Mike McCoy divvies up carries after Ryan Mathews' latest fumble in Week 2. McCoy did not bench Mathews as Norv Turner was prone to, but Danny Woodhead got more second-half carries than Mathews (seven to five). Ronnie Brown, who played more snaps than Mathews in the season-opener, may see a bigger role against Tennessee.

Speaking of backup running backs, San Diego will get another look at last year's backup, Jackie Battle. He is now the No. 3 halfback in Tennessee, although he will be the top backup Sunday because Schonn Green is out with a knee injury. Battle is averaging 2.4 yard per carry, which is down from last season's 3.3 ypc.

Injury Update

Malcom Floyd (neck) missed practice all week and will not play on Sunday. He is still in a neck brace and no firm timetable has been set for his return. Manti Te'o, who returned to practice this week on a limited basis, is listed as doubtful and will not play -- he will be replaced by Reggie Walker for the second consecutive week.

D.J. Fluker suffered a concussion in practice this week and did not work Thursday or Friday. He is questionable but the team is preparing Mike Harris to start in his place. If Fluker is down, it should mean Johnnie Troutman is active for the first time. In a pinch, San Diego can shift Jeromey Clary to tackle and insert Troutman at guard. The team's only other backup lineman is guard/center Rich Ohrnberger.

Two starters listed as questionable -- Donald Butler (groin) and Shareece Wright (hamstring) -- are listed as questionable but expected to start.

AFC Best?

The AFC West, considered by many experts to be the weakest division in football, is working hard to dispel that notion. After the Chiefs beat the Eagles on Thursday night, the AFC West's cumulative record is now 7-2. Kansas City (3-0) and Denver (2-0) have yet to taste defeat, putting more pressure on San Diego to keep winning. It is not like the Chargers can take matters into their own hands, either -- the Bolts do not play the Broncos until Week 10 or the Chiefs till Week 12.

No team in the division has a losing record -- but that could change on Monday, when the 1-1 Raiders travel to the Mile High City to face the Broncos.

Who will win Sunday's Chargers-Titans game? Discuss in the message boards.

Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 16 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.

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