Titans change up defense for Peterson

Officially, the Titans are saying a change they made in their defense is to help stop Adrian Peterson. However, it could be a change for the good, according to the linebacker who is being pulled.

Middle linebacker Ryan Fowler said he was caught off guard by the decision Wednesday to remove him from the Titans' starting lineup in favor of Stephen Tulloch.

Fowler, who has been the starter since winning a training camp battle with Tulloch in 2007, handled the situation with class when asked about it Thursday, but was still unable to mask his disappointment in the decision.

"It definitely came as a shock to me. It went from there is no competition, to skip the competition part altogether and to replacing me without any warning," Fowler said.

Tulloch, who was not available for comment Thursday, brings speed, athleticism and a knack for finding the football, but also occasionally had tendencies to get outside of his responsibilities and freelance, causing issues within the scheme.

Fowler, who has 18 tackles, including 11 solo stops, for the NFL's third-ranked defense, said he felt his production was strong enough and that it was something he was monitoring weekly with the Titans coaching staff.

"In the preseason, I was experimenting with a couple of different things, technique-wise," Fowler said. "I was sort of trying to become a little more finesse-y, and they told me they didn't want that. I think their exact words were, ‘Dance with what brought you.' So from that point on, I tried to be more of a downhill, hammer-type player and weekly checked in with them to make sure I was improving on that."

Titans coach Jeff Fisher would only say Thursday that they "like the matchup" with Tulloch against the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday. But Fowler indicated he had been told the move to Tulloch as a starter is a permanent one.

"Yesterday, they just asked me to come into Coach Fisher's office and told me that they were going to go ahead and move Tully up for this week," Fowler said. "That was pretty much it. There wasn't a whole lot of discussion about it. From what I understand it was indefinitely, but they didn't really put a timeframe on it."


Fowler said that while disappointed, he accepts the decision and believes it must have been in the works for a while.

"They mentioned something about production, but from a production standpoint right now, I'm at the top of the leaderboard for linebackers in tackles and I only play about half the plays," Fowler said. "Maybe they meant interceptions or fumbles. But I don't think a couple of coaches or management would make this decision too hastily. They sat down and thought about it, and decided that this is what's best for the team. I can't blame them for doing what they think is best for the team."

  • MLB Stephen Tulloch gives the Titans the chance to have more athleticism and speed at the position than Ryan Fowler offers, but they may have to live with his occasional penchant to freelance or lapse in his responsibilities in the scheme as a trade-off.

    NOTES

  • CB Nick Harper says he will play Sunday against the Vikings after missing Wednesday's practice for a second straight week. The official injury report listed Harper's problem as an ankle, but the cornerback indicated Thursday that a thigh bruise suffered in the fourth quarter against Houston was the reason for the day off Wednesday.

  • RB LenDale White did not finish Thursday's practice because of a shoulder injury that did not appear to be serious. White has been splitting time with rookie Chris Johnson through three games and has been a strong short-yardage back with four touchdowns already.

  • WR Justin McCareins was back practicing at full speed on Thursday after missing Wednesday's practice with a slight groin injury. McCareins is also expected to play against Minnesota.



  • Viking Update Top Stories

    ","mobileBody":" Middle linebacker Ryan Fowler said he was caught off guard by the decision Wednesday to remove him from the Titans' starting lineup in favor of Stephen Tulloch.

    Fowler, who has been the starter since winning a training camp battle with Tulloch in 2007, handled the situation with class when asked about it Thursday, but was still unable to mask his disappointment in the decision.

    \"It definitely came as a shock to me. It went from there is no competition, to skip the competition part altogether and to replacing me without any warning,\" Fowler said.

    Tulloch, who was not available for comment Thursday, brings speed, athleticism and a knack for finding the football, but also occasionally had tendencies to get outside of his responsibilities and freelance, causing issues within the scheme.

    Fowler, who has 18 tackles, including 11 solo stops, for the NFL's third-ranked defense, said he felt his production was strong enough and that it was something he was monitoring weekly with the Titans coaching staff.

    \"In the preseason, I was experimenting with a couple of different things, technique-wise,\" Fowler said. \"I was sort of trying to become a little more finesse-y, and they told me they didn't want that. I think their exact words were, ‘Dance with what brought you.' So from that point on, I tried to be more of a downhill, hammer-type player and weekly checked in with them to make sure I was improving on that.\"

    Titans coach Jeff Fisher would only say Thursday that they \"like the matchup\" with Tulloch against the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday. But Fowler indicated he had been told the move to Tulloch as a starter is a permanent one.

    \"Yesterday, they just asked me to come into Coach Fisher's office and told me that they were going to go ahead and move Tully up for this week,\" Fowler said. \"That was pretty much it. There wasn't a whole lot of discussion about it. From what I understand it was indefinitely, but they didn't really put a timeframe on it.\"


    Fowler said that while disappointed, he accepts the decision and believes it must have been in the works for a while.

    \"They mentioned something about production, but from a production standpoint right now, I'm at the top of the leaderboard for linebackers in tackles and I only play about half the plays,\" Fowler said. \"Maybe they meant interceptions or fumbles. But I don't think a couple of coaches or management would make this decision too hastily. They sat down and thought about it, and decided that this is what's best for the team. I can't blame them for doing what they think is best for the team.\"

  • MLB Stephen Tulloch gives the Titans the chance to have more athleticism and speed at the position than Ryan Fowler offers, but they may have to live with his occasional penchant to freelance or lapse in his responsibilities in the scheme as a trade-off.

    NOTES

  • CB Nick Harper says he will play Sunday against the Vikings after missing Wednesday's practice for a second straight week. The official injury report listed Harper's problem as an ankle, but the cornerback indicated Thursday that a thigh bruise suffered in the fourth quarter against Houston was the reason for the day off Wednesday.

  • RB LenDale White did not finish Thursday's practice because of a shoulder injury that did not appear to be serious. White has been splitting time with rookie Chris Johnson through three games and has been a strong short-yardage back with four touchdowns already.

  • WR Justin McCareins was back practicing at full speed on Thursday after missing Wednesday's practice with a slight groin injury. McCareins is also expected to play against Minnesota.


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