NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans just wrapped up practice on Tuesday at Saint Thomas Sports Park.On Saturday, the team will face the New England Patriots in the playoffs, at Gillette Stadium.
Three quick hits:
Slowing down GronkThe Titans just faced one Pro Bowl tight end in Kansas City’s Travis Kelce.
Next up is New England’s Rob Gronkowski, who is a bigger load, and considered one of the best ever at his position.
“I think Kelce is a little more finesse than Gronk,” Titans safety Kevin Byard said. “Gronk, just watching him on film, he is definitely physical. He likes to mix it up in the run game as well. But he is definitely physical.”
Gronkowski leads the Patriots with 69 catches for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns. He averaged a whopping 15.7 yards per catch during the regular season.
The Titans had some issues with Kelce before he left the game with a concussion.
Coach Mike Mularkey knows the Titans will have their hands full with Gronkowski.
“He is just another one that you have to be aware of where he’s at,” Mularkey said. “He’s tough to cover. Everybody tries to stop these guys, and it’s a chore to try and do that. He is a little more involved in the run game – this is a guy that can block the point like a point of attack tight and then beat you down the middle just as easy.
“So he is a dual threat, and a tough guy to cover.”
Underdog statusThe Titans are a decided underdog against the Patriots, who finished 13-3, and as the AFC’s No.1-seeded team. But no one at Saint Thomas Sports Park is paying much attention to that fact.
And hard as that might be.
“With social media nowadays, you don’t really have an option but to see what people say,” Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan said. “So as much as I don’t pay attention to it, it is in my face. … I know people are counting us out. But I think this is the kind of team people make movies about.
“… People are going to put odds on us, but I don’t give two &%!$ one way or other. My focus is to be the best left tackle I can be and if I do my job and 10 other guys do their job, then there won’t be a line to worry about.”
Mularkey said the Titans are a confident bunch.
“You know what? I don’t care who they are, or what they think, and I never will. And that’s won’t matter,” Mularkey said of the underdog status, and oddsmakers. “It didn’t matter last week.”
Running back DeMarco Murray (knee) did not practice on Tuesday, and Mularkey called him “day to day.” Mularkey said Murray has shown improvement, and he still hasn’t been ruled out for Saturday’s game.
“Holding out hope for him,” Mularkey said of Murray.