NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans may have to test their luck at quarterback roulette, something the Philadelphia Eagles have had success with so far.
The Eagles expect to see Vince Young, though his sprained left knee and ankle may mean backup Kerry Collins will start Sunday for the first time in a year.
The Titans plan to be ready for Michael Vick, even though Philadelphia coach Andy Reid has tabbed Kevin Kolb as his starter for the Eagles’ visit to Tennessee.
“Just because Kolb is starting doesn’t mean Mike’s not going to play,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. “We’re going to prepare for him.”
It what comes with having two good quarterbacks.
I know Jeff would ditto this with his situation,” Reid said. “Both of (us) are very fortunate to have two quarterbacks that we feel very good about. In this league, that’s not the way it is everywhere.”
Who winds up under center is just part of the drama around this NFC-AFC showdown between teams tied atop their respective divisions.
Philadelphia (4-2) shares the NFC East lead with the New York Giants having won two straight including a 31-17 win over Atlanta. The Titans (4-2) also have won two straight with Monday night’s 30-3 rout of Jacksonville keeping them in a three-way tie atop the AFC South.
Tennessee hasn’t lost to an NFC team since October 2007 with an NFL-best 11 straight wins, and the Titans already have beaten the Eagles’ NFC East rivals with wins on the road in New York and Dallas. The Titans are back home where they have lost their last two, but they haven’t lost three in a row at LP Field since 2005.
“We have to go into (the Titans’) house and try and bring a road mentality, and that’s our focus this week,” Kolb said. “We know that it’s going to be another big task for us, but we feel like we’re ready for it and we’re looking forward to the challenge.
Vick replaced Kolb when he got a concussion in the opener and Vick started three straight games before he hurt his rib cartilage against Washington. Now Kolb is preparing to make his third straight start with Vick just ahead of Kolb as the NFC’s top rated passer. Vick’s return to practice, even in a limited fashion, is why the Titans are preparing for him too.
Kolb, the NFC offensive player of the week after throwing for 326 yards against Atlanta, said he’s focused only on trying to win the next game and not on how this competition with Vick the rest of this season affects his career.
“You are fighting for the top spot and we have a tough game with the Titans this week, so there is no looking forward,” Kolb said.
Young is 12-4 since replacing Collins as the starter a year ago. Fisher pulled Young after three turnovers in a Week 2 loss to Pittsburgh, and Collins replaced Young in Jacksonville after the quarterback was taken down after recovering a fumble with his left leg twisted underneath him. Young thought initially his season might be over.
Fisher needs to see Young prove he can run but said the quarterback but could play without practicing.
“He wants to get back as quick as he can,” Fisher said.
Collins banged the middle finger of his right, throwing hand. If needed, the 16-year veteran is ready to play, and his experience is why the Titans kept him around this season at a price tag of $5.5 million.
“He’s at the age where he is ready to come off the bench and play without much practice time,” Fisher said. “One would assume if he gets more practice time this week, it will just help him to be more effective.”
The Eagles won’t have receiver DeSean Jackson as he recovers from a concussion after the hit that cost Dunta Robinson $50,000. Left tackle Jason Peters also may miss a second straight game with his sprained knee.
The Titans lead the NFL with 24 sacks, and they also have six interceptions in the past two games. Helping Tennessee are defensive end Jason Babin and linebacker Will Witherspoon who played in Philadelphia last season. Babin has gone from playing a handful of snaps per game to starting and has a career-high six sacks.
“There’s a few little tendencies I got in my pocket,” Babin said of Kolb and Vick. “Of course I shared with the defensive line and things we might be able to capitalize on. We’ll see if they help us on Sunday or not.”
The Eagles have won their first three road games this season, but this will be their first look in person at Titans running back Chris Johnson. He has run for 100 yards or more in seven straight games against the NFC and currently ranks second in the NFL with 596 yards rushing.
Reid met with Johnson before the 2008 draft and got to see him up close at the Pro Bowl.
“So we’re very aware of his speed,” Reid said. “Being aware of his speed and stopping his, that’s two different things. He is if not the fastest, one of the fastest players on the field, so you have to make sure you’re sharp with your angles.”
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