Titans-Rams joint practices start with skirmish
These teams had some feisty joint practices back in 2000, months after the Rams beat the Titans in the Super Bowl, and it didn't take long Wednesday morning for tempers to flare up as they gathered Wednesday in training camp.
St. Louis coach Scott Linehan was watching his defense with rookie end Chris Long going against the Tennessee offense and Vince Young when he heard some of the grumblings two fields over between his offense and the Titans defense.
"We've got to limit that," Linehan said. "We can't get to where we lose our cool out here. It's that time of year. Guys aren't in very good moods out here. We've just got to make sure we continue to get better. It's good to see us compete and those things. We'll get rid of the extracurricular stuff. It wasn't anything big, a couple of little ones."
"We were anticipating it, and we need that as a football team," Rams receiver Torry Holt said. "After a while it kind of got excessive as far as the banging and guys trying us. We needed that. That's something we're trying to build on is our toughness and at the same time build on our mental toughness."
Wednesday's first practice is the only session in full pads. Taking those off could help ease the tension in several sessions before the teams open the exhibition season Saturday night.
The Rams are trying to build off a 3-13 season by working against Tennessee, a team that went 10-6 in the AFC South and made the playoffs in 2007. The Titans had the NFL's fifth-stingiest defense in yards allowed in 2007, so they offer a good early test for a Rams offense that was 24th a year ago, averaging 297.5 yards and without contract holdout Steven Jackson.
The Titans are pushing themselves defensively to improve as well, and All-Pro tackle Albert Haynesworth, who stayed out of the frays, said it's easy for something to happen with Tennessee's aggressive style.
"You know this defense. We're a tough, rough defense. We don't back down from anybody, and that's how we've always played," Haynesworth said. "Ever since that day that Lance Schulters gave us that nickname the Tennessee Tyrants, that's what we've been trying to live up to."
Tennessee cornerback Vincent Fuller, the Titans' fifth defensive back in passing situations, gave Brock Berlin a rough morning by picking him off twice. Fuller said he and Berlin know each other from college when Fuller was at Virginia Tech and Berlin in Miami.
Holt wasn't too surprised by what Fuller did after watching him on film.
"He's definitely a guy we've got to pay attention to the next two days," Holt said.
The Rams had the last say with Caldwell catching a short pass from Marc Bulger and faking to his left before running past Finnegan into the end zone.
But the action was so hot on the other field for a bit that even Tennessee tight end Alge Crumpler wished he wasn't tied up two fields over.
"Man, I wanted to watch the other field. I wanted to go over there so bad," Crumpler said.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Rodgers still not ready to return for Packers
- Welker likely out until playoffs, sources say
- Vikes' Peterson 'ready to roll' vs. Bengals
- Bears' Briggs medically cleared to return
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
TRAINING CAMP 2008
Commentary/featuresWarner proves he has future
The Cardinals gave Kurt Warner the chance to compete with Matt Leinart for the starting spot, and the 37-year-old quarterback made the most of the opportunity. John Clayton
Pennington's learning curve
It seemed the Jets could not help Chad Pennington pack his bags fast enough. Now the most experienced QB on the Dolphins, he's relishing the chance to excel again.
• Kreidler: Future still promising for 49ers' Smith
• Clayton: Injuries impact preseason
• Seifert: A new approach in Detroit
• Smith: Favre drama a reality check for McNabb
• Kuharsky: Titans focused on defense
• Sando: Running key for Holmgren's swan song
• Mosley: Giants hope history teaches well
• Garber: Coughlin distances from SB win
• Williamson: Chiefs engergized by youth
• Chadiha: O-line might hold real keys for Jets
• Wickersham: Three tips for Favre
• Mosley: Giants done with celebrating
• Naylor: Canadian divide on NFL invasion
• Graham: Sleeper Bills | Blog: Yo, Canada
• Seifert: For a change, no distractions for Vikes
• Mosley: McNabb confident Eagles among elite
• Kuharsky: Garrard taking control
• Mosley: Eagles poised to return to prominence
• Clayton: Young on his way to elite status
• Kuharsky: Garrard ready to lead Jags
• Chadiha: Delhomme determined to seize moment
• Yasinskas: Smith's approach suits Falcons
• Mosley: Zorn's coaching desire finally fulfilled
• Williamson: Young Raiders share Kiffin's hunger
• Graham: Jets wiping slate clean
• Chadiha: Turner ready to lead Falcons
• Clayton: Vikings firmly in Jackson's corner
• Walker: Tough schedule awaits Steelers in 2008
• Mosley: Favre is QB turned ringmaster
• Clayton: 5 reasons Favre would start for Pack
• Graham: Patriots not dwelling on past
• Sando: Rams optimistic despite questions
• Williamson: Shanahan points to playoffs
• Walker: Bengals look to move past chaos
• Yasinskas: Delhomme, Peppers must step up
NFL blog network• NFL Nation blog
• AFC: North | South | East | West
• NFC: North | South | East | West
• Contact our bloggers
Camp Confidential training camp tourA breakdown of our annual camp tour:
• Wednesday, July 30: Chargers, Cowboys
• Thursday, July 31: Texans, 49ers
• Friday, Aug. 1: Patriots
• Saturday, Aug. 2: Bengals, Panthers
• Sunday, Aug. 3: Broncos
• Monday, Aug. 4: Rams
• Tuesday, Aug. 5: Steelers
• Wednesday, Aug. 6: Jets
• Thursday, Aug. 7: Raiders | Redskins
• Friday, Aug. 8: Falcons
• Saturday, Aug. 9: Jaguars
• Tuesday, Aug. 12: Eagles | Vikings
• Wednesday, Aug. 13: Bills
• Thursday, Aug. 14: Chiefs
• Friday, Aug. 15: Giants | Seahawks
• Saturday, Aug. 16: Bucs | Lions
• Sunday, Aug. 17: Browns
• Monday, Aug. 18: Titans
Video• NFL Insiders on Bills, Broncos, more
• Rachel Nichols on Favre, Jets
• NFL Live dissects ESPN.com power rankings
Audio• Podcast: Biggest questions
Scouts Inc.• Camp outlook: AFC Q&A on X's and O's
• Camp outlook: NFC Q&A on X's and O's
• Notable quarterback battles
- Photo File St. Louis Rams Team Logo Framed Photo