It may seem like just another week on the schedule to the average fan but “Steeler Week” inside the walls at the Titans facility is far from ordinary.
These two teams kicked off the NFL season last year on Thursday night in Pittsburgh, as the Titans fell in overtime 13-10.
“We obviously didn’t play as well as we’re capable of playing in the opener and certainly not good enough to win last year,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.
Fisher understands the tradition and the rivalry of this game and said that it will feel different once they start game planning.
“I think by the end of the week the players will understand the significance of it. We have some former Steelers on the roster that it’s going to be a big week for, and we’ll get our point across.”
One of those players is WR Nate Washington. He happened to lead the team on Sunday with three receptions for 88 yards, including a 56-yd touchdown catch from Vince Young, on a play-action fake to Chris Johnson. That catch was longer than any reception he had in the ’09 season.
Washington came over to the Titans in March of 2009, after signing a 6-year, $27 million deal. He said he’s not too far removed from his former team, where he collected two Super Bowl rings.
“It’s still the same coaching staff”, Washington said. “I know their schemes and their personalities and how they’re thinking. They still do some of the same things, and I’m going to be able to help out.”
While Washington said that he didn’t know exactly which plays that Bruce Arians [Steelers offensive coordinator], would be calling, he knows what type of position he likes to be in.
Like Pittsburgh having its starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the lineup on Sunday. But that’s not happening.
Roethlisberger was suspended in April of this year, by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, for six games without pay for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. Since then, he has had it reduced to four games.
Washington did not waffle on whether not having Big Ben under center would help the Titans out in the week 2 matchup.
“It is going to be an advantage. It would be for any team. He’s their leader. He led them to 2 Super Bowls and is an outstanding player. We have to take advantage of Roethlisberger not being in the huddle,” he said.
Even with Dennis Dixon as the starting QB on Sunday, one thing is for certain, “Steeler Week” is always a big deal to Fisher and the Tennessee Titans.