Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker has propelled himself directly into the rivalry with the Houston Texans.
This wasn't the only exchange between Jake Locker and Antonio Smith Sunday. Locker took exception to a cheap shot on a teammate and said to after the game.
In the aftermath of Sunday's 24-10 loss to the Texans, Locker made it a point to seek out Houston's Antonio Smith to let him know he didn't appreciate a cheap shot on Titans center Fernando Velasco on Darryl Sharpton's interception return.
“The little young whippersnapper tried to come and tell an old cat how to play football,” Smith told the Houston Chronicle's website. “He just came up to me. He faked like he was gonna dap me up. And like grabbed my hand and said, ‘I just want to tell you that was a (dirty) block.’ I just told him … are we playing football, or is this something else?”
Nonetheless, Velasco felt Smith had put a cheap shot on him and said so on Monday.
“Absolutely, a cheap shot. It's a situation like that in the ballgame where a guy is taking a knee. It was uncalled for. Hopefully, the league will look at it and do what they have to do and give him a fine later in the week,” Velasco said. “That was cheap. That was dirty. The same guy, Antonio Smith, he called 'Country' (David Stewart) out when we played up in Houston, and for him to go and do something like that.”
Velasco was also glad that his quarterback had his back.
“I appreciate that. That's why we love Jake. Jake is a great guy. He's a warrior. He's a fighter. He's got a lot of heart. I appreciate him going to bat for me,” Velasco said.
Velasco and the line might want to show their appreciation by protecting Locker a little better, rather than allowing six sacks like they did on Sunday.
“The bottom line as an offensive line is you never want to see your quarterback take a beating like that. It's our job as an offensive line, and we take that to heart, not to let your quarterback get hit like that,” Velasco said.
The Titans so-called top playmakers had their struggles in Sunday's loss.
Kenny Britt, Jared Cook and Kendall Wright had their share of drops and caught just 12 of the 30 passes thrown their way Sunday by Locker.
Coach Mike Munchak said the drops are unacceptable.
“Ultimately that's their job. You're a receiver. That's your No.1 job is to concentrate, focus and make the tough catch, many any catch,” Coach Mike Munchak said. “You should make all catches when the ball hits your hands, and they know that. ...You put them in a lot of spots, but it's still not Sunday at noon. You can put them in all the drills you want to do, but ultimately you have to do it under pressure and real pressure is Sunday afternoon at 2:30 or three o'clock when those balls are coming and someone is all over you. You've got to make those catches. That's part of the game that didn't go well.”
Return man Darius Reynaud has had a rough couple of weeks in terms of when to catch the ball and when to let it go.
Reynaud was guilty of fielding a punt at the 5-yard line on Sunday, and admitted he didn't really know where he was on the field when he fielded the punt. Reynaud also said that special teams coach Alan Lowry had instructed him to take the touchback deep in the end zone after he ill-advisedly ran out a couple of kickoffs last week against Jacksonville.
“These last couple of weeks, he's been telling me no matter if I do have a good angle on the ball just to stay in there,” Reynaud said. “This week on punt returns, the guy was giving us some good hang times and it was just some bad judgments. I didn't know where I was. I was thinking I was on the 10 and then sometimes when I take my steps up, and it just hung in the air so long I forgot where I was at. I did make some bad choices on a couple of them.”
The Titans have lost tackle David Stewart for the season with a broken right leg and might not have Steve Hutchinson this week as they are awaiting results of an MRI on the guard's right knee.
Also, safety Robert Johnson's season is likely over with torn ligaments in his foot.
Coach Mike Munchak said the Titans would look for roster replacements for both Stewart and Johnson soon.
Receiver Damian Williams' hamstring was less sore on Monday, but he still is uncertain for this week.
Kamerion Wimbley was walking around OK Monday, but his injured toe is still being evaluated.
Tackle Michael Roos may be limited in practice, but should play Sunday with a sore knee.
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