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Titans say 'soap opera' not reason for slide

The Tennessee Titans were again exposed Sunday for the struggling football team they are right now.

Vince Young's up-and-down season couldn't be blamed for Sunday's loss.

Each week during Tennessee's five-game losing streak, some sort of issue or sideshow had always cropped up to remove the focus completely from the on-field woes.

Be it the Vince Young injuries and dedication questions, or Young's tirade against coach Jeff Fisher in the aftermath of the loss to Washington; the arrival and lack of use of receiver Randy Moss, or last week's fight between Cortland Finnegan and Andre Johnson.

But in Sunday's 17-6 home loss to Jacksonville, there was nothing but bad football in plain sight for all to see.

The Titans have established themselves by now as an also-ran, even in a mediocre AFC South where the Jaguars' 7-5 record now leads the pack.

But for a team that began the year 5-2, the question has to be asked: Have all the distractions of the past several weeks sapped the life out of this football team?

Daily soap operas around the league in Dallas, Minnesota, Washington and Cincinnati have helped seal the fates of those teams this season. So why not the Titans?

“That would be the easy road out. I don't think so,” Finnegan said. “Just every game poses a different challenge, and unfortunately, you make enough mistakes, and you can't win football games.”

Quarterback Kerry Collins didn't buy into the thought that the distractions had divided the team or caused it to lose its focus either.

“Those things to me go on during the week,” Collins said. “On Sunday, you have got to be able to focus. That is just part of it. That happens all over the NFL. I don't sense that from our team. I sense that guys are focusing into it. We just have got to make more plays.”

Added defensive end Jacob Ford, “I think we have a pretty good locker room, a lot of stand-up guys. I don't think we've let what's happened over the course of the season be a distraction to us. I won't use that as an excuse. You can't.”

Excuse or not. The Titans are at the bottom of the AFC South right now, and something has caused the season to go terribly wrong.

“Anytime you have a bad season, you obviously want to look around and start critiquing yourself and judging yourself," safety Chris Hope said. "Again, it's not like we're not talented or guys aren't playing hard or getting the job done. I just feel like when you play a team sport like football, everything has to click, and it's not doing that right now."

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