Two long-time Tennessee Titans stalwarts found themselves to be healthy scratches on Sunday.
Tight end Bo Scaife was declared inactive for Tennessee’s 31-17 victory over the Houston Texans, as was veteran defensive back Vincent Fuller.
Titans DB Vincent Fuller.
Instead, youngsters like Kevin Matthews, Pete Ittersagen, Malcolm Sheppard and Hall Davis were up and active for the Titans on Sunday.
Scaife departed the locker room without before it was open to the media, but several teammates expressed surprise that he was declared inactive.
“Bo loves football. He puts his heart and soul into it. I didn’t really talk about it with him a whole lot, but I’m sure he is disappointed,” backup quarterback Chris Simms.
Earlier in the week, Scaife was quoted in a report as saying the Titans locker room was somewhat divided over the Vince Young issue. Simms wouldn’t speculate as to whether that might have played a role in the decision to sit Scaife.
“I don’t know. That’s for Coach (Jeff) Fisher to say. I’m just here playing backup quarterback. I don’t know what the meaning was behind it,” he said.
Fisher said it was a numbers game that caused Scaife and Fuller to sit.
“We absolutely had to come into this game with eight defensive linemen because of the injuries, and that was the logical place to go,” Fisher said. “I don’t expect him to be happy with it at all. That’s kind of hard, the same thing with Vinnie, but it’s just the way the roster has gone.”
Jared Cook, who has had only a small role for much of the season, was the recipient of the added playing time Sunday. He had three catches for 42 yards.
“When we got here today, they told me he was down. I had prepared all week and was ready, so I just stepped in,” Cook said.
Scaife apparently didn't find out quite as quickly.
"That was a coach’s decision. I saw him getting dressed, but they decided to put him down," fullback Ahmard Hall said.
The moves did catch many players off guard.
“I was surprised, but we have had so many distractions that when you see something like that, you can’t really lock in on it,” receiver Nate Washington said. “It was a surprise to us, but at the same time, we had to move on. We had to come out and do our job today, and that’s what we did.”
As for Fuller, who lost his long-time nickelback job a few weeks ago, the move to inactive was another blow for him.
“It’s surprising, but what can you do? You just worry about what you can control, and that’s what I’ve done so far this season,” Fuller said. “In my mind, I’m comfortable with what I bring to the team and how I can play football. So I’m never going to lose confidence in myself.”
Safety Michael Griffin was shocked that Fuller, the only backup at free safety was not active on Sunday.
“I think if I was to go down, the question would be, ‘Who knows the free safety position?’ We were fortunate to leave this game with no injuries,” Griffin said.
Fuller said he has spoken to the coaches about his situation, but preferred to keep what was said confidential.
“It’s disappointing when you can’t play, but you can’t do anything. It’s out of your control. The decision has been made, and whether you like it or not, you’ve got to roll with it,” he said.
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