NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans coach Mike Mularkey will have the chance Sunday to see something for the first time since he took over this team last November: Starting cornerbacks — Jason McCourty and Perrish Cox — playing together.
“We laughed about that in the preseason,” McCourty said Thursday. “He ended up rolling his ankle the day before the first one. I think last year we played one full game together against Buffalo.
“It’s exciting to be at full strength. For us, we’re missing only (receiver) Kendall (Wright) out there. Just to be relatively extremely healthy going into the first game is exciting.”
An injured groin limited McCourty to four games before being placed on injured reserve last season. Cox, a free agent signee from San Francisco, hurt a hamstring the week after that Buffalo game last October. When he returned, McCourty was recovering from a second surgery that ended his season. The Titans managed to rank seventh in the NFL allowing only 229.9 yards passing per game but tied for 21st with 11 interceptions.
Cox played in the exhibition finale at Miami, and Mularkey said the cornerback has looked very good.
“He’s running around as well as I’ve seen him run,” Mularkey said. “It’s nice to have those two guys, he and J-Mac, out there together working together.”
The Titans need both their veteran cornerbacks ready to go Sunday when they host the Minnesota Vikings not knowing which quarterback starts. Minnesota lost Teddy Bridgewater to a major knee injury Aug. 30, and the Vikings made a pricey trade to bring in Sam Bradford from Philadelphia on Sept. 3. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer won’t say whether Bradford or veteran Shaun Hill is starting until he has to Sunday.
That’s not stopping the Titans from preparing for both quarterbacks, even as defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau expects Bradford to be tabbed as the starter.
“I’m sure of this,” LeBeau said. “He didn’t spend his last six months looking at us as the opening opponent. We didn’t spend it looking at him. I think that part of it’s going to balance out. I don’t know which quarterback is going to play. I don’t think it’s going to change that much of what they do offensively.”
That’s run Adrian Peterson early and often. But Minnesota also drafted Laquon Treadwell out of Mississippi to go with wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who led NFC rookies with 720 yard receiving last season, and tight end Kyle Rudolph.
The Titans didn’t stay pat this offseason simply waiting for McCourty and Cox to be healthy at the same time. They waived veteran safety Michael Griffin and signed Rashad Johnson from Arizona to take his place and also brought in veterans Brice McCain and Valentino, formerly known as Antwon, Blake after leaning on too many young players in the secondary in recent years.
Cox said he and McCourty being healthy together is something they have been talking about for months.
“Both of us being out there and also the other players we have on the back end, it’s great for all of us,” Cox said.
Notes: Mularkey announced the Titans’ new captains. Players voted Monday, and Mularkey gave them the results after practice Thursday. Marcus Mariota and tight end Delanie Walker are captains on offense joined by defensive tackle Jurrell Casey and linebacker Brian Orakpo on defense with Wesley Woodyard and Daimion Stafford on special teams. … The Titans claimed OL Josh Kline off waivers from New England and waived CB Cody Riggs. Kline has started 18 games, not including three playoff games, after joining the Patriots as an undrafted free agent out of Kent state.
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