NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Linebacker Derrick Morgan missed a second straight day of practice for the Tennessee Titans with his injured left hamstring.
Whether Morgan plays or not Sunday, the Titans know they must do a better job of pressuring Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford than they did against Minnesota journeyman Shaun Hill in the opener.
The Vikings backup quarterback was not sacked by the Titans, who also didn’t force any turnovers. Against the more explosive Lions offense, the Titans must find a way to attack Stafford, who was 31 of 39 for 340 yards with three touchdowns passes in a win at Indianapolis .
“We’ve got to create turnovers,” Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo said. “Last week you saw two great defenses going at it, but what was the difference in the game was turnovers, and we’ve got to do a good job of getting some this week.”
Orakpo not only was held without a sack in the opener, he was not credited with a tackle either.
“Sometimes it’s like that,” Orakpo said. “You play on the edge and it’s like that. You’ve just got to control and play your side. … You’ve got to control your side. Nothing really broke on my side. It is what it is. Sometimes it’s like that.”
Titans coach Mike Mularkey said getting turnovers and sacks have to be a priority for the defense.
“For the most part in the history of the NFL, turnovers dictate the outcome of games,” Mularkey said. “Sacks are right behind turnovers. If you want to look at teams that get sacks and don’t, you’ll look at the win-loss column. That ratio is definitely a factor in the outcome of the game.”
A point the Titans know firsthand.
Tennessee had three second-half turnovers against the Vikings and lost a 10-0 lead.
Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said the Titans were getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback early.
“The biggest thing was we didn’t turn the ball over” for our offense, LeBeau said. “We got a couple where we almost had the ball out. But almost doesn’t count unless you’re pitching horseshoes. We want to do better in that area.”
Doing better might prove difficult if Morgan is limited or doesn’t play Sunday, though the Titans believe they are better equipped to handle his absence now than when he missed six games last year with a shoulder injury. They drafted Kevin Dodd with the No. 33 pick overall out of Clemson with David Bass likely to start at outside linebacker if Morgan is out.
“One of the things we’ve been very encouraged about this year’s defense is I think we have more depth, particularly in that position” LeBeau said. “David Bass had a lot of snaps last year filling in for Derrick and did a great job for us really. I feel really good about his ability to go in there and perform at an NFL level.
“We have a couple of draft choices (Kevin Dodd and Aaron Wallace) that we feel good about that are making great progress.”
Note: WR Kendall Wright was limited again to individual work with his injured left hamstring.