NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Coaches and seasons can change. Tension whenever the Tennessee Titans and St. Louis Rams get together doesn't.
These teams had some feisty joint practices back in 2000, months after St. Louis beat the Titans in the Super Bowl, and it didn't take long Wednesday morning for tempers to flare up as they gathered Wednesday in training camp.
St. Louis coach Scott Linehan was watching his defense with rookie end Chris Long going against the Tennessee offense and Vince Young when he heard some of the grumblings two fields over between his offense and the Titans defense.
"We've got to limit that," Linehan said. "We can't get to where we lose our cool out here. It's that time of year. Guys aren't in very good moods out here. We've just got to make sure we continue to get better. It's good to see us compete and those things. We'll get rid of the extracurricular stuff. It wasn't anything big, a couple of little ones."
"We were anticipating it, and we need that as a football team," Rams receiver Torry Holt said. "After a while it kind of got excessive as far as the banging and guys trying us. We needed that. That's something we're trying to build on is our toughness and at the same time build on our mental toughness."
Wednesday's first practice is the only session in full pads. Taking those off could help ease the tension in several sessions before the teams open the exhibition season Saturday night.
The Rams are trying to build off a 3-13 season by working against Tennessee, a team that went 10-6 in the AFC South and made the playoffs in 2007. The Titans had the NFL's fifth-stingiest defense in yards allowed in 2007, so they offer a good early test for a Rams offense that was 24th a year ago, averaging 297.5 yards and without contract holdout Steven Jackson.
The Titans are pushing themselves defensively to improve as well, and All Pro tackle Albert Haynesworth, who stayed out of the frays, said it's easy for something to happen with Tennessee's aggressive style.
"You know this defense. We're a tough, rough defense. We don't back down from anybody, and that's how we've always played," Haynesworth said. "Ever since that day that Lance Schulters gave us that nickname the Tennessee Tyrants, that's what we've been trying to live up to."
Tennessee cornerback Vincent Fuller, the Titans' fifth defensive back in passing situations, gave Brock Berlin a rough morning by picking him off twice. Fuller said he and Berlin know each other from college when Fuller was at Virginia Tech and Berlin in Miami.