Updated Oct. 21
I love telling my favorite Jeff Fisher story, and actually might have mentioned it here already, but it certainly applies now.
A few years back, I was sitting at a table at the league meetings with some other writers and Fisher, the Tennessee Titans' feisty head coach. The conversation turned to Fisher's passion for running the football. I, being the pass-happy guy I am, questioned the run-first mantra.
"If it's such a great philosophy, what do you do when you get a holding penalty that puts you in second-and-17?" I asked Fisher.
"Run it harder," Fisher said.
So his team does. Fisher's way is to pound the football, play a physical brand of defense and make your team leave each Sunday feeling as if it were beaten up by the big, bad bully.
Leave the fancy stuff for the other guys.
You could almost sense the glee in Fisher's voice Sunday when his team ran for a franchise-record 332 yards in the Titans' 34-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. Tennessee quarterback Kerry Collins threw just 18 passes, only two to wide receivers, as the Titans went to 6-0, the last remaining unbeaten team in the league.
That 6-0 start has the Titans staying atop the CBSSports.com Power Rankings, but the next month will test them. They play Monday at home against division rival Indianapolis, play host to the Green Bay Packers and then have a road game at Chicago before closing out the four-game stretch at Jacksonville.
The skeptics will say the Titans have feasted on weak competition so far, since none of the teams they have defeated has a winning record and they have a combined 12-26 mark.
Nobody will argue about the way they've achieved their success. The numbers don't lie.
The Titans are fourth in the league in rushing with 154.5 yards per game, but just 26th in passing. They are second in rushing attempts per game with 34.3, while their 25.8 passing attempts a game is the lowest in the league.
Can the Titans run the table in the regular season?
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In order to play that style, a team must have a dominant defense. The Titans do. They are first in points per game at 11 and third in total defense.
That type of defense can hide the fact the Titans don't throw it all that well. But the margin for error with their style is small. At some point, the Titans and Collins will have to throw it better.
If they can't, who knows what will happen?
Then again, Jeff Fisher just might make them run it harder and it won't matter.
The Power Rankings through Week 7: