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Notebook: Potential 1-on-1 opportunities excite Burress

Jerry DiPaola

Wide receiver Plaxico Burress said the Tennessee Titans’ run defense will force the Steelers to try to find alternate ways of moving the football on first and second downs.

“Their defense depends on their front four rush, and they have four good guys who can penetrate,” Burress said. “They get good penetration in the backfield and that kind of just throws the whole running game off.

“On first and second downs, they like to walk that safety down and put eight guys in the box. Somehow, we have to find a way to get out of those runs and throw passes.”

But if the safety is looking for a run, that will match Burress one on one with the cornerbacks. It’s a coverage he said he eagerly awaits.

“Always,” he said.

INJURY REPORT

Running back Verron Haynes (knee) and center Jeff Hartings (ankle) returned to practice yesterday, but Haynes remains questionable on the injury list. Hartings is probable. Tight end Jay Riemersma missed practice with chest and Achilles injuries, but he is probable.

Haynes, who missed the game last week in Cincinnati, said he feels ready to return Sunday.

“But it’s not up to me,” he said. “It felt pretty good running out there, but ultimately, it comes down to coach (Bill) Cowher. He has the final say-so.”

Haynes has one more day of practice today to convince Cowher that he can play.

It appears that Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (elbow) and tight end Frank Wycheck (concussion) will have a difficult time getting into the starting lineup. Shad Meier would replace Wycheck and James Atkins, who was rap star P. Diddy’s bodyguard, would replace Haynesworth.

MENDING

Linebacker Joey Porter was upset last year when he claimed Titans strength and conditioning coach Steve Watterson threw coffee on him in a game in Nashville. Porter, however, said that Watterson apologized later at the Pro Bowl, where Watterson and the rest of the Titans staff coached the AFC.

“That stuff’s over with,” Porter said. “He apologized and everything is good. You don’t want to hold a grudge forever. You try to let it go, but the bad blood between Pittsburgh and Tennessee is always going to be there. That’s a big game that we want to win.”


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