NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — It's only fitting that Charlie Whitehurst is the Titans starting quarterback again. They haven't won since he started against Jacksonville on Oct. 12, and that's the opponent again coming up Thursday night.
So for this game between a pair of 2-12 teams fighting for draft position, Whitehurst believes he has a simple formula to help the Titans to victory.
Relax and have fun.
"We don't really have a lot to lose," Whitehurst said Tuesday. "That's kind of our mindset. We're going to go out there, be confident, let it all hang out and try and get a win."
The career backup who signed with the Titans this offseason already has set career highs by completing 69 of 122 for 967 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. He has played in five games and will make his fourth start Thursday night in a big turnaround for a quarterback who had gone two years without throwing a regular-season pass heading into this season.
"The game is really fun for me, and it's become more fun," Whitehurst said. "Earlier in my career, I was probably more stressed out about stuff. 'Oh, gosh, I've got to do this, do that.' But I try to have fun, because there's times in my career in college and in the pros that it wasn't as fun as it should be. Now, I prepare myself. I go out there and I try to have fun."
Whitehurst went from his last start against the Washington Redskins on Oct. 19 to being inactive until Zach Mettenberger sprained his right shoulder Dec. 7. Jake Locker was placed on injured reserve Monday after separating his left, non-throwing shoulder. Whitehurst relishes the chance to play whenever the opportunity arises, even as the Titans' season has come apart.
He said the circumstances aren't great, and he knew he was coming to Tennessee as a backup.
"There's no substitute for playing," Whitehurst said. "You get to play, you get to play in the NFL. It's been pretty awesome for me personally, but there's been a lot of anguish and a lot of heartache. I've been a part of some of these losses, and that's been tough. You definitely feel more a part of the team and I hope to go out and help us get a win."
He has the trust of Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt, who helped to bring Whitehurst to Tennessee when hired in January.
"I feel good about Charlie and what he's done. He's played well for us when he's had to go in there," Whisenhunt said. "He made some plays for us and made some good throws. He started against Jacksonville the last time and played a pretty good game, so I certainly feel comfortable with him."
NOTES: The Titans were without RB Dexter McCluster (knee), LT Taylor Lewan (left ankle) and Mettenberger (shoulder) in practice Tuesday. TE Delanie Walker (knee), WR Kendall Wright (right hand), LB Kamerion Wimbley (left hamstring), LB Zaviar Gooden (hamstring), RT Byron Stingily (ankle) all were limited. S Daimion Stafford (concussion) practiced fully.
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