Justin Bannan’s most recent memory of the Titans’ LP Field was a happy one.
Two seasons ago, Bannan celebrated a road playoff win as his former squad, the Baltimore Ravens, used a last-minute Matt Stover field goal to advance to the AFC Championship game.
But most visitors have not been so fortunate.
The Titans have won nearly 65 percent of their 90 regular season home games since opening the stadium in 1999. Every game — preseason, regular season and playoff — has been sold out since the Titans moved in, creating one of the league’s top home field advantages.
“It’s a tough place to play,” Bannan said. “Obviously, we have to gear up for a 60-minute game, and I know we are. If we’re going to take it, it’s going to come down to the end.”
It’s also an atmosphere not many Broncos are familiar with. The team has played just once at LP Field — a Christmas night loss to the Titans in 2004. Only Champ Bailey and D.J. Williams remain from the squad that dropped a 37-16 decision that night.
But Head Coach Josh McDaniels said he’s very aware of the test the atmosphere will provide for his offense, in particular.
Last season, visitors to LP Field committed 18 false start penalties — tied for the most in the league with Houston’s Reliant Stadium. During the past three seasons, opposing teams have committed 49 false starts — tied with Minnesota’s Metrodome, where the Broncos visited this preseason, for the NFL’s highest total in that span.
“It is a big home-field advantage,” McDaniels said. “I have been there a few times. It is certainly not easy, but we are looking forward to the challenge.”
Other players who have gotten a taste of the gameday atmosphere include Kevin Vickerson, who played for the Titans from 2007 to 2009, and Britton Colquitt, a Knoxville, Tenn.,-native who first experienced the Titans’ home atmosphere as a fan several years ago.
That day Colquitt’s family made the trip to see then-Titans kicker Gary Anderson, who was a former teammate of his father, Craig. Even though the Titans fell to the Colts in the game, the crowd left an impression on the punter.
“It was a great time,” Colquitt said. “The fans were really into it. They like to pride themselves on helping their team out. That’s one of those things that we have to be prepared for, and I know we will be.”
The Broncos dropped their first road contest of the season at Jacksonville in Week 1 and hope to snap a three-game road losing streak dating back to last season.
With trips to Baltimore, Arizona, each of their AFC West rivals and a neutral site clash with San Francisco in London still coming this season, Bannan said the team has to be ready for different challenges from each road game on the schedule.
The defensive lineman said the Broncos have the focus to handle whatever difficulties the schedulemakers have presented — starting Sunday in Nashville, Tenn.
“I think you just have to block all that out and concentrate on the game,” Bannan said. “If you start thinking or worrying about it, then it’s going to affect you in a weird way — maybe subconsciously. My advice is ‘Who cares? Let’s just go down there and play football.’”
Fullback Spencer Larsen (ankle), running back Knowshon Moreno (hamstring), linebacker Wesley Woodyard (hamstring) and defensive lineman Jamal Williams (non-injury) did not practice on Thursday. Cornerback Andre’ Goodman (quadricep) and offensive lineman Ryan Harris (ankle) were limited during the workout. After missing Wednesday’s practice with an ankle injury, safety Brian Dawkins returned to full participation.
For the Titans, defensive tackle Tony Brown (knee), defensive end Jacob Ford (knee) and cornerback Jason McCourty (forearm) did not practice.
- Eric Detweiler, DenverBroncos.com
Below are some photos from today’s workout: