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Cowboys Not Worried About Titans' Reputation for Dirty Play

Oct 8, 2010 – 12:23 PM
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David Elfin

David Elfin %BloggerTitle%

Tennessee comes to Dallas on Sunday, but the big stories aren't only the return of former Texas star quarterback Vince Young to the Lone Star State or whether the Cowboys can keep Chris Johnson corralled in their first matchup with the 2,000-yard rusher. There's also the fuss over whether the Titans are a dirty team.

Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan has been fined $5,000 by the NFL for a third straight game, this time for apparently punching Chris Kuper when the Broncos guard's helmet was off during last week's game. The incident prompted Denver quarterback Kyle Orton to call the Titans, particularly Finnegan, "cheap." Broncos coach Josh McDaniels said that he supported his quarterback's comments.

According to STATS LLC, Tennessee leads the league with 37 penalties for 344 yards. Nine of those penalties hae been personal fouls, 50 percent more than runner-up St. Louis.

"You don't hear comments out of teams that are familiar with us," said Titans 16th-year coach Jeff Fisher, a disciple of super-aggressive former coach Buddy Ryan. "We're going to play hard, and if someone doesn't like the way we play, then so be it."

Unlike former offensive coordinator McDaniels, Cowboys coach Wade Phillips is a former defensive coordinator and doesn't have a problem with the methods of Fisher or Titans defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil, a much-fined safety during his playing days.

"I don't see them as cheap at all," said Phillips, for whom Fisher worked in Philadelphia in 1986-87 when Ryan was the head coach "They play hard. I disagree with whatever Denver said. I coached with Jeff Fisher and I know how he coaches and what kind of guy he is. I know what he is telling his players. I see a really hard-working team that gets after you on defense, but that's what defense is all about."

Dallas quarterback Tony Romo said, "I don't know that it's anything cheap; so it's just speculation until I see anything.".

Cowboys Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten, who saw stars after being knocked woozy by the Bears in Week 2, isn't fazed by facing the Titans.

"They rally to the ball," Witten said. "Effort and motor, that's what they pride themselves in doing. When you watch them on film, it kind of jumps out at you. I don't know that you look at it that it's cheap or anything like that. They just play hard and so you have to match that intensity."
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