Cornerback Cortland Finnegan got a couple of fines and a warning. He’s wrestled with the local media. And he has not played as well as he expects.
The biggest factor? Probably the adjustment to playing on the right side, where the cornerback more frequently matches up with the opposition’s top receiver. This year that’s meant the likes of Hines Ward, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Roy Williams and Mike Sims-Walker.
“It’s a huge thing,” Finnegan said. “I’m taking it in stride and I think I am learning on the go. It’s nothing I can’t handle. I welcomed it with open arms and I realized there were going to be some growing pains. But I’ll accept them. That poses why things have been the way they are.”
He’s covered top receivers some in the past, but rarely for an entire game.
Sunday in Miami, the list starts to get tougher with Brandon Marshall.
“He’s elite,” Finnegan said. “I don’t know if you can really say one, two, three. But he’s in that elite category with Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, those guys. He’s a strong, physical guy. He can stretch the field. He can go up and get the football. There isn’t a lot he can’t do.”
Finnegan said he expects Marshall to try to get under his skin. He promised he will do the same. “Fireworks are going to happen early,” Finnegan said.
He's still working, it seems to me, on balancing that feisty edge with going too far for officials. To get where they want to go, Finnegan needs to play to the level of free safety Michael Griffin and rookie corner Alterraun Verner.
The Titans need Finnegan to handle Marshall, and they'll help him. A good game would bode well as there are other tough matchups to come.