McCarthy, Fokou fighting for spots

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Colin McCarthy has started 19 games in three seasons for the Tennessee Titans. He was a defensive captain in 2012. Moise Fokou started 12 games for Tennessee in 2013.

Now in Ray Horton's new 3-4 defense, the middle linebackers turned inside linebackers are battling for roster spots. Neither has worked with the first team. McCarthy has been a second-teamer or worse, and Fokou often has been with the third team.

The team listed Fokou as the backup to Wesley Woodyard on its unofficial depth chart, with McCarthy behind him.

"It humbles you," McCarthy told John Glennon of The Tennessean. "I got an opportunity my first year, my second year, to play a lot. But now, I have the opportunity to battle back and try and get on the field. The opportunity to compete brings the best out of you as a player and as a person, though. I'm excited about a fresh start. I'm just going to work hard and do the best I can."

“They’re doing a good a job out here, the real test for them is two-fold, I believe," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "One is the preseason games, two is special teams and showing up in those areas. They are veteran players that have played, that have done things for this football team. We get the chance to let that sort itself out.

Is it hard for guys who’ve been starters to be in a situation where they aren’t getting snaps high on the depth chart now?

“I know it was painful for me to do that as a player, but that’s this job,” Whisenhunt said. “With changes, I think the big things with players that have had a long career are the ones that understand their role and are efficient in their role."