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Coach Fisher's Monday Press Conference

Posted Dec 27, 2010

HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER 

(on if he’s glad the season is almost over)

No, I’m really not.  What we do is we enjoy preparing for games and competing.  We’re going to make the most of this coming week and do the same thing.  It’s hard to come in here on Monday and look at the tape and look at the opportunities we had then obviously you address it with your team, you make the corrections and you move on.  I’ve never looked forward to the end of a season in my career and hopefully I never will.

(on if the Titans might make any position changes for the last game of the season)

Yeah, there is a possibility, but keep in mind those discussions will take place tonight, tomorrow and probably throughout the day.  Without having the opportunities to discuss it with those that might be facing a little less playing time, we’re not going to disclose who it’s going to be.

(on what Justin Gage has done to not be inactive like Vincent Fuller and Bo Scaife)

I think they’ll (Damian Williams and Marc Mariani) have an opportunity.  I don’t know which direction we’ll go with it but I think they’ll have an opportunity to play, but Justin has made a lot of plays for us.

(on if Justin Gage should have caught the fourth down pass)

You know, it’s tough weather, it’s a tough catch but you’d like to see the ball caught, yeah.  We had some great catches, Cookie (Jared Cook) had two really outstanding plays in the game, but body position is just a little awkward, but if you get your hands on the ball you need to make the catch.

(on if you expect players to make catches in bad weather)

Yeah, it’s a little more difficult but you still have to make it, that’s a part of our game.  They (Kansas City) didn’t have any difficulty making catches.

(on why Justin Gage hasn’t been deactivated in favor of getting some younger guys some experience)

Justin had a great touchdown catch for us last week.  A very, very difficult catch in the back of the end zone on fourth-and-one and we went for it, so he’s made some catches for us.

(on if Justin Gage is one of the three best wide receivers on the team right now)

I wouldn’t rank the receivers.

(on if they rate the players on the team behind closed doors)

Yes, we rate our entire roster—yes.

(on if Kerry Collins will start at quarterback against Indianapolis)

Again, we’ll discuss it but as far as the quarterback is concerned Kerry is going to finish.  He deserves the opportunity to play; he played through some difficult situations yesterday.

(on how you weigh getting younger guys experience or trying to win the game)

Well what is most important to this football team is our players and putting players on the field to give us a chance to win.  I’m not too concerned with what else is going on.  We’re not going to go up there with anything less than 100 percent effort trying to win that football game.

(on if this year’s team is accountable)

They take responsibility, they know what happened yesterday.  Yep.  We had a good week of practice and we didn’t carry some things over into the game.  They understand what happened.

(on if he likes for his players to be accountable for mistakes when dealing with the media)

Well I think that depends on how the question is presented to them.

(on how questions about accountability should be presented to the players)

Well Michael (Griffin) should have made the play on third-and-19.  There is no doubt about that.  It was a result of a number of things.  It was a result of poor safety play; it wasn’t Cort’s (Cortland Finnegan) responsibility.  There was also a very unusual thing that happened on this particular play where offensive pass interference could have been called on this play.  (Dexter) McCluster runs into Tully (Stephen Tulloch) as Tully is sliding over to make a play on the ball, and there is contact and Tully can’t get to the ball.  Then Griff’s angle is not good, he should make a play on the ball or certainly make a play on the receiver.

(on if he was satisfied with the effort given by the team in pursuit of Dwayne Bowe on his 75-yard touchdown)

Guys were running full speed, yeah.

(on why things they do in practice aren’t carrying over to the games)

We had a number of things in the ballgame that we rehearsed in practice that we didn’t accomplish in the game.  We had protection issues with the running backs, we had route issues, we had coverage issues and things and whenever you go in and look at a game and you critique it, that’s where you go.  Well, did they do something we didn’t prepare for? No they hadn’t.  We had two guys who were unblocked on a punt rush that need to go make a play, they didn’t make the play.  That’s kind of how the game went.

(on if it is more of a player issue or collective team issue that things aren’t being carried over to the games) 

Well it’s a collective—it’s a team loss.  There are many things that contribute to a loss—mistakes, a penalty here and there, a third-and-11, a third-and-14, a third-and-15, a third-and-19 and two third-and-20’s.  It’s hard to keep drives alive.  Five carries in the second half, it’s hard to get your offense going when you carry the ball five times with a good running back.

(on if mistakes during games are due more to concentration, effort, talent, etc.)

You know, again we addressed it.  We got it corrected.  I highly doubt it’s a lack of concentration because we had a great week of practice.  We practiced with a lot of energy and we got out and just didn’t make plays.  The third-and-19, for example, is really a unique play, it kind of summed up the day and after looking at it, it is more unique than I thought last night.  Then to lose William Hayes, as we talked about and then the coach-to-quarterback, coach-to-defense was out the first series off and on.  It was just a combination of things and we were a little unsettled.  We certainly settled down and played good football at times, but didn’t play good enough to win.

(on what William Hayes was doing when he got hit in the head with a Kerry Collins pass that left him with a concussion)

He was on the bench and, yeah, his head was turned away from the offense.  They were making corrections and he was talking to somebody and the ball hit him right on the side of the head.

(on if the Titans are an undisciplined football team)

I think what you do is you automatically draw a connection between penalties and discipline.  I think you have to be careful with that.  Yes, nobody wants the number of penalties that we had but I can list a number of penalties that should not have been called.  Several penalties yesterday should not have been called.  We overcame some of the penalties.  I guess the three most disappointing penalties, in my estimation, yesterday in the game were those three on special teams.  Where we had a long kickoff return called back because of a hold, we had a 50-yard net punt called back because we went down field early and then we had offsides on onside kick.  Those three penalties were most disappointing in my estimation because they affected field position.

(on if Jason McCourty was clearly offsides on the onside kick)

It’s not clearly, but again it’s one of those things—if you’re going to execute the play, then make sure there is no chance of you being close to being offsides on that type of play.  There are a lot of times where you can call offsides on the kickoff, nearly every play, but in this case you can’t afford that.

(on if there has been a week this year where he thought the team had a bad week of practice)

No, I thought we prepared well all year.

(on the level of leadership on the Titans team)

I have no question about their ability to come back Wednesday, work, prepare and play hard against the Colts.  No question whatsoever about that.

(on Michael Griffin’s statement that after the season he doesn’t think anyone is a lock to return next year)

No, I mean those kind of things come up when you are eliminated officially from the playoffs and you lose a game as decisive as we did.  No, that’s just a natural reaction.

(on if he is disappointed that the Titans did not qualify for the playoffs)

I think my comments will be obvious.  I mean we had high expectations.  We got off to a good start.  We had issues at a number of positions and didn’t win enough games.  So I’m certainly very disappointed.

(on where the issue is if the team is preparing well, why isn’t it carrying over to the games)

Well again, everyone is taking their turns.  We had mistakes last week against Houston.  We had mistakes on defense, mistakes on special teams and mistakes on offense.   That’s where you go to in a loss.  We certainly correct them in the win, but in this particular game the game just did not go well.  We were unsettled, we gave up a couple scores.  We hurt ourselves.  We had a chance at midfield with 38 seconds left to go to pick up, potentially, a field goal and go in 24-10.  We blew a protection, we ran a route incorrectly and we threw an interception for a touchdown.

(on if it’s difficult to get a team motivated to play the spoiler role)

These guys are pros.  They’re going to get up, they’re going to prepare and they’re going to go up there and they’re going to play hard.  They know the kind of challenge that we have.  The Colts have been playing very well the last three of weeks.  Peyton (Manning) put a great game together yesterday and their defense hung on and they made the plays they needed to win.  Obviously, we’re going to get a team that playoff hopes certainly depend on their success.  It’s not going to be difficult to rally them and get them ready to play.

(on if he is okay with the time change in their game with the Colts so that the Colts and the Jaguars are playing at the same time in their battle for the AFC South Division)

I’m fine with playing the games at whatever time.  The game change doesn’t affect us other than we kickoff three hours later.

(on if he thinks his coaching staff is making good adjustments during the games)

Yeah, we’ve done that all year.

(on what is missing from this year’s Titans team)

In this particular game we fell behind.  We couldn’t carry balance and as you know we need balance to be able to make plays.  We couldn’t carry balance in the second half and that’s what happened in this ballgame, and as I said specifically we had too many third-and-longs to keep drives alive.

(on why the defense has struggled after such a strong start)

Well again, as I’ve been trying to explain over the last couple of weeks when your defense is on the field for 40 minutes a game…

(on why they’re on the field for 40 minutes a game)

Because we’re either giving up plays or we are not getting production out of our offense.  It’s a combination, it’s a team combination.  Last week we were on the field, but we got points.  We’ve got a number of our defensive players who are not playing for us right now, that are not on the roster—key starters, especially up front.  I think that has certainly taken its toll on us.  We played two players on the defensive line players one Marques (Douglas), and Shep (Malcolm Sheppard) who just got here.  JJ (Jason Jones) ended up playing defensive end for us yesterday because our numbers were down.  We didn’t get the pass rush yesterday.  We had opportunities for an interception; we had a ball on the ground inside the five-yard line.  We had opportunities, we just didn’t capitalize. 

(on if the Titans failure to capitalize on opportunities and opponent mistakes is due to a lack of execution or talent)

I think it’s just an example of the way the game went.  For example, we knock a ball loose on the five-yard line, a strip-caused fumble but they fall on it before we get there.  You fall on that ball, you pick it up and score, there is a momentum change and there is a different factor.  I can go back to when JJ made the play early in the season going in against Philadelphia, inside the five-yard line.  That was a huge momentum change for this football team.

(on if the lack of a consistent running game has hurt the defense as well as the offense)

Again, as I mentioned when you have instability at the quarterback position, which we did for a number of weeks, you in essence become one-dimensional—you’re a running team.  Well teams take your run away, therefor you don’t get the production you like, you don’t have the time of possession or put the points up offensively and when that happens and you get behind on defense, that is when you end up staying on the field.

(on if he wishes they would have played Jared Cook more earlier with the way he’s played late in the season) 

No, I think we got him in the ballgame, we had some opportunities early but we were trying to get the football to him and he’s earned that right.

(on why they are activating Randy Moss if he isn’t getting a lot of playing time)

No, we thought he might be able to play a little bit—it just didn’t work out.

(on Kerry Collins reaching 40,000 career passing yards)

When it was brought to my attention early in the week it was hard to imagine the company that he was keeping.  Tremendous group of quarterbacks and I think it speaks volumes about his career.  He’s been a good, solid quarterback for a lot of years.  To play in the conditions that he did yesterday, with the hand the way it was, the way it was going.  You have to have a lot of respect for him—tremendous accomplishment.

(on if he thinks Kerry Collins has one more year in him)

I think he does, yeah.  He takes care of himself.

(on if he thinks Kerry Collins could be with the Titans again next year)

We’ll go into next year next year.

(on it this has been a tough season)

What we do as a staff and what they do as players is you come to work to win every day.  You come in, you game plan, you do the best you can to get the players in position to make plays to win ballgames.  That’s what we do, it hasn’t worked out and we’re not happy about it.  We feel the same disappointment that the fans feel, but it certainly doesn’t mean there is any less effort going on in this building on a week-to-week basis. 

(on if he will allow himself at any point on Sunday to consider that it may be his last game as the head coach of the Titans) 

I’m not going to go there.  I’ve never gone there.  Again, I’m going to take the same approach I take week-after-week and that’s just to get them ready to play and try and find a way to win a ballgame.

(on if Mike Heimerdinger is undergoing another round of chemotherapy)

We’re going to be prepared to adjust, yes.

(on if there is a chance the chemotherapy will affect the way the Titans are able to use Mike Heimerdinger on Sunday)

I can’t say right now, I don’t know how this next round of treatment is going to affect him.

(on how he would write a paragraph to sum up the season)

I would say it was a disappointment.  We had high hopes coming off the turnaround last year; we thought the draft went well.  We had a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm about our draft class as far as them contributing.  We got off to a good start, and in week eight things fell apart.  We’ve been trying week after week after week to put it back into place and it hasn’t gone that way for us.

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