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Colts Coach Chuck Pagano on Titans: "We've Got Our Hands Full"

Posted Nov 12, 2013

HEAD COACH CHUCK PAGANO

(on bouncing back from a loss)

Credit the coaches and the players. They’re a resilient bunch, they understand that you got to stick to the process. They go back and take a hard look at themselves and figure out and fix the things that caused the problems the week before. Again, they stick to the process, they’re resilient guys, got a fabulous quarterback that wills this team to victory and carries this team and a bunch of great veteran leaders that just do a great job of getting this team to bounce back.

(on preparing for a game on a short week)

Obviously, I can’t speak for them, but for us, coming off the disappointing loss to the Rams, (we) really can’t get on the field fast enough. You still got to put a plan together and put the time in and get the preparation done that you need and get your legs back and those type of things, but it’s good in sense that you get a chance to get back on the field and get the bad taste out of your mouth.

(on what happened in the team’s loss to St. Louis)

Well, (we) turned the ball over, minus-four turnover margin in the game, gave up big plays in all three phases. You got a strip-sack for a touchdown, give up a 99-yard punt return for a touchdown, give up big plays over the top of your defense, can’t get off the field on third down, can’t convert on third down. That’s why the score was what it was.

(on replacing Reggie Wayne)

Never going to replace a guy like that, we all know that. I think to a man, everyone in the organization and outside of football what he’s done over the stretch of his career is remarkable. Again, we see what a guy like Reggie (Wayne) does on Sundays, the fans do and everybody else. But, what he does for your team Monday through Saturday, not only in the offensive meeting room, but with the wide receivers, his leadership, those type of things, you just can’t replace him. It is next man up. Guys are going to have to step up and fill that role and do the best job they can. They got a responsibility, accountability to this team and the horseshoe, and they’re going to work their tails off, do the best they can.

(on finding a replacement at wide receiver)

Again, we’ll see at the end of the day once we get the final lineup and see what direction we’re going to go. We’ve got a bunch of guys that are more than capable, now it’s a matter of putting it all together and getting on the field and doing it when it counts, doing it when the lights are on.

(on preparing to face Ryan Fitzpatrick)

Good football player, smart, does a great job of managing a game. He’s athletic enough to extend plays, makes all the reads, has the arm talent to beat you. He’s got a bunch of weapons around him, obviously a great run game that you got to contend with. Ryan’s (Fitzpatrick) done it and done it for a long time and won games. (He) almost brought the team back—other than a safety you got a two-point difference. The guy is more than capable, and we’ve got our hands full. We’ve got to do a great job.

(on the Titans’ defense this year)

Well, they do such a great job, coach (Jerry) Gray and coach (Gregg) Williams and the rest of the guys. They’re tough, they’re smart, they’re disciplined, they’re physical. They get after you, got a ton of playmakers at all three levels, big time safeties that will bring a physicality to the game, cover corners across the board. They’ve got really good talent, a linebacker corps that’s fast and will play downhill. It’s the mindset; they play defense the way you’re supposed to play defense, so we certainly have our hands full.

(on playing division opponents late in the year)

It keeps interest alive. The schedule is the schedule, and we’re obviously going to take it one week at a time. It’s always interesting. I think last year we played Houston like we’ve got Tennessee—we had them two weeks apart. The biggest thing for us, again, is we got to finish preparation tomorrow morning and get on a plane tomorrow afternoon and keep preparing and try to give ourselves the best possible chance to win this football game.

(on not getting off to a fast start of late)

We’ve got to execute. Credit the opponent. Last week you look at it and the week before going against good football teams—they certainly play a hand into the equation. We’ve got to execute. We didn’t do that certainly last weekend in all three phases. When you start out and move the ball downfield and give up a strip-sack that goes for a touchdown like we talked about…big plays against your defense and special teams. We’ve certainly talked about it, and I’ve done everything within our capabilities to try to address it. I think it comes down to our guys are going to play hard. They’re going to give great effort. I think it just comes down to executing and doing the little things and playing better fundamentals, technique, communication, those types of things across the board.

(on what he likes about Andrew Luck)

I mean, everything about him, his leadership, his toughness, football IQ is off the charts. He does such a great job of managing the game. You talked about last Sunday, (but) he’s done such a great job this year compared to his first year of taking care of the football…certainly the Rams’ defense had a hand in that stuff. We got to the point where we dug ourselves such a big hole, everybody was pressing, including Andrew (Luck), to try to make plays. It was just one of those days where a lot of things went wrong. He’s a resilient guy, a tough guy. He’s a durable guy, tough to get down. There’s not many things that you don’t like about Andrew Luck.

(on keeping Andrew Luck protected)

Obviously, we want to keep him upright and keep him clean. We’ve got a much better chance if he is upright and clean of moving the football, moving the chains, and scoring points. I think it just comes down to, again, guys got to do a great job of communicating up front, being on the same page. As you all know, you got to be able to run the football. We dug ourselves such a big hole last Sunday that we had to go one-dimensional and drop back. If you can run the football and have success running the football, it takes a little heat off the quarterback—that helps things as well.

(on Matt Hasselbeck’s impact)

He’s had a huge impact. He’s been tremendous not only for our organization, our team, but certainly for Andrew (Luck) and Chandler (Harnish) being two young quarterbacks. (He’s) an outstanding human being, great person, brilliant guy, obviously brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to that room. He’s been great for our team and for Andrew.

(on Montori Hughes and his progression)

We like where he’s at. He’s been doing a great job leading up to this point, hasn’t been up, has been inactive. Due to injury to Josh Chapman he’s had a chance the last couple weeks to be up and get a taste of playing time, get a taste of real football. (He’s a) big guy, tough to move, really athletic for a guy his size. In the limited amount of exposure that we’ve seen, I think he’s headed in the right direction—bright future.

(on establishing a run game)

Again, it’s been a point of emphasis. Obviously, (we) got to run the ball better, but certainly we can’t dig ourselves in a hole like we did last Sunday where you totally have to abandon it just to get yourself back in the game. We got to do what we can to hopefully make sure that doesn’t happen.

(on Robert Mathis)

I think obviously numbers speak for themselves. He’s a tremendous football player, and he can wreck a game like many of the guys the Titans have up front. He’s a tremendous football player, very, very explosive, very, very passionate about football. He’s been able to do it over a long period of time because of his work ethic, his drive and determination, how he plays this game. The change from going to the 4-3 and having his hand in the dirt for that length of time then going to 3-4 and having to stand up and playing the SAM position for us here a year ago then moving over to rush this year just speaks to his work ethic and the type of player he is. To see that production and what he’s done I think in his 11th season (is remarkable). That’s a credit to Robert (Mathis) and his resiliency and his toughness and his passion for football.

(on taking advantage of Thursday’s game)

It’s huge for obvious reason. Our guys understand that, (and) they also understand that we are on the road. It is a division game, division rival, great Tennessee football team that is coming off a disappointing loss like we are. We know that’s going to be a heavyweight fight. It always is and always will be, so we better have our helmets bucked up, our mouthpieces in; it’s going to be a dog fight.

(on whether Greg Toler will be back)

Still questionable, (but) we’re hoping.

(on whether he plans on shuffling the interior line)

We’re set there. I know Mike (McGlynn) just missed a little time yesterday but practiced today with his thumb. He should be fine and good to go.

 

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