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Gary Kubiak on Mike Munchak's Titans: "He Has Built a Physical Football Team"

Posted Sep 11, 2013


(on what Monday night’s comeback win against the Chargers means for the team)

Well, I mean we’ll find out. First off, obviously I think the biggest thing is we played so poorly for two and a half quarters. We have so many things to fix and improve upon, but one of the things about this league is finding a way to survive sometimes when you’re not at your best. So, from that standpoint, obviously it felt good to get out of there with a victory. But, I think reality hits you real quick and we understand how much better we’re going to have to be this weekend.

(on how difficult it is to come back from a road trip and prepare during a shorter week)

It’s tough. I think we got home about 7:30 in the morning, so it’s a quick turnaround here. I got to be smart with them physically this week and make sure we’re ready to go from that standpoint. But, we bounced back pretty good. We came out of the game pretty clean from an injury standpoint. Now we just got to get back to work here today.

(on getting Ed Reed back on the field)

We made a lot of progress last week. I think we’re still day-to-day right now. We’ll see how he responds to his work. He got a big workout in once the decision was made he wasn’t going to play. I think we’re really close, and hopefully he has a real good week and he’s there for us this weekend. But, I think right now we’re still in a day-to-day process.

(on who showed up on the team’s injury report)

Brice McCain did. He banged his knee up a little bit. He might miss a little bit today, but we’d expect him back full-time tomorrow.

(on comparing the Titans’ current team to last year’s squad)

Well, the first thing that jumps at me is just how physical they are right now. You go play in Pittsburgh on the road especially opening game and they got in a physical slugfest from that standpoint. They stay committed to the run and the way they’re built. Defensively, they’re excellent holding somebody under 200 yards. You see the physical play of the football team. But right now, we've got to focus on ourselves. We’ve got so many issues we have to clean up today, so we’re trying to do that.

(on splitting carries between Arian Foster and Ben Tate)

I think right now they’ve got to be pretty close to even just with the fact that Arian (Foster) is coming out of missing training camp and trying to get him going again. We can’t go run him down early in the season, so I think that would hurt us in the long haul. We’re trying to get it somewhat balanced. You know the other night, we ran into a crazy situation because we almost abandoned the run fully in the second half to try to get back into the ball game. But, we’ll try to keep them in that area this week. Ben (Tate) has played well. Ben’s had a good camp.

(on whether Arian Foster would prefer the majority of carrier)

I think anybody wants to be on the field all the time and those types of things. You want guys competitive from that standpoint. I’m not concerned with that. We’ve just got to bring Arian (Foster) along the right way. I think he took a step forward the other night. He looked good and fresh especially early in the game. I thought we ran the ball very well. Like I said, we were total abandonment once we got down 21-7.

(on plans to eventually increase Arian Foster’s workload)

As long as he keeps coming physically from everything he went through this offseason and training camp and all those things keep improving, you know his wind,  just everything. I think Arian’s (Foster) been a player who’s at his best when he carries the ball 25 times. So, we’ll head back in that direction and I think if we’re running the football well and we’re in the type of football game that we want to be in and not what we ran this week, I think there’s plenty of carries to go around.

(on Chance Warmack and what he brings to the Titans’ offensive line)

They’ve put together a good group. You know, we loved him coming out of college. Like I said, you can just see how Mike’s (Munchak) got his team built physically to be a physical football team. To me, they made a statement from that standpoint last week with their opener. But, we’re very impressed with the young man, and we thought a lot of him coming out.

(on how to prepare for the Titans’ offense)

There’s such a swing in this league right now. It gets different every week. I think one of the good things is we’re a team that’s committed to the run, so we get a lot of work from that standpoint defensively on that side of the ball. But, sometimes we’ve got to play fast, too, which is a situation we called in the other night. I think as a team you want to sell how you’re built all kinds of ways, send a message to your players, whatever you got to do to win. Hopefully we’re getting enough work in all areas.

(on similarities between the two team’s offenses)

I think they’ve done a lot of things to complement their run game from a boots standpoint, and they’ve got a quarterback that can run around and hurt you. I mean, you see some of those things in what they’re doing. But, I think the biggest thing I saw was the total commitment to the run and staying patient with what they’re doing. A lot of road games are won that way, close road games, where you stay committed and stay out of trouble and don’t hurt yourself turnover wise and play good defense. That’s what they did the other day.

(on differences with the Titans’ defense this year)

I see some difference a little bit in what they’re doing obviously with Gregg’s (Williams) stamp as far as what they’re doing, being there with Jerry (Gray). I can see some of that. To go out and hold a team on the road to 195 yards, that’s a statement in itself. They can get after the quarterback up front, so we know we’ve got our hands full.

(on Jurrell Casey and Zach Brown)

I just think they do a good job. Again, if you’re sitting there, if you come out of this football game with 10 third-and-seven pluses, you’re going to set yourself up for failure. They’re very good at getting it done in those situations. I think us getting back to what we do and staying out of the situations we were in last week and keeping our commitment to what we’re doing with running the ball will be very important to us.

(on Zach Brown’s potential to be a standout linebacker and the two teams’ familiarity with one another)

Obviously, he did some really good things, but they’re very athletic. I think having Bernard (Pollard) on the backend brings a presence to you with the way he plays the game and the success he’s had in this league. You know, like I said, we know each other pretty well. We play each other twice a year and seem to always have some physical football games.

(on not re-signing former safety Bernard Pollard a few years back)

Well, Bernard (Pollard) brings a physical presence to your football team. That’s just the way he plays. He brings an attitude to your team. Bernard loves to play. He’s a loud player on the field in a good way because he gets his teammates going. As far as not being with us anymore, nowadays there’s a lot of turnover with teams and situations and different directions you try to go in as an organization. But, I’m very proud of Bernard and what he’s done. He obviously goes to Baltimore and wins a championship. He’s had a hell of a career and is doing the same thing with you guys.

(on how veteran receiver Andre Johnson looks)

Well, he’s playing pretty well. The thing he’s been doing, to me, is he’s stepped up. He’s running well after the catch once he gets his hands on the ball. I think condition wise, he’s in excellent condition. He made the whole camp as compared to last year. At this phase in his career to still be going the way he’s going is impressive because I think he’s still moving forward.

(on how teams try to stop Andre Johnson)

We feel like we see everything that’s why we got to play Andre (Johnson) all over the place because if you leave him in one place, somebody will find a way to take him away. It’s a credit to him. He’s very smart. We like to move him around and do different things with him and he can handle it game plan wise. You know you’ve got to find a way to still give him his touches.

(on the development of Shiloh Keo and D.J. Swearinger)

Well, Shiloh’s (Keo) come a long way. He got his opportunity to be a starter with Ed (Reed) obviously not being ready to go. He’s responded. He had a really good camp. I thought he played well the other night. He continues to play well on special teams. D.J. (Swearinger) is more of a physical player doing a lot of dime work for us, playing in the back, having to go down in there. You know he gets to lineup across from (Antonio) Gates the other night, and that’s trial by fire stepping in this league. But, we really like him. He really loves to play. He loves his ball. He works hard at it. I think he’s got a bright future.

(on responding when an opposing team gains momentum)

It’s difficult. I mean, keeping your composure in this business is paramount. Everybody’s got players, everybody’s got the ability to get really hot on you and play well. We’re always talking about keeping it in perspective on both ends. If it’s you playing well, you’ve got to stay focused and keep going. If you’re the one in a position we were in the other night, it’s really keeping your composure and finding a way to right the ship so to speak. We were lucky enough to get that done and had enough time to settle and obviously Cush (Brian Cushing) makes a big play. But, I think just understanding that it’s part of this league and it’s probably going to be a part of every week. Just being able to handle it on both ends of the stick is usually important to your success in the long haul.

(on his evaluation of Brian Cushing’s first game back)

He looked pretty good. He had a really good preseason. My initial thought was that he would play in the third preseason game, but he ended up playing in the second one. That was a big step forward. I think that helped him get a lot of confidence going into this week. I just think it makes you appreciate playing when you miss so much ball like that. He’s very driven, and he’s come back and been a big emotional leader for our football team.

(on how opposing teams prepare for J.J. Watt)

He’s always going to face some things. Obviously, with not having Antonio (Smith) last week, he got some extra attention from that standpoint. But, I think those are some things he’s going to face all year round. He just needs to understand that. The further you go and the more success you have, the more attention you’re going to get. I think J.J.’s (Watt) responded to that. I think he played well the other night. But, I know that he feels like he can play better, too. We’ll move on here, and we expect big things from him moving forward.

(on getting a boost from Antonio Smith’s return this week)

I anticipate a boost either way. He’s energy for our team. Antonio (Smith) plays hard. He keeps us balanced upfront like I just talked about with he and J.J. (Watt) up there. Like I said, I think when those things happen with players, they appreciate really how much they miss something like this when it’s gone. I know it was a tough week for him. It’s good to have him back in the building. He had a big smile on his face ready to go back to work.

(on being balanced)

I think we’re getting more balanced. I mean, having our young receiver helped us. He made some plays the other night. I do have a lot of confidence in some other young receivers, too. Our tight ends, Garrett Graham’s development, I think we’ve got some other directions, and we’re confident we can make some plays across the field. But, it still doesn’t change what we are. Andre’s (Johnson) got to touch the ball. We still want to stay committed with our two backs and what we’re doing. We’ll try to start with that. But, obviously it’s a big help getting a young kid in there.

(on Matt Schaub’s performance in the second half against the Chargers)

He had a rough start. You get a ball tipped to start the game, and like I said, a lot of guys were in the tank. But, he settled down. He played very well. You get caught in a situation like that in this league and the only chance you got is for your quarterbacks to get total control of the situation. Our guys did a good job. We kept him protected for the most part, but he really extended some plays and got his team back into a position to win.

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