(on the Titans’ defense)
They’re very aggressive; they’ve got a ton of athletes. They just make a lot of plays, and they’re doing a lot of great things from their DBs to their linebackers to the defensive line. It’s going to be a very active and physical game, and we’ll make sure we’ll be up for that. It’ll be a battle for sure.
(on what stands out about
Well, he’s a ball hawk. He just finds a way to get to the ball and make plays. You respect that about him that he’s a gamer that’s for sure. You just watch him make plays, and he always shows up. You have to have a lot of respect for him; you have to know where he is. It’ll be a big game for sure.
(on whether he needs to keep his eye out for Alterraun Verner when looking downfield)
I think when you’ve got someone that’s making that many plays you have to keep your eye on them. He just finds a way to get to the ball, and I have a ton of respect for how he plays the game. He’s a quick guy that just makes a ton of plays and has great ball skills; you have to understand that.
(on what makes Golden Tate so effective as a receiver)
Well, he’s quick like a cat. He’s got very strong hands. He can catch the ball against anybody basically. Even though he’s a smaller guy, he’s got great leaping ability, great hands. Like I said, he’s quick as a cat. He’s kind of like a little running back out there even though he can catch the ball. When he catches the ball, he can make people miss. He’s got great balance and can get first downs for us.
(on Golden Tate’s Tennessee roots)
You can tell. I’m from Virginia, and I can tell his accent in a heartbeat. He loves it; he sings all the country songs and everything. He definitely talks about it, and he loves it. He’s one of my best friends on the team, and me and him are real close.
(on the team’s home field advantage at CenturyLink Field)
I think the biggest thing for us is that we try to bring the energy wherever we’re playing, home or away. Obviously, to play at home in CenturyLink, there’s nothing like it. Just the energy, the fans broke a world record for loudest stadium ever. It just gets really loud, and they help us with the energy as well. It’s an unbelievable atmosphere. It’s a beautiful stadium, and a great scene to play in. It’s truly one of a kind.
(on getting fans to quiet down when the team has the ball)
Our fans are great. Obviously, when we make a huge, huge play on offense, but I have to quiet them down a little bit because they can get pretty loud. We feel that energy. When we make a play on offense, it’s OK for the crowd to be loud as long as they can hear me and everyone can understand and recognize what we’re trying to do.
(on whether opponents are better prepared to defense the read-option this year)
I think the biggest thing for our offense is that we’re trying to hand the ball off to Marshawn (Lynch) every time. I’m not trying to run the ball. It’s one of those things that I’d rather throw the ball and hand it off to Marshawn and let him be our star running back like he is. He can make all the plays, make people miss and everything. I do have the added dimension of running the football, obviously, but our offense is designed to hand the ball off to him.
(on whether the league is trying to protect quarterbacks too much)
I don’t really know; I don’t really complain either way. I don’t focus on either—I just play my heart out. Obviously, the defense is going to try to get to the quarterback and make plays on them and stuff. I think you just got to be smart. There’s almost a respect thing to the game. We respect their players, and hopefully they respect ours. It’s one of those things that you can’t take any cheap shots or other things. That’s the thing I think the refs are trying to look for. They make mistakes, we make mistakes, but I think more than anything, the quarterback has to be smart, too. It’s really on the quarterback to make sure he gets down, gets out of bounds. Obviously, the defensive player has to make a smart decision, too. They’re going to try to protect the quarterback because you only have two on your roster. It’s one of those things where you just want to make sure they’re trying to do the right thing and everything.
(on running the ball and limiting hits to your body)
I try to limit them all pretty much for the most part. Obviously, the situation sometimes dictates what to do. I’m always trying to get out of bounds, trying to get down. I think that’s the baseball in me—I kind of like sliding. It’s just one of those things that’s important, too, protecting myself, protecting the team in that fashion. When I run, it’s really trying to make a positive play out of it, get four yards, get five yards. If I can get more, obviously, that’s great, too. Just try to get a positive play, establish the play. Sometimes when you drop back and everything’s covered, things aren’t there. You try to get the ball back to the line of scrimmage and get down and move on to the next play.
(on the mindset coming off a loss)
Really, it’s terrific right now. I think guys are so positive. We believe that we have a great football team no matter what the circumstances are. We believe in ourselves, believe in our teammates, believe in our coaching staff, believe in our fans. It’s one of those things where we just take things one day at time. No matter what the circumstances are if we’re 5-0, 4-1, 0-5, the goal is to go 1-0 every week. That’s the mindset, the championship mindset you have to have. I know we’re excited to go back out there and practice today in about an hour or so and just get back to work. We’re just excited about the opportunity.
(on improving on third downs)I think just pick up a few more third-downs here and there. I think that’s been our struggle for whatever reason. We have had three offensive linemen out, so just being able to hang in there as long as I can and just play to the ball on time. I think that’s the biggest thing, trying to make it work. We’re right there; we’re moving the ball really well. That’s the thing that if we can get that going, it’d be hard to beat us. Our defense is so strong; our offense moves the ball extremely well. We make tons of explosive plays from running it to throwing it, so I think that’s our focus for this week and the season.