TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on facing an early deficit for the second week in a row)
It’s just frustrating that it seems we can’t make more than a couple plays in a row on defense or offense. Even on our first drive, we kick off and have them stopped on the third-and-8 and they convert on a dump down to a back. We’ve got to make that stop that first drive. Then we get them out and we make a couple great plays down there, it’s third-and-11 on the 11, and they make the play to score the touchdown. We make a couple plays, we can’t make the third play to get off the field on defense, so we give up the points. Offense, we come out right away and turn the ball over, which leads to another on the red zone and gives them another easy chance to score, and they convert for 14-0. That’s kind of how the game went. Even having said that, there were windows during that second quarter—they would get the field goal, which was disappointing; we should have done a little more down there on that. … We get the ball again. Our defense is making some stops, and we have a chance on offense twice before the half. We have the ball on second-and-1, couldn’t convert the third-and-1. Couldn’t convert, couldn’t get the ball back. Third-and-5, we can’t convert. So I guess you gotta give credit to their defense for not allowing us to get back in the game. … We can’t get off the field the way we like. Then in the second half, it’s 17-3, you think maybe we’ll come out in the second half. We go three-and-out, and we can’t convert third downs. Then we get the big play to come back. We’re down by two scores going into the beginning of the fourth, and they put together an eight-play drive. Probably the best drive of the game when they had to. That’s where we’re at. We’re inconsistent and, like you say, we dig ourselves some holes because of the inconsistency in play, and you just don’t get away with that in this league.
There’s pressure on him at times. … We’ll have to go back and look at that on tape exactly why some of the throws weren’t as good as you’d like them to be. Early in the game in the first half he was moving around in the pocket more than he probably needed to because of pressure. Some balls floated because of that. We’ll have to look at that. It’s hard to see from the sidelines all the time why some of that is happening. It’s just the offense, obviously. If you can’t convert third downs, you can’t win football games, and we didn’t do that.
(on if he was surprised by the play of the Chargers’ backup tight ends)
Yeah, I am. I think we thought that when you have a quarterback like they have, (Philip) Rivers, we think he’s very good, he makes guys look good. He puts the ball where it’s supposed to be. Believe me, there was not a letdown when we knew Gates wasn’t playing. We knew that they still had some great weapons and we saw that again (Sunday). We just got to play better. It doesn’t matter who’s lining up. If you’re not going to put the pressure on the quarterback, if you’re not going to make a play on the ball more consistently than we did, you’re not going to win a lot of games.
(on the struggles with the run game)
I think it was hard because we (had three-and-outs) a couple times. Unfortunately it was three-and-out and two-and-out because of the turnover. Seeing you’re down 14, we were trying to get some rhythm so we went to the no-huddle to at least move the ball and get something going on offense. We went down and got the field goal, which again, would’ve been nice to convert it (with a touchdown). It’s another time we got stopped in the red zone. That’s hurting us, too, these first two games. Putting seven on there would’ve made a big difference. Then, we could’ve gotten back into the run game, if we converted something in that second quarter when we had the good field position. If we got a couple first downs in those last two drives of the second half, it’s a totally different game for us. At least we’re more in the game than we ended up being. So all of a sudden, you’re out of the run game. We never got into the run game so it’s our own fault.
(on if there were thoughts of moving the pocket more)
It wasn’t an onslaught that we couldn’t protect. They blitzed him early. We had a mental mistake early. It wasn’t that he was under pressure; it was more like he was trying to bide time, waiting for guys to come open. We didn’t have a whole lot of football plays on offense. We had that ball for very little. We had the ball for 20 minutes as far as an offense went. It was hard to do a lot on offense because we didn’t earn the right for more downs.
He’s doing what he’s being asked to do. Some of these other things just break down in coverages where the linebackers are supposed to be or guys are expecting help and the help’s not there. We’re playing some young guys. Again, I’m not going to make excuses. We just didn’t play good enough to win, and we have to go back and fix a lot of things or it’s going to happen again next week.
(on if he is concerned with the offensive line)
It’s two games in, and we haven’t gotten enough work. (Sunday) especially, the defense is on the field, some of that is their own fault for not getting off and letting the Chargers convert. The other side of that is the offense has to control the ball a little bit. In both games we haven’t done that, and so it’s our own fault for not being able to get into the run game. That’s self-inflicted: if you’re not going to earn first downs, you’re not going to get a chance to take over a game. You’re not going to get a chance to wear down the other defense. The other defense is fresh the whole game because you’re not on as often. Unfortunately, our defense gets worn down because they’re not on the field so much. That’s kind of how these first two weeks have gone, and we have to find a way to change the cycle.
(on the level of concern about the whole team)
The concern is we’re 0-2. I’d like to play better, obviously, win both games. We’re not playing good enough right now. I think we’ll leave it at that. We have a lot of work ahead of us. It’s up to us to see how we react to have two games where we didn’t play very well at all. Coaches, players, all of us are not ready to play on a consistent basis. We need to go back and make sure we’re doing things we’re good at and come out and put a full game together and see where we’re at. I don’t think, really right now, we’re really sure.
TITANS QB JAKE LOCKER
(on his overall thoughts of the game)
We were not able to consistently move the ball. We had inconsistent drives. We did not execute the way we needed to.
(on the Titans’ 0-2 start)
Nobody wants to start 0-2. It’s not the way you think it’s going to go. It’s not the way you hope it goes. At the end of the day we cannot do anything about the last two games. We still have 14 ahead of us that we can control. Whatever is not working for us, we have to figure it out and work hard to overcome it.
(on not playing consistently)
It’s a combination of a lack of execution and not converting when we had opportunities. We have to go back and look at the film to see where we can improve individually and as a team and work harder in practice and make it happen.
(on the Chargers’ defense)
They did not do a whole lot that we did not prepare for and that we did not expect. They are a good football team. They have good players on that side of the ball, and they played well.
(on the difficulty of converting third downs)
Lack of execution. We were not able to keep the chains moving. I think it is something we did well last week and we were not able to do it this week for one reason or another.
(on injuries affecting the team)
It is always nice when everybody is there all week. Due to the nature of the game, it is not always going to be like that. This is a physical game. Guys have to get their bodies ready for Sunday. We will play a lot of weeks when that is going to be the case, and you have to find ways to overcome it.
TITANS RB CHRIS JOHNSON
(on if anything looked better in the running game)
Not really. It’s the same old, same old, and we didn’t really look good at all. Not just the running game but the offense as a whole did not look good, and we didn’t look like an NFL team.
(on if he is surprised the running game hasn’t improved)
Of course. I don’t really know what’s going on or how we’re going to fix it but in this situation all we can do is continue to work hard and hopefully something good happens.
TITANS CB ALTERRAUN VERNER
(on the Chargers offense’s success on third downs)
You can’t win like that. When it’s third-and-7 or third-and-11 the defense has to get off the field. The only way we can have success is to get off the field in those situations. We have to get turnovers and get the ball back to the offense when you’re on the road.
TITANS DE KAMERION WIMBLEY
(on if there is frustration in the Titans’ locker room)
There definitely is a lot of frustration, and we’re not happy about it. We didn’t put our best foot forward, and that was an embarrassing loss for us. We need to go back and reassess the situation because this is just not acceptable.
(on if he was surprised by the play of Chargers tight ends without Antonio Gates)
I think a lot of it was us hurting ourselves, and we need to be better in all phases of the game. We didn’t bring our ‘A’ game, and we played horrible.
(on his thoughts of going against Chargers tackle Mike Harris)
I felt like I was able to get some good pressure, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get any sacks. I think mostly it was Rivers doing a good job of getting rid of the ball, and when he had an open target, he was very accurate with his throws. We were able to get some sacks off the pressure that was created when he stepped up (in the pocket), so I felt good about the guys on the interior being able to capitalize and make him step up.
CHARGERS HEAD COACH NORV TURNER
I just told our team, and I try to be a little more honest with them than I am with you at times, but I’ll tell you the same thing. We are a work in progress. We’ve got a lot of new guys and we’re getting everyone on the same page. When we function at a normal level and operate the way we’d like to, you can see that we’ve got a chance to be real good. We still have some rough spots. We’ve got a lot of work to do to continue to get better, but the key right now with this football team is that we get to dress 46 guys, and we’re hoping that Charlie (Whitehurst) doesn’t play, and after that, the other 45 guys all get a chance to contribute and they all play a role. That’s exciting to me and I think it’s exciting to them because they know their turn is going to come. It was obvious today as we went offensively the number of different guys that contributed and the number of different guys that got a chance to make plays. I gave the offensive line and defensive line game balls because no one makes plays if they don’t play at a high level. We had some rough spots in the middle there with the offensive line, a couple penalties, and those types of things. For the most part, that group is coming together and the defensive line — as I have been saying since May — we’re a lot more athletic, we’re a lot more physical and faster as a group than we’ve been, and it’s exciting.
(on tight end Dante Rosario)
It’s the way games come up and the way they chose to play us. Dante is a good player. We brought him in here because he’s a good receiver. We actually brought him in here because over the last couple of seasons, (Antonio) Gates hasn’t played all the games. He’s missed five or six each of the last two years. Dante gives us a receiving threat when Antonio is not here. There are a lot of people for defenses to defend. Hopefully, you look at that and people are concentrating on the guys inside and our outside guys will be able to contribute more. Philip (Rivers) is so good at getting the right guy the ball and spreading the ball. We’re going to use a lot of different guys.
(on the defense’s performance against the run so far)
It starts for me with the defensive front. You look at those five guys that we’re able to dress, and they’re outstanding. We talked a lot about having five outside linebackers that could roll in there and stay fresh. On a day like (Sunday), you need every guy you’ve got. As a defensive front, we’ve worked awfully hard through camp and before camp at doing the things you need to do to be a good run defense. Some of these guys have grown up a little bit. A guy like Vaughn Martin, who’s in his fourth year. Corey Liuget is in his second year. Then, we’ve got some young guys that are pretty darn good.
(on if the early lead changed the complexion of the game)
To me, it doesn’t because it’s a long game. The things that obviously slowed us in the middle of the second quarter that we just have to look at hard and take care of, is we had the penalties and we had the pressure. We’ve got to eliminate those. We did in the second half and we were able to move the ball. I thought we had two big-time drives. Obviously, the one after they scored — the 90-yard drive or 89-yard drive — kind of got started with Le’Ron (McClain) with a run up the middle and then we put together a real nice drive.
(on the Chargers’ third-down defense)
No question. Again, we go back to all our conversations when we started our offseason, we said, ‘We’re not going to be a good team if we can’t play good third-down defense and we’re not going to be a good team if we don’t play good red-zone defense.’ We’ve done a lot of things in that area — both personnel and coaching — continue to work to get better at that. We’ve got players that are athletic and can make plays. I think from a scheme standpoint, we’re working hard to put them in the position to make those plays. We’ve got so much work to do. We can get so much better in so many ways. It’s nice to go win a game like this, but this game, to me, is over. We’re going to go back and address the things we didn’t do as well as we need to do, and we can improve a great deal. We’re going to need to improve. Each week brings a new and different challenge, and we play a lot of outstanding football teams, so that’s my focus.
CHARGERS QB PHILIP RIVERS
(on playing without RB Ryan Matthews and TE Antonio Gates)
It’s not the first time we’ve had to. I tell you, we talked a lot about and we know about the guys on the team and through training camp, guys we’ve added hat from a depth standpoint, if they have to step up, we have a great deal of confidence in them. That happened (Sunday). (Curtis) Brinkley’s been with us for a few years, so we obviously knew what he could do. But that’s the most work he’s had in a game that I can remember. Jackie Battle gets in there in the end and closes it out, and Dante Rosario catches three touchdowns. They stepped in an even bigger way than maybe they thought. You can’t leave out Randy McMichael. Randy was on the field probably as much as anybody, blocking and catching a big third or second down. We’ve got more guys that love to play than, I think, we’ve ever had here. We’ve always had a good group, but you see it. These guys just can’t wait to play on Sunday, and we’ve always had that. It’s always easier to talk about what you have in the moment. You realize how good it was back then, too, but of the 46 guys dressed, they all love it, and I think it showed the first couple of weeks.
CHARGERS TE DANTE ROSARIO
(on whether he had a sense during the week that he’d have a big impact on the game)
I always prepare like it’s going to be a big week, but (Antonio) Gates (not playing) was kind of a last-second decision, so it wasn’t a sure thing that I was going to take the number of reps that I did.
(on why he decided to come to San Diego as a free agent)
Ultimately, the group of guys that are here. I’ve said this to a few different people that have interviewed me about this team. It’s the best group of guys that I’ve honestly been around in my entire career. From how they go about their work days, their work ethic in the offseason, you can tell that this is a group of guys that wants to win. Not only that, everyone gets along, which can be a rare thing in the NFL. Then, obviously, the offense is a great offense to play in as a receiver, a running back and tight end. To be able to learn from Randy McMichael and Antonio Gates is a pretty cool thing. Those guys have been doing this for 10 or 11 years now and there’s a reason for that. To be able to pick their brains and see how they go about their everyday lives and why they’ve been successful for so many years is going to help contribute to me having a long career.
(on what makes the Chargers offense a good fit for a tight end)
We just keep a good balance of run and pass. We keep defenses on their heels and we have guys that can run. It makes it a little bit easier for Coach Turner to call plays. We have guys that can get down field and make people miss in the open field, so it’s exciting to think about what we can be, but we just have to keep working at it one day at a time, one game at a time.
(on whether QB Philip Rivers helped him by looking off safeties)
All three of the touchdowns he threw me, the ball was in the perfect location. What he’s doing in the back, he’s probably looking people off, but as soon as I get my head around, I’m looking for the ball. All three of those passes were in places where the defender couldn’t get it. The offensive line obviously gave him time to be able to get the pass off. All the other receivers and running backs did their job. There’s a lot that goes into it; it’s not a two-man game. The offense all around played pretty well. We finished it out in good fashion for us and kind of pounded the ball out at the end. It was definitely a team effort.
(on whether all three of the touchdown passes were designed to go to him)
The second one, I was the first look. I think the first one, he had looked somewhere else and as I came open across the middle, that window flashed for him. He saw me, and we kind of locked on and both saw each other’s eyes. I could tell he was going to throw it in there. I didn’t know I was going to get smacked afterward. The third one just kind of opened up. He just put the ball in a position where the defense couldn’t get it.
CHARGERS RB JACKIE BATTLE
(on his touchdown runs)
I just want to contribute in any way that I can, so it feels good to get out there and help out on offense.
(on the success in the running game)
I think that the offensive line really did a lot. They looked really good up front. There were some pretty big holes, and there were some great one-on-one situations with the safeties.
(on the home opener)
I think that we’re off to a good start, and we just have to keep things rolling.
CHARGERS T MIKE HARRIS
(on having big running backs)
Oh yeah. I just love to see them busting through those holes. I’m real proud of those guys today. We just have to grow from that.
(on the running game)
It’s good to have a little bit of lightning and a little bit of thunder. There are different ways to attack, so it’s all about whatever it takes to win, and whatever it takes to get touchdowns. I’ve got to go out there and block hard no matter what.
(on the energy of the offense)
Those last few drives of the game were great, and I was happy that we were able to get those yards and score touchdowns. There’s nothing worse than getting down to the goal line and having to settle for field goals.
(on the Titans’ defense)
They didn’t give up or back down, but it was just a good feeling to see those running backs hit those holes hard. We also had some good double teams, and we ran some power blocks. It was fun to march down the field.
(on the Chargers’ strong start)
It’s all about winning. We just have to grow from it and move on to the next one. You can see by the scoreboard that we were able to score touchdowns and not settle for field goals. It’s very important to get six rather than three.
CHARGERS LB SHAUN PHILLIPS
(on the play of the secondary)
Secondary did a good job back there. They allow us to get pressure. They did a great job. We just went out there and did our job.
(on if playing on the day the Chargers honored Junior Seau helped)
I mean, it was in the back of our minds. It was one of the things we talked about before the game. He’s one of the great linebackers that paved the way for guys like me and paved the way for the San Diego defense. So, anytime we can go out there and do our jobs, and remember Junior at the same time … it’s a big tribute. It’s in the back of our minds, and we just went out there and did our jobs.
CHARGERS LB DONALD BUTLER
(on the pressure the front seven defenders got without blitzing)
Pressure (on the quarterback) is something that we pride ourselves on whether blitzes are called or not.
(on the success of stopping opponents on third downs this season)
It’s been a focus of ours since spring ball and going into training camp. Thankfully after two games we’ve been able to do it.