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Titans-Patriots Postgame Quotes

Posted Sep 9, 2012

TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK

(on if he thought the outcome of the game showed a gap between the two teams)

I think it just shows you, I mean, I think we are disappointed obviously how the game ended turning out. I think we are happy how it started with the offense taking the ball, making plays. Unfortunately (we got) three points rather than seven, and then when you play a good football team as we knew the Patriots are, as they have been for quite a few years now, you cannot not mistakes. You can’t blow opportunities. When you’re down there, you have to score points, and you can’t have a turnover and give them a touchdown, things like that, that are going to come back to haunt you in a game.

They are going to make plays. They are going to make their share of plays which we knew, we just couldn’t help them, and unfortunately along the way, we helped them. They ran the ball much better than we thought they would against us, which makes it easier for their quarterback. So, yeah I think overall, disappointed.

As far as measuring gaps, I don’t know. When you don’t play well, again, like I said it’s a loss and I don’t think it’s necessarily how far apart we are. It’s just a matter that it just shows you that you can’t afford to make mistakes, and it’s all about making plays.

 (on Jake Locker’s performance)

I thought he handled himself well. I thought he came out and made some great throws early in the game. The turnover deal was a sack and a fumble. You wish those things don’t happen, which ended up being seven points. The kid threw well. He’s so competitive. He was fun to watch.  If it wasn’t for the injury, he probably finishes up with a very strong football game.

(on Jake Locker’s shoulder injury)

He should be OK. We would rather him not go in there and tackle anybody. But he did because he is so competitive, I guess. But he wanted to go back in. It is his non-throwing shoulder. We just thought at that point we wanted to be sure he got checked out before we did something like that. And the way the game was at that point, we thought we would pull him out, which we did. Assuming that he will get checked out (Monday), he should be OK for next week.

(on the whistle not being blown on what proved to be incomplete pass to Nate Washington)

I don’t think it matters who the officials are as far as replacement, regular officials. I think there were some calls in that game that obviously we weren’t happy with. You know, you wish obviously that a whistle was blown there that the ball wasn’t completed. It didn’t happen and leads the something else. You can go through the game in a lot ways, things that we missed that were unfortunate and change games around. That’s the disappointing thing about the game in general, when you have things you think are missed in the first series, going down and scoring. I thought there were call their probably missed. It’s hard enough. It’s just frustrating when things don’t get called that probably should.

(on team’s rushing game)

I thought coming in, obviously we thought (Chris Jonhson) would have more than 12 or 13 carries, whatever he ended up having. There is no doubt, again, we knew they were coming in, they were going to make sure he didn’t get going the best they could, I would think. They did a good job with that. As far as some of the runs we had, they weren’t as successful as we hoped. We saw we were having success throwing the ball and Jake (Locker) was getting the feel for it. The receivers were doing some good things, so obviously we leaned more in that direction, and I think that is why his numbers weren’t large.

(on holding call on G Steve Hutchinson)

Yeah, that’s my point. You can’t do those things against these types of teams. The Patriots are a great football team, that’s a huge play of the game, on a draw for first down, it’s field position, it’s all kinds of things and we get the call and after that we punt and (they) score points on that drive. So, that’s how quickly a game … you talk about a gap, a team with the scoreboard the gap got bigger obviously, but those are the things that good teams don’t do and right now, we’re making plays like that, that hurt you, a holding call here, a turnover for a touchdown, a pick, a missed tackle, those are the things right now that they exploited, the mistakes we made. They didn’t make many mistakes; they didn’t turn the ball over, they didn’t do some of the things we did, have crucial penalties that hurt them like we did. That’s what the separation is, is us consistently getting better and making plays and not helping the other team, and that’s kind of where the gap is right now.

(on defensive players’ execution)

I think it was missed tackles. They ran the ball better than they should’ve been able to. That usually is all we talk about them running the football and made (Tom) Brady’s job obviously a lot easier when they were having success running the ball on the edges and making plays when they needed to.  It was disappointing to see that, there’s no doubt and I know the players are disappointed, you want to play better in key spots.  We got some stops but not…when we tried to get back in the game in the second half, we couldn’t get stops where we needed them. They were having success, and again, they make plays and they make tough catches and give them credit for that. That’s a very good football team, they’ve got some very good football players and they converted a lot.  Our defense did a nice job on first and second down quite a few times, and they made some great catches and great throws on third down to keep drives going. We could’ve had a chance to change that game and credit to them. They played well, better than we did and you saw the outcome.

(on today’s performance going into the rest of season )

I think you  just look at it that it’s one football game. Like you say, there’s no doubt you want to win every game when you play but 15 other teams are going to lose today also unfortunately. It’s how you handle what happens, how are we going to handle this one going forward, to how we take this to San Diego and decide what’s going to happen there.  Disappointing? Definitely. Do you want to play better, especially at home? Yes we do. Were there parts that we looked like we were doing some good things? Yes, there’s a lot of good things in this football game, but not enough good things. So that’s the part, that again, you watched the tape and you find out what kind of team you are. You find out how you handle some adversity.  Unfortunately we’re getting some in the first game. You don’t win your first game, there’s adversity to some of the things, there’s going to be some things that we obviously can do better, that could have made this game much closer and more competitive towards the end. We didn’t do that, we had some opportunities to do that and like I said, they made the plays and we didn’t.

(on injuries)

We’ll see. (Colin) McCarthy had the ankle, came back in, went back out, so we’ll need to see exactly where he is and how sore he is after playing the game. Nate (Washington) got the play — that the non-catch that they thought was a fumble — and got his leg hit there and I think he’s sore, but again, we’ll have to wait and see how he is tomorrow. (Javon Ringer’s) elbow I think was sore during the week, obviously we didn’t think it was a big deal, I think it gradually got a little worse and started swelling last night on him. Then this morning, it swelled up pretty good, so it could be some type of infection, so obviously he couldn’t play with that. That’s kind of something that happened unexpectedly and again, we assume he’ll be OK going forward but not able to play in the game.

(on turnovers by QB Jake Locker)

Yeah, I think that making a decision to throw the ball deep on the one again, we were moving there right about midfield, until you go back and see what he was really thinking when he threw the ball, you hoped that we could’ve roped that ball up. He’s trying to make a play there, it’s just off the drive. That’s another spot where if that doesn’t happen maybe again we have a chance to go down there and score points. The other one again, he’s holding it, trying to make a play, gets hit and loses the ball. We should protect a little better so that doesn’t happen or the time clock should roll off in his mind and run or get rid of that ball, especially when you’re down there around the goal-line area where something bad can happen if you do get captured – a safety, a sack, a fumble, and unfortunately we gave them a gift that we couldn’t afford to do in the game, at that time it’s 7-3. It’s a whole different ball game when you give up seven points to a very good football team. There are things that those couple of plays we just talked about really make a difference in a game. Those are things he’ll, as far as what he can do to prevent them, yeah, I think the more you do things, you can be a 14-year vet and do the same exact things he did though. You watch games today with a quarterback that have been around for a long time make the same throws and try to make plays. That’s just how quarterbacks are, they’re competitive, they’re trying to make plays all the time, they don’t want to take the check down sometimes and they learn from it. The more he plays, the better he’ll get at it. We are very proud of how he played. I thought he made some great throws on the run, moving in the pocket, buying some time, you saw his legs, all things that you should be really excited about going forward.

(on Jake Locker starting next week)

Yeah, I’m hoping that the injury is not something that would keep him out. I know how competitive he is, so it’s probably going to be hard to keep him out. It was hard to keep him out the game in the fourth quarter when he wanted to come back in. Yeah, we are hoping for the best obviously, we’re hoping he should be OK. 

TITANS QB JAKE LOCKER

(on the shoulder injury)

It just got banged up a little bit, but it was something that I felt like I could go back into the game. I will get some treatment on it and feel good about being able to play Sunday. 

(on coming back into the game)

I felt like I could go back in and I let them know that. The medical staff made the decision they did.  

(on if they told him that he was not supposed to make tackles)

Nobody told me that. I thought it was football.

(on getting off to a good start)

I think that obviously, getting seven is a better start at that point. We moved the ball, sustained the drive and had a chance to put seven points on the board. It was a good way to start the game. It’s why we took the ball first and what we wanted to do with it.

(on his two turnovers)

The first one was a bad decision. They were just in a soft coverage. I shouldn’t have thrown it. The fumble, I have to take better care of the ball in the pocket.

(on how this game compares to his previous NFL experience)

It was different from the standpoint of knowing you were going to be playing going in. The preparation stayed very similar to what it’s been in the past. Overall, I thought that we were able to execute offensively and move the ball.

(on his frustration of not being able to get the running game going and having to pass more in the second half)

It was what was working for us and I think that week-in and week-out that changes. We were able to move the ball a couple of drives early in the second half. We obviously got the scoring drive and we were able to do that through the air. It’s just what was working for us today.

(on the offense not being able to run the ball)

I think that you guys know as well as I do, it’s always easier when you are two dimensional. It makes them respect that for sure. We did a good job of adjusting and finding ways to continue to move the ball.

(on if the shoulder injury will require a brace)

It’s really early and it’s hard to tell. I will just get some treatment throughout the week and make that decision closer to Sunday.

 (on if it’s a shoulder bruise more than structural damage)

Yeah, don’t say anything like that.

(on if it bothers him that the play he was injured on never should have happened)

Again, that’s not something that I can control. The play went on as it did. I played it out as if it was live. Looking back on it, unfortunately, it was an incomplete pass. Just because of the circumstances, it’s tough, but you can’t control that.

(on if he won’t go to make a tackle next time there is a defensive return)

Like I said, it’s the game of football. I know that I play on offense, but I’m not going to let a guy run into the end zone.

(on the touchdown pass to Nate Washington)

We were on the other side of the ball to start, but we didn’t get what we wanted over there. I felt a little pressure so I was just trying to get outside of the pocket and I saw Nate (Washington) kind of slip in behind him. It was kind of a dangerous throw, I guess, but it ended up working out for us.

(on the two no-calls of pass interference on the Patriots)

That’s not something that we can control. We had opportunities down in the red zone and we didn’t take advantage of them and didn’t find ways to score. You can’t count on that.

(on the play that he checked to on the fourth-and-one conversion)

We just didn’t have what I thought was going to give us a chance to get that first down. They stacked everybody on the line of scrimmage and we had one-on-one coverage. I thought at that point it was our best shot. We got into a play that gave us that opportunity and we were able to convert on it.

(on what Kendall Wright brought to the offense)

I have said it before, he is a difference maker when the ball is in his hands. He caught a lot of underneath routes where he had the opportunity to run with it after he caught it, and that’s where he is dangerous. That’s what he was really able to help us with today.

(on if a game like this shows him that the Titans have a long way to go before they are on the level of the Patriots)

I haven’t had an opportunity to look at the film. Reliving it, I felt like we moved the ball on offense well today. We just have to find ways to put more points on the board. That will be our focus going forward, I believe.

TITANS RB CHRIS JOHNSON

(on having a tough day at running back)

Yes, tough day — especially after the first week of the season. We were trying to make some plays and trying to get a victory. We had some nice catches and things like that, but overall, a tough day.

(on what New England was doing that made it hard to execute)

I can’t say what they were doing, but we didn’t execute as a team. On the chances earlier in the game where we tried to run the ball, we just didn’t execute basically.

TITANS WR  NATE WASHINGTON

(on the overall offensive summary plan when playing the Patriots)

You can’t turn the ball over and you have to get touchdowns. Of course, against a team like this, you have to make sure you are putting up points. Of course, they are going to make some plays. Unfortunately today, we came up short. You have to do a better job offensively to put some points on the board. This is not what we worked for all training camp. We were looking for a little better performance than we gave today.

(on Jake Locker’s first start at quarterback)

He did a good job. Of course, he’s a young guy so he’s going to learn some things from this and get better. But, I think he did a pretty good job all around. From now on, we have to make sure we’re making the plays for him. I think there were a couple of times we could have made some plays for him and we didn’t. So we have to make sure we are accountable for him.

TITANS QB MATT HASSELBECK

(on coming in later in the game)

That’s the nature of the job. You’ve got to be ready and be loose and ready to go. I kind of knew what the fourth-and-one call was going to be. It was a rollout. So I tried to get loose as I could, without giving it away. But CJ (Chris Johnson) made a nice play on that one. It felt good to kind of get in and get a rhythm and stuff. I’m disappointed we didn’t get more points, and score and win and all that stuff. 

(on the Titans effort to make a comeback against the Patriots.)

I think that the lesson for us, really for all of us, when one of your guys, one of your good friends goes down, you’ve just got to re-focus and make it happen. We had a number of guys go down … You’ve got to re-focus and you can’t let it deflate you at all.  You’ve got to execute and make plays and score touchdowns. The effort was great. We’re just playing one of the best teams in the world, and you can’t do the things that we did. They didn’t turn it over, and we did. They ran the ball, and we didn’t. All the things Coach Munchak says in the locker room — we’re not inventing anything new. It’s just the things we did today against a great team.

TITANS DT JURRELL CASEY

(on Titans defensive efforts today)

I don’t know what the deal was up front. We didn’t get to the quarterback enough. We had to get there faster and give our corners some time. Keep him from getting comfortable back there and not let him stretch out. Next week, that’s something we’ve got to work on — getting to that quarterback. We knew they were going to come out in a fast tempo. We practiced on it all week.  Nobody was really tired. Just missed hitting gaps on the run, and not getting pressure on the quarterback in the pass. We missed hitting gaps, and they were executing. That’s it.

TITANS S  JORDAN BABINEAUX

(on the Patriots throwing so much to their tight ends)

The challenge was there for us. It’s really hard to say what kind of coverage we playing against those guys. Half the time I was anticipating one to be in the game. We had a great understanding of what these guys like to do offensively. It’s not like we didn’t know our opponent today. We just didn’t do a good enough job of out-executing what they like to do, compared to what we were playing defensively. It’s kind of tough right now, because I’m kind of lost for words. I guess personally and obviously, I wish I had more opportunities to be out there and be a better contribution.   

(on losing against a quality team like New England)

I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. The thing is, too, is we get caught up so much about worrying about our opponent and really, the only thing that matters is us. As long as we’re executing our checks, and able to play the type of technique the defense calls for, it doesn’t matter who we play.

TITANS CB  ALTERRAUN VERNER

(on the Patriots completing big plays against the Titans defense.)

I mean, they are a good team. They went to the Super Bowl, and so we knew they had that capability. And we knew we just couldn’t get down on ourselves when things like that happened. There were a couple of times they did make those plays and we held them to a field goal, or we stopped them the next three downs. So there were a couple of times we did make some stands and there were a couple of times they made some plays on us. Overall, we did what we could. We tried our best against a very good team, and like I’ve said, we’re going to look at it, we’re going to get better and, you know, the rest is going to be uphill for us. 

PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK

(opening statement)

Quite a good win by our players.  Those guys did a really good job.  We did a good job running the ball offensively, did a decent job stopping the run defensively, made some big plays, turned the ball over and had good field position, so it was a good team win. All three units contributed.  We had a lot of guys step up and if we can play that way we will be alright but it was good to see everyone contribute and all the units do a good job for us.  It’s nice to get off to a good start but we have got a long way to go. 

(on Stevan Ridley’s running today )

Of course it always starts up front. The offensive line did a good job.  We had some good holes, the backs ran hard.  Stevan (Ridley) ran hard, broke some tackles. Our tight ends, our offensive line and our receivers blocked so it was good.  A good complimentary game.  We had good balance offensively.

(on the play of rookies, especially Chandler Jones and Tavon Wilson in their first professional game )

We will see how it looks on the film.  I’m sure they had some good plays and I’m sure that had some other plays that weren’t so great.  We will see how it goes. They have a long way to go. They both have done a good job for us and if they keep working hard I think they will have a chance to be good players.

(on the defense’s performance )

We didn’t give up a lot of points.  We had a couple of red area stops, and that was important.  We gave up that drive at the start of the third quarter which was well and good but otherwise we were able to keep them out of the end zone. That was positive.  It’s hard to win in this league kicking field goals.  If we can play good red zone defense and not give up big plays then we shouldn’t be giving up a lot of points.

(on big plays by the defense)

Those were big.  We had a couple other ones that we could have had.  We didn’t hang on to the ball or whatever. That was a good play. Kyle (Arrington) went up and made a play on the ball, and Tavon (Wilson) was there to get it and of course we had Chandler Jones with the strip sack and fumble recovery so that was a huge play in the game. Those seven point swings, defensive scores, are always enormous plays in the National Football League. When you get bonus points like that it normally tips the scale, good team defense.

PATRIOTS TE ROB GRONKOWSKI

(on if today’s game was a good way to start out the 2012 NFL Season)

Oh yeah, definitely.  You always want to start out with a win, that’s always a great way to start and the Tennessee Titans are a good team—it was a good, hard fought battle out there.

(on using a lot of different offensive formations today)  

Coaches — whatever they call, we’ve got to go out there and do our job.  Whatever the coaches’ call we’re running the ball, we’re passing the ball, we had a balanced attack and that’s always good.  You want to be able to have the run game, you want to be able to have the pass game and today we preformed pretty well in both.

(on how Patriots RB Stevan Ridley performed today)

He had a great game, he was running hard and the o-lineman were doing a great job — you have to give them credit too.  Just overall, it was a good game and we have a lot to improve on still, a lot of mistakes and that’s what this practice week is for to fix your errors and move forward.

(on his miscue on his touchdown spike)

The thing slipped right out, but I played it off pretty well.

(on the performance both he and TE Aaron Hernandez had today)

He’s just a great player.  I love playing with him.  Overall, as an offense as a whole everyone is a great player and if everyone is doing their job and we’re clicking we can accomplish everything.  We just have to be out there with everyone doing their own job and having good chemistry.

PATRIOTS RB STEVAN RIDLEY

(on his performance today)

Personally, it was a blessing to be out there on a Sunday and I’m just very thankful to start the game off with a good game.  The offensive line is doing a tremendous job up front, coach had the game plan and told us what it was going to be and how we were going to be able to run the ball effectively and we just kept it pretty simple during the week.  He just told us to go out there and do our job, so that’s what I did, I just did my job.  If there was green grass to run to I just tried to hit it hard and get downhill.

(on if he was ‘in the zone’ today)  

When you get days like today and you’re running the ball well you can definitely feel it.  There were some runs that were there and there were some that weren’t.  The coaches just did an exceptional job of finding the ones that were doing well and they just kept calling them until they stopped them.  The offensive line was just blocking and getting on people and there were bodies on bodies and I just had to hit my creases and run.  I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, I was just the player that I was and went out there and played ball.

(on the offense being able to pass the ball effectively out of obvious run formations)

Yeah, Coach (Offensive Coordinator Josh) McDaniels did a good job of mixing that up.  We don’t want to be out there and be predictable, so all of our backs can run and all of our backs can catch so if they’re going to try and game plan it that way they might have a long year ahead of them.  We’re going to do a good job of changing it up and just trying to be a well-rounded offense.

(on it being a while since he’s shouldered the load as a running back)

Of course, it’s a dream come true to be out there playing on Sunday — like I said, I’m very blessed.  To just get out there and play is all I want to do.  25 carries is more than I was expecting, but I’m okay and I came out of the game injury free so that’s all I can ask for — I’m just grateful my teammates were out there doing a great job for me.

PATRIOTS TE AARON HERNANDEZ

(on how they opened the 2012 regular season)

I thought we started better than the past two years that I’ve been here.  Good start, a lot to learn from and we have to get better every week.

(on the Patriots passing game today)  

I felt like we did a great job, and like I said we have to keep improving — run game, pass game and get more dangerous every week.

(on how the team’s success running the ball helped the passing game today)

A lot because it’s a lot more the defense has to worry about.  When you have no running game all they’re worried about is the pass.  (Patriots RB Stevan) Ridley did a good job today and hopefully he keeps playing like that, and the line keeps doing what they’re doing so we can have an effective year.

(on how offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels did calling plays today)

He’s a great OC and I love playing for him and it’s going to be a good year with him.

(on if he gave Rob Gronkowski any grief over botching his touchdown spike)

No, that will be something we laugh about, but it was a great catch, great throw and we have to keep making plays.

PATRIOTS LT NATE SOLDER

(on what happened on the sack that hurt Tom Brady’s nose)

I think he got flushed and (Titans DE Kamerion Wimbley) ran him down from the back and I don’t know exactly what else happened.  I’ll have to see on film.

(on the offensive line opening up some big holes for the Patriots run game)  

I think there were some good things, definitely, and we can build off of that — and improve the bad things too.

I thought our run game was successful at times, and we were protecting pretty well most of the time, so as long as we keep getting better we’ll be alright.

(on why the offensive line did such a better job today than they had done in the preseason)

It’s hard to say, I don’t know — you’ll have to ask the coaches.  I think it’s a work in progress. We’ll keep getting better and working to improve.

PATRIOTS QB TOM BRADY

(opening statement)

It’s not my usual look (laughs).  Actually that was the only good one I really took so — I think the offensive line played really well.  It was a relatively clean game in terms of penalties and turnovers and so forth.  It wasn’t perfect by any stretch, but it’s always fun winning so that was a good feeling.

(on missing WR Brandon Lloyd on the first drive of the game when he was behind the Titans’ defense)

Yeah, we were close — when they’re that open you don’t want to miss those ones.  He made some really nice plays on the ball.  Everyone really contributed, so it was a fun game and a great way to start the year.

(on the team playing well as a whole today)

I tell you, they’ve been playing like that all preseason — the defense, and we see them in practice every day, so they are very competitive.  They are competitive on the outside, they rush the quarterback, get turnovers, they do a good job covering the backside of the backfield, so there was a lot of team defense out there and I thought the special teams really complimented what we were doing.  It was very much a team win.

(on RB Stevan Ridley running the ball successfully today)

It was great, he ran the ball extremely well.  We have to continue to do that — it was very balanced in terms of running and passing and that’s what makes it tough to defend.  Situationally, obviously there are some things we could have done better, but at least it is something to build on.

(on if he was prepared to come back out on the field right after injuring his nose had the Patriots defense not scored a touchdown)

Yes.

(on if his nose is broken)

I don’t know.

(on if he’s ever broken his nose before)

In my life? No. In a previous life? I’m not sure.

(on if his nose feels like it is broken)

I have no idea what a broken nose feels like—not good (laughs).  It’ll be fine.  I need some of that anyway.

(on the commitment to the running game today)

I think it’s something we’ve been doing all season long.  All through mini-camp, training camp, regular season games, you know we’ve made a commitment to running the football and you saw it today.  It’s a lot of carries by the backs; they have a lot of opportunity.  When you can control the tempo of the game, it really helps out the rest of the team — it helps special teams, it helps defense.  I’m not sure what the time of possession was, but it obviously helps that as well.  You just can’t drop back and throw it 50 times a game, right around 30 passes a game is where you want to be.

(on if running the ball successfully is more significant than people sometimes realize)

Sure, and the toughness of your team is built around running the ball and stopping the run.  The critical games and the critical situations — that’s the foundation of your team and that’s what you’re built on and that’s what you’ve got to be able to do.  You’ve got to run it when they know you’re going to run it, and I say that all the time.  I think with what we do in the run game and play-action game and you spread them out and you run screens, you run draws, you run traps, you spread the ball to all the different receivers it really makes it hard for the defense to just key in on something and say this is what we need to do. You really have to defend everything.

(on the team being comfortable offensively)

Coach always talks about us going out there for one reason, and that is to score points.  He doesn’t expect us to go out there and punt the ball.  I thought there were times when we did a good job of that, and there were times when we really didn’t do a good job of that and we had an opportunity to do that.  Getting off to a good start on first down and third down situations which are shorter which you’re obviously going to do a better job at, so we sustained drives — I don’t think we had any three-and-outs, if any.  We have to do a better job of sustaining over the course of the drive which is what we need to be able to do.  Unless, of course, you hit a long play and when you call those you have to hit those.

(on the play his tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski)

They complement each other and I think Mike (Hoomanawanui), you guys probably pronounce his name better than I can, but he did a nice job filling in at that tight end position for us.  That’s a strong position for us, receiver position is strong, running back position is strong and the offensive line continues to build and play well.  Like I said, it wasn’t all perfect but it’s good enough and it’s good enough to get a win on the road.

(on the improvement of the offensive line today from their play in the presason)

Yeah, it’s something we’ve been working on all preseason.  It hadn’t really come together until this week with Logan (Mankins) being in there a lot, Seabass (Sebastian Vollmer) coming back, there is quite a bit of depth at that position.  It was a very competitive training camp.  The guys that are in there really earned that spot.  Nate (Solder) has been out there all camp, so he continues to improve.  I am extremely comfortable and confident in those guys and they work their butt off.  I just have to stand there and make those throws because that’s what this team really counts on me for.

PATRIOTS DL VINCE WILFORK

(on his overall thoughts on the 34-13 win over the Titans)

We came in feeling good and happy with the way that we practiced. The way we prepared, I think everybody was confident. It showed today. This is a good team win. You are talking about three phases of your team  —  special teams, offense, defense  —  coming together and getting a team victory. It is great to have that, especially in your first game, on the road, against a tough environment. I think we responded very, very well. It’s definitely something to build on. It wasn’t perfect. It’s the start of the season. There are some things that we still need to work on to get better. The key for us now is to go back, watch film, make corrections and move forward and get better as a team. I think everybody’s mind frame is that is where we’re at now.

(on holding Titans running back Chris Johnson to just four yards rushing and the play of the young Patriots defenders)

I think it is a mix of everything. I think when you put 11 guys together and you have goals, you don’t want to let the guy beside you down. One of our goals every year is being able to stop the run and playing good third down defense. Today we responded well against the run. I think throughout the preseason we showed improvement each week. This is something that I think can be a backbone for us  —  if we can go into a game and just get teams one-dimensional. That will help us tremendously. That is what we are looking forward to. We are very excited about these guys, and very, very happy with the performance that these guys came out and had as a team and as a unit, especially being a defensive lineman and coming out and holding a great back to only four yards. That is just a good team defense. It is not just the guys up front. It is the backers, the secondary at times. We all play this game together. As long as we continue to play better and get better as a team, I think we will do some special things.

PATRIOTS CB DEVIN McCOURTY

(on getting off to a 1-0 start)

That is always the way that you want to come out. You want to try and get some things done, especially fundamentally, which is what we have been working on all preseason. I think from that standpoint we came out, we executed some things we wanted to do and most importantly you want to come out and get a win the first week of the season.

(on if the defense had anything new in place for Titans quarterback Jake Locker)

No, for us it was really don’t make it easy for him. [We tried] to give him different looks and keep things moving on him. When you come in with a new quarterback, you don’t know how he is going to adjust. You are not fully aware of what he can do. Just wanted to keep things moving, and for us, especially in the secondary, we wanted to be fundamentally sound and not let them take advantage of us trying to guess and do the wrong thing.

(on his impressions of Jake Locker)

I thought that he fought out there. He does a great job of keeping plays alive. Even on the touchdown, first he went left and he came back to the right and he was able to throw a pretty good pass out there. For us it was really just trying to stay on our guys and stay deep, especially once he started scrambling around back there.

(on the preparation for Titans running back Chris Johnson and the job the defense did holding him to only four yards)

A lot [of preparation]. He is a phenomenal player. The thing with Chris Johnson is that he goes anywhere on the field on any run. We just wanted to make sure that we bottled him up and for the most part we were able to do that today. Like I said, when you come out in week one you have certain things that you want to get done in a game, and that was certainly one of them. So to get that done, it really shows that we are working hard and coming out there and executing on Sundays.

PATRIOTS DE ROB NINKOVICH

(on forcing turnovers against the Titans offense)

Last year I think we did a good job of getting the ball for our offense and any time that Tom [Brady] has the ball in his hands it helps the whole team. As many turnovers as you can get and let the offense work – that is going to help us in the long run.

(on seeing rookie defenders Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower as playmakers)

That is why they are here. I think you don’t get drafted in the first round if you are not.

(on adjustments made after the Titans opening drive)

Every team comes out and they are going to have their plays that they are going to run – their best plays against us. You just have to settle down and understand what they are trying to attack on us, and go from there. I think that we did a good job of taking the first drive for what it was, adjusting to it, and playing the rest of the game.

PATRIOTS DE CHANDLER JONES

(on limiting Titans running back Chris Johnson to four yards rushing)

It is everyone just taking care of their responsibilities. It’s everyone doing their job.

(on if he could sense Chris Johnson getting frustrated)

I’m not sure. I was just focused on what was going on on our side of the ball.

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