Clyde Christensen – October 7, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, October 7, 2016

Offensive Coordinator Clyde Christensen

(On Head Coach Adam Gase talking about restricting the running back rotation and how he thinks that’s going to affect the offense and if it is to get one guy into a rhythm) – “Yes, I think that’s what he’s hoping. I’ve told you every week kind of the same thing. We keep rotating through the guys and hoping someone just grabs hold of that position and takes it. I think he’s got a plan; I know he talked to you guys about it. So I think in the back of his mind, he has some thoughts; but again, it’s really just been keep trying guys and hopefully someone jumps up and goes.”

(On why nobody has taken hold of that running back position yet) – “I don’t know. That’s a good question. A lot of things – a trillion things – some self-inflicted by them, some game situations. I talked to you a lot about just a lack of snaps. There hasn’t been enough for anyone to get into a rhythm. I do think that some of that is (the) circumstances. So Arian’s (Foster) injury, maybe it was going to be Arian and all of a sudden he gets hurt. I think there are probably 10 reasons you could give why it hasn’t or that could be possible explanations, but it hasn’t.”

(On if he’s talking about the running back rotation in game situations because the team is averaging 4.2 yards per carry, which is above the league average, but has the fewest amount of carries in the NFL) – “That’s right. And I think we’re darn close to the least amount of snaps (in the NFL). I think that they are all tied together, sure. I think the third downs affected everything. The poor performance on third downs affected everything and then you kind of invest in Arian (Foster) and then he had an injury and now you’re going with the next guy. So it really has been kind of a musical chairs and a different reason each time that the chair opens back up.”

(On how tough these last four weeks have been on him) – “Yes. I think it’s frustrating. One thing, and we talked to the team, you contract for 16 weeks. I don’t let myself go get too high or too low; but you want to see it go well. You want to see it go well for the guys. I want to see one of the backs have 450 yards right now. You want more snaps. You want more balls. You want all those things. I think there is a frustration level that is kind of a personal hurt if you will. As far as just going up and down, I just have refused to do that and hope the unit has refused to do that. Just keep playing. Just keep playing and then let’s look up at the end of 16 weeks and see what we’ve done. That has to be the mentality. If you’re looking at the scoreboard … It’s the same thing. If we were 4-0, I’d be saying the same thing, ‘Hey, steady as she goes.’ We’ve just got to keep improving and go from there. On a personal level, it’s been frustrating. You just want it to go well for the guys, and for the unit, for the city, for the team, for the whole deal, for Mr. Ross. And it hasn’t so far; but it’s a long ways to go. We just finished the first quarter. We put ourselves in a hole. The reminder is … The two facts of the matter are this: It is only the end of the first quarter and we’ve got 12 to play and a lot can still be written differently. Right? We’re not anywhere near through with this chapter of the book, if you will – the story. But the other fact is we’re not playing very good football on offense and we have to play better. So those are two facts. We are only at the end of the first quarter, but there’s no guarantee it just turns around just because you want it to either. You’ve got to play better football. That’s the emphasis. We’ve got to play better football and who knows? The examples from last year – if it’s Kansas City or Houston. There are a trillion turnaround stories that 1-3 is not fatal in any stretch of the imagination in this league, which we all know. But playing bad football is fatal. It doesn’t turn when you’re playing bad football. We have to play better football.”

(On what gives him confidence that this is the week it will turn around for the team) – “Every week is the week for coaches. Every week is the week. This is the week. I haven’t gone into any of them thinking we weren’t going to win the darn thing. I go into this one thinking, ‘Let’s go play good football and win this thing. Let’s look up at the end of 60 minutes and … (Let’s) play good football for 60 minutes and look up and see what happens.’ There are no guarantees in this league – no guarantees whatsoever – which is one of the fun things about it. But the one thing that’s encouraging to me is that the guys keep working, that we have been steady, that there haven’t been big dips in effort. There haven’t been those things. They’ve come out to practice and work. It hasn’t been one of those where you just fold it up (and are) not in the games. They had a chance to fold up at halftime of New England. They’ve had some chances to fold up, and it hasn’t even come close yet. They just keep playing, and that’s the encouraging thing. Now, we’ve got to fix the things like third down, turnovers and those things, and we’ll see if they do that – see if we do that. If we do that, I think this thing will turn. If we don’t, then it’s going to be tough sledding.”

(On whether having all five starting offensive lineman this week changes play calling or personnel packages) – “I don’t think it has. You do just feel like there’ll be some continuity. (Mike) Pouncey is one of the best at his position. (Anthony) Steen did a good job. I really haven’t felt like … I haven’t felt one of those, ‘Gosh, we have no chance until we get Pouncey back.’ Any time you get your leader back – any time you get one of the heartbeats of this thing back – it’s big. Even beyond the play – even more than the play in my mind – is the presence, the veteran presence. (If) we’re shaky, that gives us a veteran presence right down the middle of our offense. That’s really important, and he is a veteran guy. He’ll give us some enthusiasm. He’ll give us some confidence. He’ll give us a little bit of swagger. We got a lot of young guys and a lot of young guys have to worry about themselves. It’s hard for them to influence the unit, because they have to take care of their own mess. Pouncey is a guy who can do his job and encourage some other guys to do theirs and lead in that way. I think it’s a big … It’s big getting him back. If everything keeps going the way it’s going and we get him back for this ball game, I think it’ll be big (for) not even just the football – not how well we block their nose guard or something like that – but more in the blood of this thing and the lifeline of this thing.”

(On the best way to utilize RB Kenyan Drake) – “The best way would be for him to earn the starting job and get 40 snaps a game, getting himself in shape and do everything right. That would be the best way. We have to keep understanding that he’s a rookie, and we got to keep feeding him. He’s a talented kid. He’s a good kid. He’s going to be a good player. We just got to find ways (to use him). We’ve used a little two-back stuff. We can continue to do that a little bit. We can use some bits and pieces to try and showcase his ability to come out of the backfield and catch the football. We’ll continue to do those things. We’re always looking for ways to get him in there and give him a chance to show what he can do. He is a special talent. Yes, he’s in shape, but there’s no way to prepare for this league, especially for a guy like him (on) special teams. Special teams for a rookie who hasn’t been here all year-round and hasn’t been through it, I think it takes a little time to play yourself into shape. All of a sudden, you’re covering a kick and all of a sudden it’s first down, you’re handed the ball and then (it is) third down and here comes a big ‘backer off the edge and you got to block him and all of a sudden you don’t convert the third (down), you’re on punt team, you’ve got to cover the punt. I do think that … I think by average standards, he’s in good shape, but in the role that he’s in right now, you’ve got to be in great shape. I think every week he gets closer and closer to that. To give an impression he is in bad shape would be a … That would not be the situation. It would not be that. It would be more that he’s fulfilling a bunch of roles and all of a sudden those run together when you’re in there on third down, fourth down, first down.”

(On if there is enough information to have a sense that RB Kenyan Drake could be an NFL starter) – “My sense would be, ‘Yes.’ My sense would be that the more we see him I think that he could be a really good pass protector. I think he could be a third-down (running back). I think he could be a special teams guy. I think he could be a returner, and I think he could be a first and second down guy. He has been very, very impressive. If he does it, we’ll see. I’m really encouraged with what you see talent-wise. It’s hard to do it week in and week out, day after day after day. That takes a special guy. There are a lot of talented guys that have come and gone through this league. We talk a lot about just being a pro. There are a lot of NFL players; there are not that many NFL pros. There’s a big difference – big, big difference. A lot of guys got the sweat suit and the shield on their arm. That don’t make you a pro. That just makes you an employee of the NFL. That just makes you an NFL player. But (being) a pro, that’s hard to do. That’s hard to do. That’s why there aren’t that many of them.”

(On how he would assess QB Ryan Tannehill’s play this year and where he would like to see improvement) – “I would say this: I would say … He would be the same dido as the unit. At times he has done things really, really well. At times I think he’d love to have a do over, if you would. Just like the offense, we’ve done some things really, really well, and then there’d be a lot of times you where you’d love to have a do over, which don’t exist. We all know they don’t exist. The answer would probably be not as well as he would hope, not as well as we would hope. The same as the unit. We haven’t played as well as we would hope or they would hope. I wouldn’t put him any further above or below the unit. I put him with the unit. This year has been one of those where everyone is taking their turn. Everyone is taking their turn jumping offsides, missing a throw, dropping a pass, calling a bad play. I include myself in all that, too. Everyone has taken their chance (like) giving up a sack-fumble. We’ve all taken our turns. That’s what I’m talking to you about, that level of really playing good pro football. To really play at a high level of football, you got to do it play in and play out. That’s what the teams that get in the tournament do, and the ones that win do it longer and harder than everybody else. We got to get into that group. We’re not in it, yet.”

(On what would be the area of improvement for QB Ryan Tannehill) – “I think he has been really, really good on his deep throws. I think when I came here everyone said that it was a deficiency, and I haven’t seen that.  I think he has done a good job with his deep throws. I think probably (it is) just the consistency. I think there are probably some third down throws … You probably measure a quarterback by third down and red zone and two minute. That’s what I put a double weight on – those three areas. (With) third down, we’ve had a couple where we got to convert it, where him and Jarvis (Landry) have to be on the same page. We took a look at them, and they ought to be conversations (where) someone makes a play – someone makes a catch, someone makes a throw. Again, it’s harder to assess blame as much as … There are a lot of plays in this league that happen. I don’t know who, but someone has to make that play. It has to be a better throw, it has to be a better catch. Somehow we get the situation right, (and) we have to be able to convert those third downs. That’s what we haven’t been able to do. So, I would say probably – if you pinned me down and say I got to say one – then it would be that (we) just convert third downs, somehow find a way to convert them. I think we got to use his legs a little bit on third down, too. Every week you look up and there’s a third-and-12 and the quarterback takes off running and converts a third down where everyone was covered or something. Those things aren’t as clean and pretty as the way you draw them up once that pass rush tees off on third down. We got to find some way to make those plays.”

Vance Joseph – October 7, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, October 7, 2016

Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph

(On losing CB Xavien Howard due to injury) – “Obviously, (we are) disappointed by that; but we’ve got (Byron) Maxwell back in the fold. He has worked hard. His attitude has been great. I’m excited to see him play come Sunday.”

(On where he hopes to see improvement from CB Byron Maxwell) – “Overall improvement. He had some issues with soft coverage and obviously missed tackles, but the last two weeks in practice, he has rectified those things. He’s a press corner and I want him to press most of the time. He has got some splits where he was forced to play off and it led to him being off too often. The tackling stuff, he has to tackle better, he has to play better. He recognizes that, and he’s working that way for us.”

(On how CB Xavien Howard’s injury occurred) – “He got tangled in one-on-ones with Kenny (Stills). It was an innocent play. He jumped and came down on the knee. He didn’t even realize he was hurt at the time. I watched it on tape and it was that play.”

(On whether CB Bobby McCain and CB Jordan Lucas can play in place of CB Xavien Howard on the outside) – “Absolutely. Obviously, Bobby will be the next guy outside, and we’ve got Lucas going outside. Michael (Thomas) also plays nickel, so we’ve got some flexibility in the back end as far as who plays nickel and who plays outside corner.”

(On whether the plan to have S Michael Thomas and S Isa Abdul-Quddus split time at safety changes due to CB Xavien Howard’s injury) – “No. We shared some time last week with Michael and Isa. It worked out well for us. Bobby (McCain) is playing so well at nickel, we didn’t want to waste Michael on the sideline. So, we spilt reps at safety and let Bobby have more nickel reps.”

(On what went into the decision to split time between S Michael Thomas and S Isa Abdul-Quddus) – “Getting Michael more reps for the most part. He is practicing very well. He has played very well in games. So, I didn’t want Michael’s snap count to go down at all. We figured we would split reps there and let Bobby (McCain) play more nickel. Simple as that.”

(On how LB Spencer Paysinger, LB Neville Hewitt and LB Donald Butler played last week against Cincinnati and who will replace LB Koa Misi this week) – “I thought they all played well. I thought ‘Nev’ (Neville Hewitt) played really well. He had a couple things where he can correct, but as far as running and hitting, I thought ‘Nev’ played well. Butler – he played well for his first start. He had a couple things with the pressure package he had negatives on, but as far as the run game, cover-wise he was fine. ‘Spence’ (Spencer Paysinger) played well at dime ‘backer for the most part.”

(On the key to limiting Cincinnati to 76 rushing yards) – “I think the key ingredient was fitting our gaps. It was a nice deal, because we played most of that first half in shell coverage. I was afraid of A.J. Green, because over the top, so I played more shell coverage knowing that the run game was important to be stopped. It was a step forward for us. Most of the time you’ve got to play single high and fill every gap. We didn’t do that. We played shell coverage – four and two – and the run game was stuffed. It’s a good feeling.”

(On whether the Week 4 performance against Cincinnati gives him hope about the run defense) – “Absolutely. The first three weeks, I would say this: out of 40 runs in a game, I would say 30 were fit perfectly, and we had four or five that weren’t fit perfectly. It wasn’t an overall problem where I was so concerned about this scheme or the players alike. It was more of a pop-gap here, pop-gap there. It wasn’t (an) overall problem, it was just a player here, a player here. It wasn’t a big concern, but it was nice last week that it was finally stopped, even in shell coverage.”

(On containing RB DeMarco Murray) – “I’ll say this: it’s a run-first offense. They’re averaging 5.7 run yards on first down. Obviously, stopping DeMarco is going to be a huge deal for us. Everyone else (on) offense, we have to hold our own there; but he is definitely the main focus this week.”

(On whether focusing on RB DeMarco Murray puts pressure on the defense to not miss tackles and not have breakdowns in coverage) – “Absolutely. When you’re closing the middle and you’re adding a guy to the run game, everyone is in single coverage. Both corners are in single coverage. The middle of the field is closed, so the post patch should beat him. But outside routes, quick hitch routes – those things become a problem, because if you miss a tackle there, no one is out there to help you. Those things run off for 40, 50 yards. It’s always a problem when you’re stopping the run game with more than six-and-a-half men. It becomes a single-high pass game, and that’s always an issue.

(On who will play strongside linebacker this Sunday) – “It’s going to be (Donald) Butler.”

(On whether LB Jelani Jenkins will play on Sunday) – “I’m not sure yet. He ran today. I’m not sure where he is, to be honest.”

(On what he likes about LB Donald Butler’s game) – “He is an experienced linebacker. He has played on good defenses. He’s obviously a tough inside ‘backer that can fit the run game. And in coverage, he has been fine.”

(On whether it is a challenge having cornerbacks playing one-on-one coverage with a mobile quarterback like QB Marcus Mariota) – “Absolutely. But each week, it’s an emphasis on what you have to stop. This week it’s the run game, obviously. So, closing the middle, that’s part of the plan, obviously. And if (Mariota) takes off, it’s in the same boat as Russell Wilson. We’ve got to plaster on the back end, keep our rush lanes tight. If he takes off, we’ve got to plaster him, just chase him down.”

(On using DE Cameron Wake against a run offense this week and moving forward) – “Cam, he’s our specialty rusher. So, obviously to use Cam more, it’s got to be more of a passing game. The last four weeks haven’t been that. Maybe Cleveland was kind of like that in the middle of the third or fourth quarter. His role won’t change much. Hopefully we get a lead and Cam can get more snaps; but until that, he’s going to be a third-down rusher for us or a sub rusher.”

Darren Rizzi – October 7, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, October 7, 2016

Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Darren Rizzi

(On his thinking of using WR Jakeem Grant versus WR Jarvis Landry on punt returns) – “Really, we’re just going to continue to do what we’ve done in terms of having both guys available. It has been a four-game sample, so we’re not going to overreact over anything right now. I’ve seen plenty of what Jakeem can do between the preseason and now. I think some people get tied up in the numbers. A couple of his better returns have gotten called back for penalties – keep that in mind. We had a couple of decent ones against Seattle that got called back and there was one more, I believe. Like I said before, I’m very happy with the way he is progressing. At some point, I think you’ll see both of those guys back there together – between Jakeem and Jarvis – on punts, just like we have multiple guys back there on kick returns. We’re going to keep doing the same thing (depending on the) game situation – keep it situational, keep it game-by-game and kind of game plan it.”

(On how many phone calls he got about his reaction after the roughing the punter penalty at Cincinnati) – “There was a video? (laughter) I’ll put it this way, I have three teenagers that live under the same roof as me. They waited for the right time. They were smart enough to let it pass a little while (before bringing it up). I have an 18-year old in college and a 15-year old daughter and a 13-year old son, so they were all too happy to share the meme with me. It took me a second to even know what a meme was, for the record. I’m not really a social media (guy).”

(On if he saw that the NFL had some fun at his expense) – “No. What was it?”

(On the NFL Twitter account sending out a meme of him) – “I don’t know if that’s good or bad.”

(On research about deferring the opening kickoff) – “It’s a great question, because prior to this new kickoff rule, I’ve done plenty of research. Now with this new kickoff rule, there’s only four games worth of data. I’ll start prior to this year: When you look at teams’ first drive of the game, a long field, the numbers will tell you to kickoff first, without going into great detail about the exact percentages. If you can make a team go (on a) long field on the first possession of the game, the percentages are in the defense’s favor. There is also the thought process of … I think one of the things that’s really interesting to look at is the last possession of the first half and the first possession of the second half. How teams have done – number one: the teams you’re playing and number two: just from a general standpoint, I think there are some people …Tthere are different names for it – the double-whammy and all kinds of names, the double-down. If you defer and you can get that last possession of the first half and you end up with the football and get points and then come back and get the ball again (in the second half) and get points, there’s a high percentage – the numbers are really high – in terms of winning the football game. If you can finish the first half with points and start the second half with points – whether it be a field goal or touchdown – that number is high. Now, you have a new rule (on kickoffs) and with the ball coming at the 25(- yard line after a touchback), now some people will say the numbers aren’t going to change that much. It’ll change a little bit. That 5 yards, believe it or not, is the difference a lot of times in whether you’re going to punt or kick a field goal, so it certainly changes that aspect. Now, with a lot of teams kicking the ball high and short, if you can pin the team down inside the 20(-yard line), then even better. Obviously, the numbers are going to go up for the defense and down for the offense. There’s definitely some interesting (research there).”

(On when deferring became popular and if there was a recent rule change) – “I don’t know the exact year that deferring came into (play). I’m not going to lie to you, I don’t know the exact year. It might outdate me a little bit. But since the defer has been an option, I know you have a lot of defensive coaches, the defensive head coaches – a guy like Bill Belichick came through on the defensive side, Bill Parcells came through on the defensive side – you got coaches like that … John Harbaugh has come through on the defensive side. If you look at their history – the defensive coaches – they kind of do it all the time. The defensive coaches would tell you … Now you have an offensive coaches … We do (have an offensive head coach here), but I think so far, Adam (Gase) has been great in terms of going through … That’s what we do in the offseason. We really study those things, those game management things. In perfect conditions … Obviously, wind, rain, all of those things are going to affect it in terms of what you’re going to do. For example, (if) the forecast (says) it’s going to downpour from the second quarter on, then you don’t want to defer. (You want to) get the ball early when it’s dry. So there are going to be different aspects that go come into it. But when you’re playing in a dome or you’re playing in good conditions or things like that, numbers will tell you – and again if you talk to different people, they’re skewed – but numbers would tell you that deferring is probably the best way to go, just in terms of the way the percentages have worked out over the last, let’s say 10 years in the NFL.”

(On the new kickoff rule and if it makes sense to return kickoffs that are in the end zone) – “It’s a great question. What you’re really seeing – and I was even watching last night’s (Cardinals vs. 49ers) game and it was the same thing – what a lot of people are trying to do is get that ball right to the goal line or just over, because now that returner – even if you’re playing 5 yards deep in the end zone and the ball is in the air – if you caught the ball and I ask you, ‘Where are you right now?’ It’s hard for that guy to realize where he is, because he’s focusing on the football. So, if you look last week at the Patriots (vs.) Bills game, the first kickoff the game, the guy is like 1-yard deep. He’s not sure if he’s out (of the end zone), he stutters, he comes out, then all of a sudden he realizes he’s on the field, he starts to run and gets tackled inside the 10(-yard line). Those decisions are becoming harder and harder. Now, those guys need help back there – the guy fielding the ball – with the communication. I’m going to stand here and tell you that we have not done a good job of communication at a couple points this year. That needs to improve, and it’s something we’re working on every day. But it’s a really good question, because a lot of people are kicking it high and short. When it lands on the 1- or 2- or 3-yard line, it’s obvious, you’re going to roll with it. But it’s that minus-1, minus-2, right at the goal line, those decisions are what you’re seeing in the first four weeks, where guys are going to get caught in that purgatory, if you will.”

(On if a year ago, guys would have just gone for it when catching a kickoff just inside the end zone) – “100 percent. Most of the time, I would say maybe there’s a couple of teams in the past where, if it was in the end zone, they were staying in. They were just more conservative approaches. In the past, usually you see – and again, this is generally speaking – usually you see teams line up their guys 6 or 7 (yards) deep. If (the returner) is coming forward, and it’s within the numbers, and he’s coming forward downhill, he’s coming out with the ball. Now you’re not seeing that. You’re seeing those guys staying in, and you’re seeing those wide kicks out by the numbers where it’s a really uphill play – guys are staying in. The problematic kick has been the one that’s just over the goal line, because let’s be honest, those guys that are back there, they want to make plays. Those returners, they’re all playmakers. When they can get the ball in their hand and get an opportunity, they want to make a play. It’s no different than Kenyan (Drake) or Damien Williams or Jakeem Grant. All those guys, they want the ball, and they want a chance to help the team and make a big play. It’s the decision-making and the communication on the back end that a couple of times this year has gotten us and gotten a lot of other teams too. When the NFL instituted this rule, I don’t think they thought out of every last detail; but one of the interesting details that I think is really neat is you’re finding that the kickoff return formation and personnel is completely changing. You look at team by team and then look at the kickoff teams … In the old days where you had – I say the old days, (I mean) five years ago – you had much bigger people busting up wedges. That’s kind of come to an end. You’re seeing teams with seven, eight (and) nine defensive backs, receivers (and) running backs going down because people want speed on the field, because you’re going to kick it high and short. The play is almost turning into more of a punt return, if you will, where you don’t see as many double teams and kick outs and bigger guys out there like we’re used to growing up with the old kickoff. You’re not seeing that. So, the play has changed. To me, because of what I do for a living, it’s really become a neat strategy type of thing. The play has changed dramatically.”

(On what would happen if he put a big return unit and the opponent still had little guys out there) – “It’s hard for a big person to block a little person if he’s quick and fast in the open space. More on special teams than anything, because a lot of times, it’s hard. You have those guys back there and they’re kind of sitting and waiting. That guy has a 40, 45-yard head start, and he’s running full speed, and he’s doing this and weaving, and he’s a skill guy. That’s hard for those (big) guys to move in open space, which is why you’re seeing a lot of these plays getting tackled inside the 25. It’s become an interesting deal. Last night, opening kickoff, if you watch the game – San Francisco and Arizona last night – San Francisco pooches one, Arizona blocks everybody up, and they had a huge return. It can go both ways. Not every pooch kick is getting tackled inside the 25. I think that’s a little bit of a misconception as well. Not every single time you’re pooching the ball is it staying down there. But I think what you’re looking at is – percentage wise – the high and short kicks, the majority of the time they’re getting tackled inside the 25 right now. But it really has changed the dynamic of the play. It’s a totally different play. Then you have kickers that can do everything. (They) can kick it deep, kick it short, kick it right, kick it left, directional. Now it really adds a different dimension to it. It’s definitely a strategy type of thing, for sure.”

(On how the loss of CB Xavien Howard affects special teams) – “He provided some depth. Obviously, it’s the next man up type of thing for however long he’s out. I don’t know the timetable right now with that. A guy like Jordan Lucas, for example, that may not have been active every week, a guy like that comes into the mix potentially. We’ll obviously talk about the inactives and where we are. But he hasn’t been a guy that’s been active every week, so certainly he’s going to be part of the discussion. Some of the skill guys – the receivers, the running backs – those guys will come into the mix and the discussion of who is going to be active.”

Adam Gase – October 7, 2016 Download PDF version

Friday, October 7, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

(On how good it was to get T Branden Albert back in practice today and if he will be good enough to play) – “Yes. If he feels better, we should be in good shape. Obviously he’s got something going on there, as far as some kind of virus. I don’t know what’s going on as far as the actual diagnosis of anything; but he’s just got to keep hydrating. He obviously feels better than he did yesterday and the day before that. I think it’s less about the actual injury he had and more the sickness.”

(On if he wishes to share his plan of attack at running back) – “No. I have a good idea what we’re going to do, but we’ll wait until Sunday on that one.”

(On if CB Xavien Howard needs knee surgery) – “Yes. So he’s going to be obviously out this week. He had a meniscus repair. Same knee. Different than what it was the first time. As of right now, he’ll still be on the active roster. It’s really going to be kind of how the rehab goes, how fast everything … as far as him being able to come back. Obviously for us, it’ll be a week-to-week deal. We’ll just kind of see how well everything basically takes for him. It’s tough when you just went through this and then now you have to go through it again. It becomes part mental and physical at this point.”

(On if he feel like he has enough cornerbacks to make it through that stretch) – “Yes. We’re just going to have to keep getting better out there. I know guys are competing hard and trying to make sure that they’re ready to go and doing what’s right. We’ve had a couple of good days of practice and obviously we feel like (Howard’s) a really good young player and he’s brought a lot to our defense. We need guys to just go and do their job and make plays.”

(On how close CB Chris Culliver is to returning to practice) – “Once we kind of get into that PUP range, he should be out there. We’re still just making sure that we can get him as strong as possible. Obviously we have that window to keep evaluating him when we can get him on the field. When that time comes then obviously he’ll be in the conversation very fast.”

(On the odds that he will have all five starting offensive linemen on Sunday) – “It’s pretty good. We’ll see. Like I said, we’ll see if we have anything come up here in the next day and a half or so; but we should be in good shape and hopefully we can get those five guys out there.”

(On C Mike Pouncey getting through the week well) – “Yes, it seems like it, unless something comes about here in the next 48 hours or so. We should be in good shape.”

(On if he anticipates those five starting offensive linemen falling into a rhythm since they haven’t been out there together) – “I don’t think we have a choice. If we get those five guys out there, we’re just going to have to try to grow quick together and that’s including the way we game plan, the play calling, unning backs, those guys. It takes the full group to kind of make this thing roll. We’ll try to get it going as fast as possible.”

(On there only being five games since 2004 that T Branden Albert, C Mike Pouncey and T Ja’Wuan James started and finished a game together) – “I don’t know. I was at LSU in 2004. Wow, I didn’t realize we had that kind of …” (laughter)

(On T Branden Albert, C Mike Pouncey and T Ja’Wuan James only starting and finishing seven games together since 2014) – “I can’t explain that. I know this. It would be nice if we could get through a game and whatever five we’re starting with, finish with those five and just kind of see what our result is.”

(On what has encouraged him this week) – “I think the energy level, the way we executed in practice (and) how guys have been on it in meetings. For me, I feel like guys are taking it home with them and trying to make sure when they come back the next day, that they know what to do and we’re able to play fast. I think guys are starting to get comfortable as far as what’s being called, when things are being called, where they’re supposed to go, their job assignments – all those type of things. I think guy,s when you start getting deeper and deeper in the offense their first year, that’s what should happen. That’s why those first four games, you can’t go one way or the other. You just keep working to get better.”

(On if he changed his approach at all this week) – “I think really the one thing that we encouraged this week was let’s get our energy level going, just making sure every day we go out there its full throttle, it’s game speed (and) we’re competing. We encourage the scout team to try to pick balls off. We encourage them to try to compete with the wide outs and make sure we make it as tough as possible. I think the scout team defense did a great job this week as far as challenging those guys and then those guys responded as far as practicing fast.”

(On if CB Byron Maxwell is back in the starting lineup with CB Xavien Howard out) – “Yes. He will. He’s going to go back in there. That’s why in this league, you can’t get all upset about what happens one week from the other because things change fast.”

(On how CB Byron Maxwell responded) – “Obviously when it initially happened, he wasn’t happy; but he never changed in practice. You could tell because we know. The way he was … (his) professionalism was great the last 10 or so days.”

(On what he hopes that fans will see from this four-game home stretch about his team) – “Improvement. Basically all the way around, all three phases. And we’re looking to play as a full group instead of one side doing good and the other side’s not so good, special teams carrying us. We need to have three phases coming together and then we need to start playing better complimentary football. If we do our job on offense, it’s going to help the defense. (If the) defense does their job, it’s going to help the offense. Special teams, (if) we make some kind of game changing play and shorten the field up, that’s going to help their entire team. That’s where we need to start heading. These four weeks are going to be critical for us because we don’t have to travel. We’re able to play at our home stadium in front of our home fans, so this is a great opportunity for us.”

(On if he feels like we’ve seen the real identity of an Adam Gase team) – “I think we’re still a work in progress right now. I think we’re headed in the right direction as far as what we want to develop as our organization. Guys are putting in the work. That’s really what you want it at the beginning of the day and that’s what you’re asking for as a coach. You want guys to come in 0-0 every week, put the time in, and then on Sundays, you should see the result you want. (For) us, having a four-game stretch here at home, this is a great chance for us to kind of get things moving in the right direction.”

(On if LB Neville Hewitt or LB Donald Butler would start in base with LB Koa Misi out) – “We’ve got different packages. It depends what (Defensive Coordinator) Vance (Joseph) decides to call. Obviously, with (Misi) being out, we’ll have some moving parts. I know last week when they used a whole bunch of different personnel groupings on that side. We’ll kind of see … how they start sometimes dictates how we start.”

(On if one game and one win change the trajectory of a season) – “I don’t think any one game can ever, one way or the other. In this league, you better bring it every week, no matter who you’re playing, and then when that week’s over, you’ve got to reset everything and start over again. That’s the key. If you get beat bad, you better come back quick. If you win, then next Sunday nobody cares. You better come back out there and do it again.”

(On if he believes in momentum) – “It just changes so much in this league.”

(On what he sees in young wide receivers and weapons the Titans have on the flanks such as WR Tajae Sharpe) – “Any time you’ve got young guys playing at those positions, there’s the good and the bad. One: you get a guy that … young guys are always confident coming into this league all the time. When you dominate in the college level, you expect the same thing in this level, and when you get a guy that comes in and he’s confident, but then he works and he gets to go against these pro corners in practice, if that confidence builds, it makes it tough during games because they still feel like they did when they were in college. Sometimes it can work against you too. When you think you’re too good and you don’t work as hard, that’s where you can get in trouble. And that position, usually you go one way or the other. That’s the toughest part about coaching that position. You need guys that can work and want to get better and really want to compete every day because if you don’t, it’s not going to translate to the game. If you don’t work hard in practice, it won’t translate and you have to make sure you go out there and compete every day. That’s why, with our guys, and they’re young, and they get a chance to go against our corners. Every day you’ve got to compete.”

(On how much of a relief that the game is being played here) – “We were ready to go. We would have been fine with whatever happened. Wherever we played, we would have been good to go.”

Ryan Tannehill – October 5, 2016 (Conference Call) Download PDF version

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill Conference Call with Tennessee Media

(On how he feels the Titans secondary did last week against Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins) – “They did a really good job. He’s one of the top receivers in the league and they did a really good job of making things tough on him. I came away impressed on how they played last week.”

(On the possible returns of C Mike Pouncey and T Branden Albert) – “It’s exciting to have them back. Mike Pouncey (is) one of the best centers in the league, if not the best – just his abilities on the field, as well as his leadership capabilities on the offensive line. It’ll be great to have him back this week and we’re still unsure about ‘B.A.’ (Branden Albert) but if he is healthy and ready to go, we’d be glad to have him. He’s our starting left tackle for a reason. If we can have our starters out there healthy, that’s what we want.”

(On what makes WR Jarvis Landry a productive wide receiver) – “He’s just an all-around football player. I think he loves the game of football; he loves to compete. He goes out and competes every day and he’s talented. He has some of the best hands that I’ve ever seen. He has a knack of finding ways to get open and then doing it consistently. You put those two things together with his ability to get open and then great hands, that gives you one of the top receivers in the league.”

(On how the team can improve on third downs and how important that is) – “It’s hugely important. We’re not where we want to be at right now on third downs. It just comes down to execution – execution on first and second down, putting ourselves in third-and-manageable – and then when we do have third downs, executing the plays and making the plays that are there. We’ve had our opportunities. We’re a few plays away from being where we want to be at on third down. We have to make those plays when we have our chances.”

(On how much time or extra work it takes to perfect the timing with receivers) – “Well, it takes time. You just spend time in practice – whether it’s during special teams periods, before or after practice – just making sure you’re getting the work you need to make sure everyone is on the same page. That’s part of playing the game. It’s just finding little things that can make yourself better and make the guys around you better.”

(On what stands out to him about the Titans defense) – “I think first and foremost, it’s a good front. They have a really good front – physical. They want to make it tough throwing the football. (Jurrell Casey)’s a great football player. He’s quick. He’s big. He’s strong. He really has everything you look for from a d-tackle and then you look at their ends, they’re able to get pressure with their ends with speed and power on the edge. They have a really solid front that’s going to be tough for our front guys to handle. A good challenge for us.”

Adam Gase – October 5, 2016 (Conference Call) Download PDF version

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase Conference Call with Tennessee Media

(On if he has ever dealt with a situation like this with a hurricane and how the Dolphins are handling it) – “I think the closest I ever came was we thought we were going to have one when I was at LSU one time. I think it was 2000. Nothing really happened as far as us having bad enough weather to where it affected any kind of game. I know we missed out on a day of practice, but this is obviously something different than anything I’ve gone through before.”

(On how closely the situation is being monitored and when is there a deadline on making a decision about Sunday’s game) – “Basically our front office, our team president, ownership, those guys are all in communication. As far as my part of this, I’m basically worrying about coaching the team right now and then those guys are giving me a heads up of whenever we have to take a next step regarding anything.”

(On if he has a deadline to move the game that he’s aware of at this point in time) – “No.”

(On the pressure the Dolphins got on Titans QB Marcus Mariota last year and what he has seen differently on film from them this year) – “You have to look at it every year as a different year. When you’re a quarterback of his skill set, when you go from year one to year two, it really changes the game; the more you play the more experience you get. A lot of times the quarterback can be the bail out in those situations where you are getting pressure on the quarterback. Obviously he’s going to be able to help, probably a lot more this year than he did in the past; but I’m sure they’ll have something as far as how to take care of certain things that we do with our pass rush. Pressures, things like that. I mean it’s really going to come down to – for us – it’s really executing our game plan and then trying to do the best we can to keep him in the pocket and not let him … being able to be not only a passer but a runner as well.”

(On what he sees when he looks at the Titans offensive line) – “Any time that you start adding new players and then you also have … experience starts to come into play as far as guys getting used to playing together, guys getting years in the league. You’re always going to see improvement. You’re going to start to see guys feeling comfortable in the system that they’re running. A lot of times it is an experience thing. It is a continuity thing with the offensive line and I’m sure the longer that group can kind of hang together, they’ll just keep getting better. I know as far as our front goes against them, it’s always going to be a tough matchup because we know what they bring as far as the running game. They keep you off balance as far as pass rushers go.”

(On how G/T Laremy Tunsil coming along) – “He’s done a good job. When you move to guard and you’ve been a tackle your whole life, it’s a completely different animal for him because those guys are on you so quick. They’re different sized bodies. You’re not dealing with quickness so much as you are with power. With both of our guards, they both were tackles and it’s been a learning experience. Him being a rookie and our right guard (Jermon Bushrod) is in his 10th year in the league, it’s been just as hard for him as it has been for Tunsil. The more we get out there, the more we play, the more practice we get, the better he’s got. I mean, him sliding out to left tackle last week, that was a tough adjustment because now all of a sudden everything you’ve kind of learned from left guard, now you’ve got to revert to what you knew as the left tackle. Even though he had reps in training camp and we tried to get him some reps in preseason games, it’s just not the same when you get into a live game and all of a sudden now you’re the left tackle.”

(On if he expects T Branden Albert back and how can he and C Mike Pouncey stabilize that unit) – “It looked good for Branden (Albert) as far as coming back from his injury. He’s been sick the last two days so we haven’t been able to have him out at practice. We’ll just kind of see as the week goes on, obviously it being Wednesday right now, we have some time left here before the game. If if we can get him to play and then obviously if everything keeps going smoothly with (Mike) Pouncey, that’s a big help to us because those two guys are veteran players. They are leaders. It changes kind of the atmosphere in that group and with our offense, there’s a lot of confidence there between those two guys. Those are two guys that we really lean on heavily. When things aren’t quite going right, they’re guys that are able to kind of help everybody go in the right direction.”

(On the strategy of using one running back versus multiple running backs) – “I think you do whatever works for you. When you look at DeMarco (Murray), he is a guy that, when you get him involved in a game and you keep him in and you’re getting him touches, he gets in a good rhythm and all of a sudden you’re at 70 yards with him and all of a sudden it becomes 130 really fast. He’s a hard guy to take out of a game. The good thing is when you do have more than one back, as the season goes on, I’m sure it’ll probably start to look different as the season goes on. With all of us only being four games done and going into the fifth one, it’s so early in the season, and it’s a long season. And when you play that position, when you have a guy that your carries start going down and his go up, it helps you when you get going towards the end of the year.”

(On what he saw from RB Derrick Henry in the preseason) – “Obviously, he shredded us. He looked like a grown man out there, for sure. That’s what I know. He’s a player that we really liked coming out of the draft. Obviously, with a lot of our ties that we have to (Alabama Head) Coach (Nick) Saban, we’re always interested in a lot of guys that he has. We have a lot of guys going through that school, because they have so many good players. (Derrick Henry) was a guy that a lot of our scouts and personnel guys really were very interested in.”

(On the strengths of the Titans’ defense) – “Obviously with who they’re being coached by, their scheme is very sound. Their defensive line makes it very difficult. I’m kind of including the outside linebackers in that, as well. It makes it very tough to 1) Run the football; but also when you go to pass it, we better be sound in what we’re doing. It takes one little slip up and all of a sudden the quarterback is on the ground. We have to do a great job as far as understanding what we’re dealing with, with the front. They make it very tough. Obviously, everybody … The team speed is really good. The linebackers can run, and the secondary has been put in a really good position as far as, ‘Do your job, hold up, and that front is going to get there.’”

(On OLB Brian Orakpo) – “He looks good to me, at least from what I’ve seen. (From) the film that I’ve watched, he looks disruptive. What they do with him on third down makes it tough on the offense. I guess it has been a couple years since I’ve seen him, but he looked like he’s doing really well.”

(On Senior Pass Rush Specialist Jim Washburn) – “I would say the No. 1 thing is we hired him, because we wanted that attitude. We wanted that attacking style. I love the way that he coaches players – kind of that old-school mentality. We wanted that in our program as we got this thing started. He has done so much good for our program as far as setting the tempo to what we’re looking for as a defensive unit. He has been a big part of that. I feel like our guys are getting better. I love the way that the players work with him in practice. I love the intensity and the aggressiveness that he brings when he coaches his players.”

(On DE Jason Jones) – “He has been great. He has been one of our guys that has been a pleasant surprise as far as leadership goes. He doesn’t say much, but he does so many things right – the way he practices, the way he plays the game, the way he prepares for the game, the way he takes care of his body to try to make sure he’s available every week. He has been a guy that has really impacted us for the positive, as far as what we want to be moving forward. When you’re 1-3, you want to keep basically (saying), ‘One week at a time. We’ll make sure that we’re right for this week figuring out a way to get better.’ And he has been one of those guys that has been leading the charge in trying to find a way to win a game.”

(On improving on third down) – “I think the biggest thing for us (is) we have to make sure we do a good job of executing the plays that we’ve been calling. Sometimes it’s there; sometimes it’s not. But when we do have our opportunities and we have somebody open, we either got to catch it, or we got to complete it. For us, we put a 15-play cut-up together of third downs that we missed. (If) we complete seven of those, all of a sudden, you’re vaulted into the top 10. They were plays that we feel like that our guys can make and protection-type things that we can clean up. For us, it’s really, stay on the details, and we need to execute at the end of the day. I think our guys are trying to do the right stuff. It’s just when the pressure is on, we have to make sure we’re making the play.”

Adam Gase – October 5, 2016 Download PDF version

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Head Coach Adam Gase

(On if CB Xavien Howard was out at practice today) – “He got tangled up yesterday. We’re still in the evaluation stage with him right now. We’re going to get through the rest of this week (and) kind of see where we’re at. If he needed to go somewhere, we can’t send him anywhere. Our doctors are still looking at him. We’ll keep doing our deal with our trainers and our local doctors and kind of see where it takes us here leading up to Sunday.”

(On if CB Xavien Howard has another knee issue) – “It’s a possibility. We’ve just got to see. It’s not a major deal. We’ve just got to make sure that we check all the boxes. We’re being obviously cautious because of what happened in the spring. The way he’s been playing, obviously we want to make sure that we’re doing right leading up to the rest of the season.”

(On opposing offenses utilizing three-step drops and if that is frustrating for the defensive line and how they combat that) – “The hard part about that is you try to say, ‘Hey, get your hands up,’ but the way that we pass rush, it’s tough to tell those guys to do that when the way they come off the ball. They come off very aggressive, very fast and they penetrate very quickly. That’s why I keep bringing up it’s a team deal, as far as helping that crew out, as far as giving them the opportunity to pass rush more. And when a team is up on you or is able to stay balanced throughout a game, now that limits their pass rushes. That’s why the offense and defense are so tied together because if you do your job on offense, you start putting up points on the board, you get a lead, and all of a sudden you’re letting those guys do what we’re trying to pay them to do, as far as letting them pass rush more often. That’s why the offense is critical in helping that pass rush out.”

(On how he expects CB Byron Maxwell to respond to his demotion at Cincinnati) – “That’s professional football. This is not the first time anybody’s ever been a starter, then dressed for the game and not played, and then had another opportunity to go back on the field. That’s what makes this game a little tougher than what a lot of people give it credit for, as far as you have to come to work every day, and when your number is called, you need to be ready to go. I’ve always expected him, no matter what has happened, to come out, compete every day in practice, and then when his opportunity comes in games, we’re looking for him to make plays. We’re looking for him to get hands on the ball. We’re looking for him to have tight coverage. When I watch him practice the last two days, he’s come out and he’s competed, and that’s what we expect from him.”

(On if he’s seen a change in WR DeVante Parker) – “I have over the long period of time, the longer we’ve gone through this thing. He’s done a good job as far as making sure he’s doing those little things. I can tell he’s way more engaged in meetings, for sure. So whatever he’s doing outside the building, he’s doing it right because you can tell when a guy’s either not sleeping enough (or) doing something outside the building that’s preventing him to sleep enough. He’s been engaged for probably, especially the last month. I can tell since we’ve started the season, the way that he pays attention to installations in team meetings and things like that. It’s important to make sure that he corrects whatever we were having issues with. As of lately, it’s just like every week we go and the more we practice, I can tell he’s feeling better. His body’s feeling better. We’re starting to see him stretch it out a little bit. We’re able to kind of do some deeper routes down the field, as far as trying to create some of that timing that we need when you run those kind of routes.”

(On what type of atmosphere he hopes to create at Hard Rock Stadium) – “The biggest thing that we need to do is we need to make sure that we’re putting a great product on the field. I felt like last game, the crowd was great. You could tell how in it everybody was. They were very energetic, especially when our defense was on the field; it got loud quite a bit. We have to put out a better product than we showed the last time we were out there. That’s what this season is going to be about for us, we’ve got to keep getting better every week. That’s going to be key to us. If we do that, that gives us our best chance. I think that the crowd, they’ll keep getting louder and louder and louder, (if) we start getting a lead, we let that pass rush go. That’s what we want to create.”

(On how valuable DE Jason Jones’ versatility is for the defense) – “He’s a key piece for us, because 1) He does a good job against the run game; but when we do a lot of the things as far as stirring the front up, he’s one of the ring leaders – him and (Ndamukong) Suh. (They) orchestrate that up front as far as who’s doing what. A lot of the ideas – between the d-line coaches and those guys – they’ve been through quite a few games. They know what works. They know what works against certain guys. They know what works versus certain defenses. Having another veteran guy out there, that’s always key. Experience is something that you really can’t measure sometimes. A guy like that, he can destroy the pocket by setting a pick for somebody else and really sacrificing himself to free another guy.”

(On what he has learned about the depth on offense and defense through four games) – “I feel like we have more than probably what we give ourselves credit for sometimes. I know everybody is trying to nitpick at every little thing. Going into the season did we have some questions? Sure, just like every other NFL team. It’s really about getting guys prepared and making sure that when their opportunity does come, that they know what to do, and they show us physically that they can do it. For the most part, we haven’t skipped a beat as far as guys knowing what to do. It’s just sometimes we get beat physically sometimes. For the most part, we’ve been pretty good as far as what our assignments are, knowing what to do and putting ourselves in the right position.”

(On whether C/G Anthony Steen starting three games was the biggest surprise so far) – “I think we’ve talked about him during training camp, because it was … When he became the starter, I think it was a surprise to a lot of people. Seeing him from OTAs and then moving forward and once we got into training camp (and) put the pads on, you noticed that he was doing things a little different than everybody else. That’s what accelerated him ahead of a couple guys. I would say, yes. Has he been a pleasant surprise? Absolutely. I think we can keep bringing other guys along as well as far as (telling them), ‘Work hard. Know what to do. When you get your opportunity, take advantage of it.’”

(On whether DE Julius Warmsley was another pleasant surprise) – “I think so. It’s easier to see with him. When you sack the quarterback – (you) make plays, tackle for loss, you’re making tackles all over the field – that makes it easier to say, ‘That guy seems like a player.’ When you’re on the offensive line, it’s hard to see everything. You just know a lot of times if you’re a tackle, you either get beat or you don’t. It’s harder to see when you’re playing center and guard sometimes.”

(On proceeding as if CB Xavien Howard isn’t available on Sunday) – “We’re just going to have plans for both. (Defensive Coordinator) ‘V.J.’ (Vance Joseph) does a good job as far as making sure that we have contingency plans, so if for some reason we get to that point on Sunday – to where he can’t go – then we’ll have options. Obviously today we had to shuffle a couple of things around; but that’s ball. I mean that happens during games all the time. Except now, we’ll probably have a good idea (if he’s going to be) inactive (or) active. ”

(On contingency plans for Hurricane Matthew and what he is going to tell his players before they leave today) – “Our biggest thing is making sure that everybody’s being smart. We want the safety of our players and our staff and the people in our building, to make sure that everybody’s doing the right thing, making sure that they are putting themselves in a position where we get everybody back (and) everybody is safe and sound. That’s the scariest thing for us, is just making sure that everybody’s being smart once they leave here because we can’t hold everybody’s hand. Everybody has to be grown-ups, everybody has to be a man in that locker room and make sure that they do the right things to keep themselves safe.”

(On RB Kenyan Drake’s experience in a pro-style offense in college and if it is serving him well this season) ­– “It doesn’t hurt. Playing for (Alabama Offensive Coordinator) Lane (Kiffin), he’s got a good variety of things. Being in that system with (Alabama Head) Coach (Nick) Saban, that benefits guys quite a bit; just the way that you should practice, the way that you should go about your business. Sometimes, young guys get off track a little bit. They forget what the most important thing is for you, and that’s this. Whatever you want to do outside this building isn’t as important as what you’re doing here.”

(On the difference of running backs coming from spread offenses and pro-style offenses) – “I think sometimes guys aren’t used to the under-center run game – a little bit of the patience. When you come from the gun, things happen a little quicker. You might not have to read things out. It’s basically the offensive line is cut in half, to where you’re saying, ‘Read the back side,’ or ’Read the front side.’ When you’re under center, you’ve got a lot of room to work with. That’s probably the biggest change for these guys. It’s like anything else with NFL players, for the most part, when they get to the pros, and they get in the flow of everything, they adapt quickly.”

(On if he told the players to stay home tomorrow) – “The way that we had everything scheduled, obviously we practiced yesterday. So we treated yesterday like a Wednesday, today like a Thursday. Tomorrow, is kind of like what we did with the Seattle trip. Tomorrow was going to be a lift, recovery day with meetings and a walkthrough. And then we were going to head into Friday like a normal Friday. Well, obviously because of the situation that we’re in right now, it’s more than just the players in this situation. We have to make sure that our staff in the building takes care of what they need to take care of. We can’t just have all our players running around the building, so we’ve closed the building for tomorrow. That allows everybody to prepare for what they need to prepare for, and then we’ll try to get our players back in the building on Friday.”

(On if he’s staying home) – “I’m going to stay somewhere.” (laughter)

(On the possibility of the game being moved either to another site or another day and how that disturbs the season or practices) – “When anything like this happens, the one thing that I can say is that (the) only (thing) NFL players, coaches and staff members can do is adjust. You go with the flow. If somebody tells you, ‘Hey, you have to do this.’ You just go with it. There’s no use to worrying about it, complaining about it, because there’s nothing you can do about it. You make your plans accordingly and then you move on and get that done.”

(On how RB Arian Foster and T Branden Albert are doing) – “Branden is still recovering. He’s been sick the last two days. He was here for a walkthrough and meetings. He should be okay and hopefully he starts feeling better. As far as Arian goes, we had him out there today. He did some individual. He was running around quite a bit. I know he’s itching to get back. We just want to make sure that we’re smart. We don’t want to do the, ‘Alright you’re up, now you’re down for two games.’ We want to make sure when we get him back, we’ve got him back for the duration.”

(On if teams are more reluctant to play Cover 1 against QB Marcus Mariota and why that is the case) – “It’s an interesting situation when you have a quarterback that can do what he can do. When you have a guy that can move and then take over a game with his feet, now all of a sudden you’re in man coverage and everybody can get dragged out of one area of the field and he takes off – there’s nobody there. That’s why you see a lot of teams don’t play Cover 1 versus guys that can move outside the pocket. That’s why you have to be careful with a guy … you have to be very careful how you play a quarterback with the ability to do so much. You have to be smart and you have to be disciplined. That’s going to be key for us.”

(On how you contain Titans RB DeMarco Murray who you know will get the ball but is hard to stop) – “You do the best you can. It’s hard to compare the two because they’re two different positions, but it’s like (Cincinnati Bengals WR) A.J. Green. You know that they’re going to get certain statistics. You try to do everything you can to prevent them from scoring, trying to change field position. You just try to make everything they do hard. You try to make sure that it’s not a 35-yard gain. You try to hold things into non-explosive type plays and make him earn everything he gets. We know he’s going to get a certain amount of yards. We know he’s going to get touches in the passing game. We have to do a great job of making sure that we’re disciplined on defense, making sure we’re gang-tackling. When we have a chance to get him down, get him down. Don’t let him break a tackle. We have to be swarming to the ball. When he has his big games, it’s because you have one-on-one and he ends up running a guy over or making a guy miss. So we have to play team defense against him. If you do that, it gives you your best chance. You might walk out of the game and all of a sudden he has 90 yards and you might say that was a good day. It’s the same thing when you’re dealing with a great wide receiver. If you get out of the game and he has no touchdowns but he might have a few yards and he didn’t really change field position and he had 12 catches, you might look at it as a good day. Every situation is a little bit different. You can’t go over the top and be like, ‘Oh, we got smoked by that guy,’ when details-wise, you might go back and look at it and be like, ‘It really wasn’t that bad.’”

(On if he takes the approach of containing Titans RB DeMarco Murray and letting others beat you or do you pick your poison) – “You go into your game plan and you decide, ‘Who can’t you let beat you?’ And that’s what you try to do. Sometimes that’s what happens with the great players in this league – they figure out a way to still do it. That’s what makes it tough. You have to do everything you can to try to make sure their best players don’t beat you, and then you have to be good everywhere else, as far as when you get one-on-one matchups, you can’t let somebody that you anticipated, ‘Hey, we think we’re going to be able to shut this guy down,’ and then you don’t. It’s a tough assignment. When you have a really, really good player, you’ve got to try to take him away but sometimes those guys still figure out a way to be heavily involved in the game.”

(On why RB DeMarco Murray wasn’t in the conversation in the offseason trade with Philadelphia since they traded him too) – “I don’t remember his name coming up when we were discussing the defensive guys. I’m trying to think back, but I don’t remember them ever really offering him to us.”

(On if he has a general rule of when he pulls a quarterback in a blowout) – “Not really. I keep thinking about to 2013. If we were ever up and we tried to pull (Peyton Manning), it was like World War III. (laughter) The way I always looked at it is, the quarterback a lot of times, if you’re up, he’ll tell you, ‘We’re good.’ But a lot of times, these guys don’t want to come off the field. They want to be out there the whole time. They don’t want to be looked at any differently than anybody else. I know (Manning) was always kind of like, ‘Well, my center is in, why am I not in?’ That would be the first thing he would say, ‘D.T. (Demaryius Thomas) is in, Emmanuel (Sanders) is in, (Eric) Decker is in, why am I not in the game?’ When you go into a game, there are only so many guys that are up so somebody is staying in the game. It’s not like college where you have 85 reserves in the back end. These guys don’t like to come out of the game and I’ve never been one to really … I’ve never pulled a quarterback. That’s just not something that I do.”

(On if it enters his mind that fans want a starting quarterback pulled during a blowout) – “No. It’s football. That’s what it is.”

Mario Williams – October 5, 2016 Download PDF version

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Defensive End Mario Williams

(On if he has any personal experiences dealing with hurricanes) – “Yes, growing up in North Carolina we had quite a few.”

(On what his hurricane experiences were like) – “Rain and wind.”

(On having any damage) – “Yes, sometimes there is some damage depending on which ones came. I can’t remember all the names of them; but most of them that came by this way, obviously (head) up north, get up to the coast, get up to North Carolina. Sometimes there’s damage; sometimes there’s flooding or whatever.”

(On the effect of Hurricane Katrina in Houston) – “Yes, I think the biggest thing is, you don’t know what you’re going to get at the end of the day. So, I think everybody is waiting to find out. Or waiting for it to turn or waiting for it to come up here. We’ll see what happens.”

(On the preparation he has done for Hurricane Matthew) – “None, I’ve been prepping for Tennessee. I mean, honestly we’re here practicing and everything. I haven’t really had the chance to get out. I did go out yesterday and people were already pretty much bare inside the stores.”

(On any truth to the rumor that he once drove through a hurricane) – “I do a lot of things in the weather. Not necessarily risky things, but some of the ones that are a little weaker. I mean, if it’s a (Category) 4, that’s a different story. But yes, I still venture out.”

(On Tennessee’s rushing attack and if RB Demarco Murray is more elusive than people give him credit for) – “Yes, he’s definitely pretty quick. That’s one of those things that makes him the back he is. He’s not just fast, but he can make guys miss and he’s a big guy, so he’s tough to tackle as well.”

(On what has he seen from QB Marcus Mariota) – “He’s calm. I think the biggest thing is him keeping his composure, going through his reads and making right decisions. They are not asking a whole lot of him with the running game they have; but as long as he can keep the game in control and not turn the ball over, I think that is pretty much what they want him to do.”

(On what makes mobile quarterbacks so difficult to contain) – “I think the biggest thing is just staying after it – when they get running and things like that – as a whole, not just one person, everybody has to play a running quarterback. In this situation, the most important thing we need to do first and foremost is win first down (and) stop the run.”

(On if the conversation in the locker room has been about the Titans, Hurricane Matthew or both)  – “No, it’s been completely Titans. I’ll say all of us, we haven’t went anywhere and gotten anything for the hurricane. So, it’s all Titans. Believe me.”

(On does it concern him to not be ready for Hurricane Matthew) – “No, I’m ready. I mean, if it comes, it comes. You deal with it. We have to do what we have to do – be ready for anything.”

(On they have water bottles at the facility for you) – “I don’t know, do we?”

(On the defense having 10 sacks while quarterbacks are utilizing a lot of quick throws and three-step drops and if the team’s sack total is impressive because of that) – “It’s been difficult, especially last game. If you time snap to throw, it’s pretty quick. At the same time, we’ve got to find a way to manage that; try to find a way to stop the quick throws however (we can) – if it’s tighter coverage, or us getting our hands up or whatever. We’ve got to figure something out because it is, more than not, quick passes so far. It has only been four games, so we’ll see what ends up happening at the end of the day; but right now, it’s been pretty quick. We’ve got to figure something out. If it’s not a sack, a batted ball is just as good.”

(On if that’s frustrating as a defensive line) –“No, because like I said, it’s only four games. At the end of the year, it is what it is at that point. But right now, we’ve still got plenty of games to play.”

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