Coach Fisher's Conference Call to Houston Media

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HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER**

(on the Texans-Titans rivalry and the way it's developed)

"I think over the last couple of years, both teams had high expectations and there have been great games between the two. Certainly the Texans have done a great job building their football team and putting a very competitive team on the field and a very potent offense. I thought that we were going to be a little better than we are and when you get two good teams battling it's going to always be those kinds of things come up."

(on how he deals with having a disappointing season after having high expectations to start the year)

"The players keep playing and keep preparing. Right now, there is still an outside chance, so you come back to work and put the loss in perspective or the win in perspective and you move on. I think they're professionals and they have a responsibility. I've been particularly proud of the way our guys have bounced back week after week. We've had some very unique injury situations obviously at the quarterback position with instability there. We've had some injuries up from in the defensive line, which has created some problems for us."

(on the latest on Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger)

"He's doing well. He's back to work. He's in between treatment sessions right now. The side effects, from his standpoint, have been minimal. I'm just very proud of his commitment to this organization and to this football team and more specifically the offense."

(on if he sees Titans CB Cortland Finnegan and Texans WR Andre Johnson in another confrontation and risking themselves being suspended)

"With Cort (Titans CB Cortland Finnegan), we are going to match him up the best we can and he's going to play this game as hard as he possibly can and try to do his part to contribute to a win. In my opinion, I don't think Cort did anything to deserve to be suspended or ejected from that game. Of course he's going to line up and play."

(on what makes Titans CB Cortland Finnegan and Texans WR Andre Johnson so special)

"I think (WR) Andre (Johnson) is probably the top receiver in the league right now. He's got great ability. He's a great player and a great competitor and I'm sure he's a great teammate. Cort (Titans CB Cortland Finnegan) is a great competitor and he plays a different position, he's a defender. He plays with a short memory and he fights, scratches and claws every down. For the most part, he plays within the rules. Yes, he's had his share of fines for play-related things. Not a lot of his fines were from outside the line. I think he has a reputation around the league that if most people got to know him they would feel otherwise."

(on comments from Texans T Eric Winston claiming that the Titans are coached dirty)

"I don't pay any attention to it. There is a lot of stuff that's going on that we're unaware of in the trenches and I don't pay attention to it. I think you got to be careful to say those kinds of things."

(on what did he like about DT Malcolm Sheppard to sign him from the Texans practice squad)

"We got a good grade on him and our guys thought that he was athletic and played with strength and smart guy that has some potential. We've got our share of injuries upfront, so we felt like that he could come in and help us out."

(on if DT Malcolm Sheppard will have a chance to play this week)

"I think he has a chance to be active. Yes."

(on if DT Malcolm Sheppard could be another Tony Brown)

"We just got him here. (defensive line) Coach (Jim) Washburn is a great teacher. So time will tell."

(on if QB Kerry Collins is at 100 percent)

 "(QB) Kerry (Collins) is as close as he's been all year. This will be his third full week of practice and his third start after coming back. He was much more comfortable last week than he was the week before. He had mobility in the pocket and threw much more accurately. I think he's going to improve the rest of the season. I know he's excited about playing and exciting about this challenge."

(on the status of WR Kenny Britt)

"He played in the game last week. He's had the weekend off. One would assume that there are not any issues with (WR) Kenny (Britt)."

(on if he stills has high expectations of getting WR Randy Moss more involved with WR Kenny Britt returning from injury)

"The production and the catches are not there. We certainly would like to have more of that, but there's reasons for that. He's been a great teammate. He's been outstanding in the locker room and a great influence on the younger players. He's hung in there with us and been a real pro. He's a very popular guy here."

(on how difficult this season has been for him)

"Well it hasn't been easy. There were a number of games that we had and could've won, much like the Texans. You have to win the close games in order to be in it and stay in it and have a chance to run away in your division. We didn't and we put it in perspective. We knew what happened. It's just one of those deals. It has not worked out the way we had hoped, but we still got fight left and there's reason to play hard."

(on what caused the season collapse for the Titans)

 "We went out to San Diego and had a chance to win that game. In that game, that's when (QB) Vince (Young) was reinjured and (WR) Kenny Britt left in the second series. Prior to that, Kenny already caught seven touchdown passes and we were explosive. We had the bye week and we came back and Vince was unable to go and he was a two (number two quarterback). (QB) Kerry (Collins) got hurt at halftime and Kenny Britt was not there. That's when the instability started at the quarterback position. When you have it there, you got to run it and people now that. As a result of that up to that point our defense started to play 40 minutes a game because we just couldn't get the ball down the field and complete drives."

(on if his longevity at Tennessee helps him cope with the disappointments and criticisms this season)

"I'm not too concerned with those kinds of things. I look forward to coming to work every day. I go passionate into the work week and try to find a way to win a game. That's what we're called upon to do. Those other things are distractions and I don't pay attention to them."

*(on how he keeps his players' focus during a time like this) *

"There are different creative ways. I think you stress perfect practice systems and preparation and different challenges and they respond. It's a good locker room and we practice very hard. They are finding ways to play as good as they possibly can to win the next game."

(on giving up fewer points than every AFC divisional leader other than  Pittsburgh)

"We've had some difficulty. Our defense has hung in there with 19, 20 and 17 points that we gave up and lost, particularly that we weren't able to score points on offense."

(on how the AFC South has panned out this season)

"I think in our case and in the case in Indy, it's been injuries. That's been the situation there. Jacksonville is a young football team that was a little inconsistent early. (Jacksonville head coach) Jack (Del Rio) has done a great job with that offense and brining the quarterback around and centering his approach on the running game. They have taken advantage of that and teams get hot late in the year and they can run the football. Everybody still has a fighting chance. There are three left and a lot can happen."

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