Coach Fisher's Monday Press Conference

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HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER**

(on if Vince Young had surgery today)

Yeah, it is my understanding that he's going through the procedure as we speak.

(on what's the recovery timeline for Vince Young)

It was told to us that it was season-ending, so I would assume it is five-to-eight weeks, something like that.  The thumb will be immobilized, that's the nature of the surgery, just to immobilize the thumb so they can reattach the tendons.  We were told somewhere in the five-to-eight week range. 

(on if they're placing a pin in Vince Young's thumb)

That is my understanding, yes.

(on if he's talked to the NFL about the Cortland Finnegan-Andre Johnson incident)

I have had a discussion with them, yes, and that is confidential information between me and the league.

(on what he thinks should happen to Cortland Finnegan and Andre Johnson)

Again, the league is going to make the decision on this.  I have my own opinions, but I'll keep my own opinions to myself, but the league is going to make the decision on this.

(on if he still thinks that Cortland Finnegan did not throw a punch)

That is still my opinion.  He tried to reach to get the facemask, but in my opinion he didn't throw a punch.

(on if Cortland Finnegan should be suspended)

I have very strong opinions about the fact that I believe he should not be suspended.  As far as what the league decides to do, that's a league issue.

(on the time table for the league to make a decision on possible punishment for Cortland Finnegan and Andre Johnson)

In these situations they probably act very quickly.  So I would assume we'll hear something today or tomorrow—considering the fact that the Texans play on Thursday.  The event itself is an unfortunate thing that happens.  You have two very talented, talented, good football players competing and it's just very unfortunate.  It's not good for our game, and I'm just disappointed that that type of thing happens on the playing field.

(on what led to the Cortland Finnegan and Andre Johnson incident)

Well you saw the play beforehand.  There were several other plays where they were both competing.  Andre blocked Cortland in the back on the run play and there is no call, and Cort is making tackles and they're competing.  It was quite a battle to watch.

(on if he thinks that Cortland Finnegan is out of control)

No, I think that Cort is a very aggressive player and doesn't back down from anybody.  If Cort was out of control at any time, yesterday would have been the time to be out of control and he didn't.  He was not going to hurt the football team, and by that he didn't fight back.  From that standpoint you have to say he kept his composure.

(on the report that Cortland Finnegan told the Texans bench to "watch this" before the fight)

I didn't have any knowledge of that, no.  There is going to be all kinds of speculation about things like that.  You have no idea what goes on out there, in the trenches, outside, inside, they are competing—there are a lot of things that are said.

(on the report that Andre Johnson will not be suspended)

Again, I have my own opinions as far as that's concerned and the league will handle it appropriately.

(on if he thinks that Cortland Finnegan and Andre Johnson should receive equal punishment)

I think in this situation if you look at the two players and you look at the incident, one player did a lot more than the other did.  I think the league will look at that and deal with it appropriately. 

(on if Cortland Finnegan's past incidents will work against him in this situation)

I don't think so.  I think the league will look very realistically at some of the previous incidents.

(on the chances that Kerry Collins will start on Sunday against the Jaguars)

Kerry will be day-to-day.  As you know yesterday he was a two and he felt good enough to do that and so he'll be day-to-day.  We'll have a better idea late in the week; if he can start I will let you know.  There is a competitive difference between Kerry and Vince (Young) obviously.  There is not a competitive difference between Rusty's (Smith) style and Kerry's style, so when we know if he can go we'll let you know.

(on if he's encouraged about Kerry Collins' progress)

I was pleased with what I saw Friday, and he was encouraged by that.  He pushed through some things well before the pregame warm-ups and felt good.  We felt like he could finish the game if need be.

(on if Vince Young will be welcomed on the sideline for the remaining games this season)

Yeah, Vince will be treated like any other player on injured reserve.  Our injured reserve players are on the sideline, they come in on occasion, they walk on the practice field and check out practice, so he isn't going to be treated any differently than anybody else.

(on if Cortland Finnegan is an instigator)

His responsibility is to play within our scheme and execute coverages and run support and techniques within our scheme.  What he does in the one-on-one situations, as long as it's not outside the rules, is not an issue with me.

(on if Cortland Finnegan pushes the limit with playing within the rules)

I think there have probably been a couple of instances where he may have pushed the limit a little bit.  As it relates to this, his fines are really unique—a horse collar fine, or this or that, a fine for jumping on a pile or something like that, but to my knowledge he has not been fined for fighting.

(on if Cortland Finnegan makes himself a target)

No, he's a good football player and so is Andre (Johnson).

(on how Cortland Finnegan has played this year)

The last four weeks I think he's played his best football.  We had some players yesterday play very, very good.  I think Michael Griffin had his best game of the year.  Unfortunately those type of performances are going to be overshadowed by this incident and the loss itself.  As I said last night, I thought our defensive plan was excellent, their biggest pass play was, I think, 21 yards to Andre (Johnson) and to hold him to less than 60 yards is quite an effort.  A little disappointed about the run, but anytime you give a running back who is leading the league in rushing 30 carries he's going to have some production.  I think from a point standpoint and an effort standpoint I thought our defense played pretty well against a pretty good offense.

(on the Titans' tackling against the Texans)

There were a couple of misses when we had opportunities to get off the field, and then we had guys like Griff (Michael Griffin) who just didn't miss; he was making tackles all over the field 

(on why Chris Johnson had limited touches against the Texans)

Clearly our plan going in was to get the run game going and get Chris going to take the pressure off the rookie quarterback.  We were unable to do that, Rusty (Smith) took a sack and we had a second-and-10 and you need to throw it to get out.  We had a number of negative plays on first down, whether it was a penalty or not, we had a lot of situations where we had third-and-longs.  I think we had eight third-and-10 plusses out of 12 third-down attempts, and those are difficult to overcome.

(on if Kerry Collins can't start, if there will be a decision to be made between Rusty Smith and Chris Simms)

No, I don't think there is a decision to make.  I think Rusty will be much better the second game.

(on how he thinks Rusty Smith played in his first NFL start)

It's very difficult to play quarterback in the National Football League.  Especially if you're a rookie in your first start and there was certainly some evidence of that.  There were some growing pains, but he took a little longer at the line of scrimmage to make some checks.  He was very aware with what was going on, he was just a little unsettled with the noise and that was one of the reasons for the false starts.  He made some good decisions, he had four drops or something like that, he made some good throws and of course he had a couple where he went to the wrong place.  That's going to happen.

(on if he's confident in Chris Simm's ability to step in and play if needed)

That's why he was brought in.  He has a good feel for the system.

(on the offensive struggles the last several weeks)

We have quarterbacks revolving through the door and injuries, and we're just having difficulties converting third downs and getting the run game going.

(on if they need Randy Moss to be more involved)

He's getting a lot of coverage rotation.  He did so most of the game.  People are going to take a safety over the top of number 84 and that's what happened.  He had a couple of opportunities.  Rusty (Smith) threw the ball to him in the end zone which should have gone to the back; the ball wasn't designed to go there.  Beyond that he is dictating some things.  Unfortunately our offense just because of the situation that we're in, we're unable to take advantage of it.

(on how confident he is that they will be able to end their current losing streak and turn things around)

Well we've got to win one.  We've got to win the next one first, and that's the most important thing.  If there is ever an opportunity to take advantage of a division, this is the year.  It is disappointing where we are right now, but we're still in it and we just have to find a way to win the first game.

(on if he is amazed they could be leading the division next Monday if they win on Sunday)

We've been saying that for the last couple of weeks.

(on if he still thinks the officials missed the horse collar penalty)

Yes, they missed it.

(on if the horse collar penalty should have been a facemask penalty)

They called a horse collar.  The call on the field was a horse collar, so they missed it.  If that's what they're calling, they missed it.  The ball carrier has to go to the ground for there to be a horse-collar tackle, not the information, for whatever reason, that got to the officiating crew.  To my understanding there was no memo to the like of that, so their explanation to me was incorrect.

(on who gave him the explanation for the horse collar penalty)

Two of the officials.

(on if there was a facemask penalty that should have been called instead of the horse collar)

I said they called horse collar.  There could have been contact on the facemask, but usually when there is a facemask penalty, they call facemask penalties.

(on if there is a lack of leadership in the locker room)

They're doing a good job.  Guys have stepped up, Ahmard's (Hall) done a great job stepping up and G-Mac (Gerald McRath) and especially the vocal guys on defense, so I'm not concerned about that.  They're going about their business.  I think the offense is a little disappointed that we left a lot of plays out there.  We had situations where we get a big run, we get a 14-yard gain out of (Javon) Ringer and it's called back for holding and it's not holding.  That's how the day goes.  We had some opportunities to overcome some things, so with that being said the guys understand that and they're going to keep fighting.  There is not a situation where we're struggling with leadership in there.  We've got adequate number of guys and typically when you've got a young team or a team with a lot of rookies you need that.  This group of rookies has not shown having any difficulties as far as having a lack of leadership.

(on if the team isn't buying into what the coaches are trying to get accomplished)

Buying into what?  No, we're getting as much effort as we can.  Anytime you're losing games like we have, those are the normal things that come out.  People have to step up, we have to do more.  I'm not concerned about anybody not buying into what we're doing or doing the right things or believing that we still have a chance.

(on an update on the health of Titans' offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger)

Again, I want to respect Mike's privacy through all of this and that family's privacy.  But just so you kind of get a sense of how we're going to handle things during the week, Mike's treatment has been postponed until Wednesday—for good reasons.  He will be gone the entire day Wednesday.  He will probably be away from the building for several hours on Thursday and Friday.  He will be here, obviously, through late tomorrow night to help us put the game plan together.  The rest of us will install and manage practice and then we'll see how he feels towards the weekend as far as how the play-calling duties will unfold.

(on if they could potentially have Mike Heimerdinger coaching on Sunday against Jacksonville)

There is a possibility of that, yes.

(on if the lack of depth on the defensive line due to injuries hurt the Titans against the Texans)

We were without JJ (Jason Jones) and David (Ball) and then Tony (Brown) had difficulty after the first series, and then when Sen (Sen'Derrick Marks) came out, we were thin.  They played really hard.  They're banged up and tired and we're going to have a hard time getting through practice, but they'll answer the bell.  Marques' (Douglas) effort, I mean he had 10 tackles, that's a great effort in your first game back.  It was really good to see him make plays and prepare himself last week knowing that he was going to play.

(on if there should have been an intentional grounding penalty on Matt Schaub when Marques Douglas nearly sacked him)

Yes, it actually was down by contact.  There were three plays in there where had it been us I would have been okay with intentional grounding, but none of them were called.  This one in particular, his knee was down and he was just desperately trying to throw the ball away.  You don't want the officials to officiate intent, but you can find receivers wherever you want on the field.  I did not, we did not, get a look—I didn't get a view and they did not get a view in the box at all, so it was unfortunate.

(on if any of the players who were injured on Sunday are expected to miss an extended period of time)

We'll have a better idea in the middle part or end of the week.

(on David Thornton)

I mentioned last week that David may be inactive over the next couple of weeks.  He's going to provide a comfort level knowing that we have an experienced-veteran backup, so he is getting better each week and it will be a week-to-week thing for him.

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