HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER, NOV. 3, 2008**
(On possibly backing down Kyle Vanden Bosch)
He's not too bad today. We are obviously looking at the situation very closely and we're going to take it day-to-day. We haven't ruled him out for the game but it will be a day-to-day thing this week.
(On if it would have been a good idea to shut him down when he was initially injured)
No because he's getting better. His activity on the practice field and his attempts to play have not set him back. He's not facing a setback, it's just the nature of the injury.
(On how to determine when he's healthy enough to the point where he won't re-aggrevate the injury)
In this particular case, these things aren't easy. If there was a precise answer or procedure or protocol then we would adhere to it. What we're trying to do is get a good player on the field and keep him on the field so we're going to take it day-to-day.
(On how pleased he was with Jacob Ford and Dave Ball filling in for Kyle Vanden Bosch)
Well, our numbers were obviously down. We had Jevon [Kearse] dinged a little bit. We had some issues temporarily on the defensive side but the guys stepped up. Ryan [Fowler] goes in for Keith [Bulluck] at times and Jacob and Dave played hard and Jason [Jones] played hard. It was good to get the production out of the other players, the non-starters.
(On why Chris Johnson was getting the bulk of the carries)
Well, a lot of it had to do with their defense. We needed to spread them out a little bit. Again, in retrospect, looking back at the game there's really no reason why LenDale [White] couldn't have had the same production. It just happened. We had some passes designed for Chris so it made sense to keep him on the field and it was easier for Mike [Heimerdinger] to call plays based on down and distance situations.
(On if this has been one of his best years in terms of avoiding injuries)
Thus far, yeah. I think avoiding injuries from the standpoint of losing players that would miss games. We've got our normal share of bumps and bruises and not everyone is 100 percent right now. A lot of players are working through some things but as far as week in and week out and staying healthy, it's been one of our better years.
(On the status of Keith Bulluck)
He's going to be a little sore, yeah. I don't know how much he'll practice but it'll be day-to-day. We certainly haven't ruled him out for the ball game.
(On what the secondary said they learned from the Packers offense)
Well, we said last week that we felt, offensively, this was potentially the best team we're going to play particularly because of the skill level at the receiver position, the run game and overall. The offensive line, the quarterback making good decisions and we were going to be challenged. They were going to be challenged because we were going to have to use a safety at times to help us in the run game and they were. This was a very, very good team that we beat yesterday. So as far as what they learned, they learned that they have to just keep working and play within the frame work and just keep getting better. But they were definitely challenged because that's a talented group.
(On where Kyle Vanden Bosch is missed most on the field)
Well, he changes games. You have a game-changer that's on the sidelines now. You certainly miss that production. The ball comes out much quicker when Kyle's on the field because he's going to collapse the pocket and he's going to make a lot of chase plays.
(On how much Kyle Vanden Bosch changes a game matchup-wise for Albert Haynesworth)
He does. Kyle, defensively, when we get in obvious passing situations, there's a lot of communication that's required on the field. Kyle, when he's on the field, is the one that initiates all the communication. He sets the gains, he does all of that. Not that the other guys aren't getting it done but it is a difference, you know. It's kind of like losing your starting quarterback. You have a guy making the calls that they rely on and anticipate and understand so [with him out] guys have to put more time into it. As you rotate, sometimes you don't have the right guy out there to make the call. Again, we've adjusted to it and guys are playing hard and you saw the production we got out of the younger guys.
(On who the responsibility falls to now for making those defensive calls)
It's one of our defensive players.
(On playing well and being able to move the ball when they absolutely need to)
Well, we also got a big play on that drive. It was a very well-executed run play. LenDale [White] got a lot of help and got his cleats in the ground and pushed up the field and made the safety miss. That was a big field-position swing for us on the play. They keep playing and they're not affected by big plays. I could prove that by showing what the defense did on both the chase plays. Cort's [Cortland Finnegan] play to make the tackle inside the 10 yard-line and Griff's [Michael Griffin] play to make the tackle inside the 10 yard-line. Now they have a first-and-goal inside our 10 and the defense held them to three so they're capable and know that they're capable of getting off the field. I think that's been a key for them. But they're just playing. We didn't play particularly well yesterday and we downplayed, as I said yesterday, the short week and everything. But we were tired and it's to be expected after a Monday night game, especially with the emotions associated in that game. But to come away with two wins in six days here at home against two teams like that, I think, says a lot for this team. But we have a lot of improvement to do. Again, we left a lot of plays on the field and made mistakes we shouldn't make but we won this and it's good to get back now into a normal week's routine.
(On some areas the team can improve upon)
Well, we gave up way too many big plays defensively. I don't think we tackled as well as we're capable of tackling and offensively we had some opportunities that we missed. That implies opportunities in the run game as well as in the passing game. But when we needed to make the plays, we made them. When we needed the plays to be made on special teams, we made them.
(On if it's a perfect situation to be in a position where you're undefeated but still see areas that can be improved)
Well, we're not worried about becoming overconfident and all those things associated with that. We need to continue to improve to get better so we can win the next game. We have a tremendous challenge this week with the Bears and the things that they're doing. Yes, they lost their starter but they're backup led them to the Super Bowl a couple years ago so we have a huge challenge. The week will start Wednesday and it will start off where we need to improve and how we need to improve it.
(On what jumps out to him about the Bears)
They're getting turnovers, they're pressuring the passer, they're stopping the run. They're very aggressive on defense. Offensively, they're somewhat like us, they like to run the football. They make their plays. They're good on third down and in the third-down conversion area and they're running the football well. They've played some good teams and they've played pretty well.
(On if he likes to play teams that play a similar brand of football to the Titans)
Yeah, we do and that was the case yesterday. We were playing a very, very physical team. We went toe-to-toe with them and we got through it but we're going to have to play better this coming Sunday than we did yesterday to win the game. There's no doubt and there will be no doubt in the player's mind when they look at the tape.
(On Justin Gage struggling to get into a rhythm in the passing offense)
We haven't done an awful lot in the passing game on the outside. Overcoming that injury is difficult, especially in the receiver position but I'm confident he'll make plays for us and become productive.
(On playing back-to-back road games in the next two weeks)
We're comfortable on the road. They understand how to play on the road and how to take a professional approach. I'm not concerned about it. Obviously, five out of the next eight are on the road so we've got a big challenge ahead of us from that standpoint and it'll be a couple of weeks before we come back. But we're going to play two good teams starting with this one in Chicago.
(On if there are any coaching techniques he likes to employ based off of his former coach Mike Ditka)
Well, I've been fortunate to play but also work for a number of different organizations so as I've said numerous times, I've taken a lot of the experiences along to way to help formulate our philosophy here. If you want me to talk about Mike, I'll talk about Mike, I'm going to vote for him for president tomorrow. Mike's very, very competitive. He always was and he was brutally honest with his players and expected them to do much better than they thought they were capable of. That's what made him such a good coach.
(On if he heard from Mike Ditka after he passed him on the career victories list and if he expected to)
No. No, you'll have to talk to Mike. I'm sure I'll talk to him this week, though.
(On going back to Chicago)
We were back in 1995, which was the 10-year anniversary of the Super Bowl team and we didn't play particularly well. That was the last time we had a regular season game up there. We were there for a preseason game but it's all changed now. The stadium's changed and so this will be just another game for us.
(On if he disputes the horse collar call on Jevon Kearse)
I'm waiting to discuss it. I disagreed with the call during the game and will continue to disagree with it. But I understand it's a player safety issue and there are times when we don't always agree with the player safety issues and the calls on the field. In this particular case, I didn't think it was a horse collar.
(On if he thought Stephen Tulloch was touched down after he recovered a fumble and tried to run with it)
Right, Tully was touched, he was down, yeah.
(On David Stewart drawing a personal foul and if he is good at instigating those calls)
No, I think in that particular play you have to look at the whole play from when it started. It was just a normal play where Dave's blocking a linebacker that was rushing but he went right to his face right away, shoved his head back and Dave kind of got the hands down and knocked him away and whatever happened happened. But we benefitted from it, clearly. I mean that was a huge third-down conversion for us.
(On taking the knee instead of attempting a long field goal before the half)
Yeah, without being disrespectful to our field-goal protection team, we don't have a whole lot of speed there and I was not going to kick the ball and have it be short and let them return that. You've seen that over the years and there was just no way. They handled it well. I called timeout and you can't call consecutive timeouts so we communicated it to them that I was going to let Rob [Bironas] take a shot as long as there was nobody deep. If someone was deep then I wanted Craig [Hentrich] to avoid the play and we'll go in.
(On if 63 yards is about the extent of Rob Bironas' range)
You know, I can't tell you. He's hit them and he hits the ball well but I'm not going to take a chance there. My job is to put them in position to be successful and try to win ball games. I'm not going to go in at halftime with a potentially negative play.
(On if Rob Bironas really wanted to try and kick it anyway)
No, he knew exactly what our approach was. It wasn't whether he could make it or not, it was the play itself and what the defense elected to do.
(On if he was thinking about running one more play before attempting the field goal at the end of regulation)
No. I wanted to put him in position, it was well in his range, it was on the right hash and it was time to end the ball game. We needed to make the kick, he missed it and he came back and made the next one.
(On beginning the three-week evaluation period for Rafael Little)
Yes, we will initiate the three-week exemption this week and have him on the practice field on Wednesday. He's worked very, very hard to get to this point. He's excited to get out there and work against the defense for the next few weeks.
(On if it makes a difference whether Kyle Orton or Rex Grossman starts Sunday)
I haven't had a chance really to study specifically but one led them to the Super Bowl two years ago and the other's got really good numbers and has been playing real well.
(On kicking to Devin Hester)
Well, obviously your hope and your intention is that he doesn't get the ball in his hands. But you can't avoid it. He's going to get the ball in his hands, he's got 22 catches already and a couple carries from a reverse standpoint. He's a very explosive player that can change the game in a flash so obviously you have to take a team approach to defend that.