Coach Fisher's Monday Press Conference

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HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER**

(on Craig Stevens)

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Craig was dismissed from the hospital this morning. He's at home. He's clearing up. He'll be fine. As far as his expectance to return, I can't comment because each and every concussion that we endure is different. He is clearing up, he's got a mild headache this morning.

(on if Craig Stevens was knocked unconscious)

When I got there (to Stevens on the field) he was moving, he was conscious. He was very, very cloudy if you will. It's a difficult thing to experience. The good news is that he's home and he's significantly better than he was last night.

(on Nick Harper)

Nick will have surgery at 4 o'clock this afternoon.

(on if Nick Harper will be out about the same time as Vincent Fuller)

I believe it will be about the same as Vinny, somewhere around four to six weeks.

(on if a decision has to be made to put either Nick Harper or Vincent Fuller on IR)

Not necessarily. No, because we've got a bye coming. If Nick's ends up being four weeks, he ends up playing the last eight games. We'll be stretched a little bit thin for the next couple weeks which we have been, but our hope is that we'll get them both back.

(on Vincent Fuller returning after the bye week)

Possibly. This is a game where we missed Vinny. Vinny played real well in the game against them last year on Monday night. We just missed him. He has a real good sense for how you play and what you do.

(on when Cortland Finnegan will be returning)

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I'm hopeful that Cortland will be back this week. He'll be day-to-day. There's a chance that we may have to make a roster move, but we're discussing those things now.

(on if staying in the base defense instead of going to nickel was part of the game plan)

It was, for the most part, because of the design. We felt like our base guys had a much better understanding. This is not a negative thing as far as Ryan's (Mouton) concerned, the nickel spot becomes very unique when you play the Colts. It's different than the normal nickel responsibilities that you would play against other teams. It's unique, it's different and we just felt like the 'backers had a better understanding.

(on if staying in the base defense put the defensive backs in a difficult position)

No, I think there was, as there are in most games, there's probably one play or one or two that you'd like to have back. I thought for the most part they handled it. This game, when we took possession of the ball with 4:58 left in the second quarter, this game was manageable as far as we were concerned. We were playing a game that we needed to play to have a chance to beat them. Despite the fact that prior to that we had four offensive penalties and a turnover. We still were trailing 14-6, we got the ball back with five minutes left, we converted two third downs in the drive. Where things started to unravel for us is we did not get the ball in the end zone and of course we left too much time on the clock. That drive right before half, then of course coming back out and turning the ball over to them, that's when things fell apart. I thought, despite the penalties, we still had a chance to manage the game and play the game the way we needed to play it. Then it just unraveled right before half and the first drive in the second half.

(on if he has reviewed the roughing the passer penalties)

Anytime a quarterback is hit in the knee area, there's a good chance there is going to be a call. In this particular case I thought Kyle (Vanden Bosch) was coming off a block. The rule states that if a player is blocked into or fouled into then it should not be called. I felt like he was coming off a block, but you could see that. Jacob's (Ford) on the other hand, I think that's just football. I don't think there was an intent. It wasn't late. He wasn't high, wasn't in the face, but they're going to protect quarterbacks.

(on how discouraging the Colts' drive before half was)

We had an opportunity to come back. We're going to get the first possession in the second half and felt if we got points then we could get back in the ballgame. As I said, that drive before half and the one to start the third quarter were the difference.

(on if protecting the quarterbacks is a gray area)

It's ultimately is the job of the referee. That's what his job is, first and foremost is to protect the quarterback. What happens sometimes is you don't see the entire act. It's like any other foul, or a number of related fouls rather, that you need to see the whole act. They're going to protect the quarterback. Quarterbacks are an important part of our game. Again, I didn't think Jacob Ford, the contact there was extreme or unnecessary.

(on if Jevon Kearse's play affected him being inactive for the game)

No, basically it is a difficult decision for a staff when we have to get from 53 to 45. There's a lot of moving parts. I think in Jevon's case, you referenced the fact that he wasn't there, again this is between he and I. When you let a player know 90 minutes before kickoff that he's going to be inactive, sometimes it's a hard thing to accept. I don't blame him for having a tough time to deal with that, but it was a decision that we made. It was a last minute decision. I wanted to keep Dave (Ball) up and so we'll move on.

(on why he wanted to keep Dave Ball active for the game)

Dave hadn't played in the last couple of weeks and the young guys were playing well. Dave had a good feel for it. Dave could also do some things at tackle for us. He's done that before in this type of scheme. We didn't have J. J. (Jason Jones) and we needed Dave's, the potential for Dave to pass rush inside the tackle. It was just the decision that we made.

(on if it sends a bad message for Jevon Kearse to not be on the sideline)

This is between and I. It was a big game, it was an emotional thing and we'll sort it out. As far as the message is concerned; he's a great teammate, he's had a great career and he's still got a lot left.

(on the rules for inactive players)

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He won't be fined. Again, this is between he and I.

(on the plans for Jevon Kearse for next week)

You'll have to wait and see. Ninety minutes before kickoff we'll give you the inactive list.

(on if there is a rule requiring inactive players to be at the game)

My rules don't change from year-to-year. I have consistent rules. Again, this is between Jevon and I.

(on grading Jason McCourty and Ryan Mouton)

Ryan didn't play much. I thought Ryan played well on special teams, but we didn't play much nickel. We didn't have a lot of nickel snaps. J. Mac (Jason McCourty) played and battled. He gave up a comeback, but everybody gives up comebacks to Peyton (Manning). I think this experience for him has been valuable and he's benefited from it. Each week he's getting better.

(on if Kerry Collins will start at QB vs. New England)

Yes.

(on if there is any point during the season to see what Vince Young can contribute even if Kerry Collins plays well)

There's always that possibility right now, but this is not the time right now.

(on why it isn't the right time to see what Vince Young can contribute)

Because Kerry is our starter and Vince is our backup. Kerry's not the reason. Our football team is the reason we're at where we're at, not the quarterback position.

(on what he sees in Kerry Collins to keep him as the starting quarterback)

This is a collective effort. We need to run the football better. I would start there. If we run the football better then all of those other things happen down the field. We had opportunities yesterday. We were attacking down the field and (Dwight) Freeney gets loose and pressures Kerry. We've got a big play, a 20-yard gain but Kerry can't make the throw. It's a combination of things. It all starts with our ability to run the football better and we need to do that. The quarterback play improves, the defensive play improves, the special teams play improves. It starts there.

(on if Chris Johnson is dancing around too much and trying to create big plays)

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We played a defense that had great speed yesterday. There was just not a lot of opportunity in there. Again, it's not an individual thing it's a team thing. It's an offensive thing and we need to run the ball better.

(on if Kerry Collins has taken a step back from last season)

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No, I think if we were to run the football better and got off to a better start defensively in a couple of games then I think things would be different.

(on if he would like to see Chris Johnson hit the hole harder)

You can second guess each and every time somebody does something. I think as a team we need to run the football better. C.J.'s a very good player and C.J.'s not the reason that we're not doing what we need to do up front.

(on when is the right time to turn to Vince Young)

You just have to wait and see, I guess. I've been doing this a long time. Right now, that's not the root of our problem. This is a team issue. We have to improve as a team and that's what we're working on.

(on Vince Young's performance)

He was alright. He missed on the first pass, but it was good to see him use his legs and pick up a first down. He was having fun and enjoyed the opportunity to get in the game.

(on whether Young was excited to play in the game)

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The only thing I can comment on is when I went up to Vince and said, 'Do you want to go have some fun?' he goes, 'You know me. Yes I do.' He seemed excited about it and was excited about it from that point on until the game was over.

(on the potential for a quarterback change to send a negative message to the rest of the team)

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I didn't say I was going to, OK? I said there's a possibility. I didn't say I was going to, and I didn't say when I was going to. Kerry's our starter, and Vince is our backup. I'd be happy to field more questions about it, but I made my point, OK? You can speculate all you want on how that's going to affect the team and what's going to happen, but I didn't say I was going to do that.

(on how the coaching staff restores confidence in the players)

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I told the players this morning. I feel like if we come back this week and we take the same approach to preparing and practice and meetings that we took last week, and we show up with the same enthusiasm and those kinds of things, we're going to win a lot of games. There's not a … As far as a quick fix is concerned, it's not there. You keep doing what you're doing. You go back, you look at the games, you correct it and move forward. They're pros. They're expected to do the things we expect them to do, and we just have to fine-tune some areas, one in particular, the run game, get some people back healthy on defense and we'll be OK.

(on if fans are giving up too quickly)

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I don't know that a bag on your head is giving up too quickly. We have a great fan base. We've always had great support. We have a very educated group of fans and they have every reason to be frustrated as we are. This is the National Football League and we were a 13-3 team last year and we had high expectations. We have yet to win a game so I understand their frustrations.

(on if the losing is confusing to him)

If the answer was obvious we would have fixed it. All we can do is keep working. We've pulled through this before, a different team, but we've been through it several times. We just keep working. It's frustrating on Monday, on Tuesday it becomes a challenge and on Wednesday it's fun again and looking forward to having a chance to win the next game. That's kind of the world we live in.

(on if the team will not being using the nickel package because of injuries)

Not necessarily because Cary (Williams) can play corner for us. Cary played very well on special teams yesterday. He's coming on. Ryan (Mouton) again, has played the nickel. If I'm outside looking in on our team right now and the status of our secondary, I'd open the game with a five wide receiver offense this week and say, 'let's see you stop us.' Obviously, we have some work to do.

(on how frustrated he is by the veteran's mistakes)

Everybody's taken their turns. No one's making mistakes on purpose. We had a couple of holds yesterday, unique situations that I could see being called once in a while, we're blocking people that are running past the hole. We had a false start by a veteran and also had a drop on the first third-down by a rookie. Everybody's taking turns making mistakes.

(on Alge Crumpler's fumble)

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It happened quick. If anybody understands ball security I'd say Alge does. He stresses it to his teammates every day. That's just kind of one of those things that happen.

(on if the mistakes are being made by the same people)

This is my philosophy on that: players don't make mistakes on purpose, they don't. Our job is to minimize and correct the mistakes. If I have a player on the field that's making mistakes over and over, whose fault is that? That's ours, he doesn't play. That's my philosophy on mistakes. They don't do them on purpose and we do our best to correct them.

(on Vince Young's reaction to Mike Heimerdinger when he told him he was going into the game)

No, I didn't discuss that with Dinger.

(on if he received any feedback from Mike Heimerdinger about what transpired between he and Vince Young)

No, I had communication with Mike on the headsets as far as the way the defensive drive was going. I said, 'There's a chance I may put Vince in. He said, 'Good, I'll talk to him.'

(on if there was any reluctance by Vince Young to play)

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I saw no reluctance. His response to going in the game to me is what's important. I saw no reluctance. The only thing I saw was enthusiasm and that's what's important to me.

(on Kerry Collins' reaction to Vince Young playing)

He understood.

(on how to keep the team focused)

It's a focused team, it practices. When you come out and watch practice, they're focused and they spend time on the detail things. We just need to win a game.

(on the playoffs)

That's not a word that's come out of our mouths right now that we discuss. It makes no sense to talk about it. We just need to do, as I said, week after week try to win a game.

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