HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER, AUG. 31, 2008
(On the decision to release Roydell Williams)
Obviously, it was a difficult decision. I think things may have been different if he was available to us throughout the OTAs and throughout the preseason but he just wasn't. When you start the season you have to have healthy players on your roster and its hard to predict his future from that standpoint. It's hard to meet a nicer guy and a hard-working player and one that's more dedicated than he is, but as I told a number of guys we released over the last couple days, you're going to play, you'll just have an address change. Hopefully he'll get that behind him and he'll be a productive player.
(On if he wishes he kept Roydell Williams on the Physically Unable to Perform list)
No, that's not the case because there was a second issue after we cleared him.
(On keeping Quinton Ganther)
Well, he earned a spot. Legitimately earned a spot and not just because of his effort in the Rams game. He earned a spot particularly because of his production on special teams. We've got a situation on the roster where we only have one fullback and "Q" can swing, he's a versatile player and he can cover kicks and do all things for us. He's a really, really improved special teams player. He earned it and rightfully so. I'm very happy for him.
(On if he was surprised that many of the players who make up the practice squad cleared waivers)
Everybody is doing the same things. Everybody at the last cut identified which [players] they want to bring back to the practice squad. We're fortunate from that standpoint to get everybody back. We were a little nervous about a couple of them but I think everyone's doing the same thing. Right now as we stand we're looking at the wires and evaluating things. I'd like to say that this is the group we're going to go down the road with but we have an obligation to try and upgrade the roster. If there's somebody out there that can help us than we'll make a move. At this point we have no plans, we have nobody coming in. It's just a process that begins and continues throughout the season.
(On the team's mood now that preseason is over)
They're very excited. We had a real brief workout outside and we had some productive meetings, administrative type things that you have to cover going into the season. They're really excited. We have a lot ahead of us and they understand that they have a lot of improving to do. But to think that we could be walking out to our cars seven days from now, hopefully after a win, is an exciting feeling.
(On if adding a receiver who could play special teams had anything to do with releasing Roydell Williams)
No, special teams production didn't have anything to do with that decision.
(On if he's worried about the lack of experience at wide receiver behind Justin McCareins and Justin Gage)
No, I don't. I think most teams are probably in the same situations. There's probably some exceptions but you have guys at the front of your roster that are going to take most of the snaps that have some experience. Then you've got young guys that you're developing. Hopefully Paul [Williams] will become productive at special teams for us. Chris Davis, we know what he can do on [special] teams. He can make plays inside. What happens is that their roles become more specific. Each guy has a function and a role in a ball game, as compared to preseason where you're asking everybody to do everything. I think we'll continue to see improvement not only from that group but from some other younger players.
(On some players talking about Jacksonville being a big rival)
If we were opening against the Colts they might have said something else, and same with the Texans. But you're opening in your division. It's an exciting opener for us, especially at home. Jacksonville, it's been well-documented that they're a much-improved team, they're a physical team and we're obviously going to have to be at our best.
(On if Jacksonville has extra motivation after losing to the Titans in last year's opener)
No I wouldn't say that. I think they returned the favor the second time we played them so I guess things we're evened out last year.
(On if Chris Carr's ability to play multiple positions made it an easier decision to release Calvin Lowry)
Well we have depth at the position. We know what Donnie [Nickey] can do. Chris [Carr] can play any position in the secondary, in addition to return. That was a major factor. Nobody worked harder than Calvin. Calvin's a student, he works hard, just a dedicated player. Again, it was a difficult decision for us. But we have to move on. [Michael] Griff[in] comes in, steps up and is only getting better. The positions behind the starters are unique in that Vinny [Vincent Fuller] can play nickel, he can backup both positions, he also has some specific roles on special teams. Chris [Carr's] versatility certainly helped him.
(On what kind of new challenges Chris Johnson will expect to face in his regular season debut)
Chris will be in the same position as a number of the other younger players are. He understands that there's an increase in the intensity level and the speed and the motions but the bottom line is that he just has to execute and let his ability make plays for him.
(On what Chris Johnson has done to prove to the staff that he can run between the tackles)
He's done it for us. We've seen it. We saw it in college and we saw it in the preseason. He's an inside runner and an outside runner.
(On Dave Ball earning a roster spot)
We brought Dave in here because we knew he had a chance to make this team. We didn't just bring him in to fill up a camp spot. He was somebody that we felt had versatility that could play end, come inside and play tackle, he's hard-working and dedicated and smart. We owed it to ourselves to give ourselves options when we lost Travis [LaBoy] and Antwan [Odom]. We did that. Unfortunately Sean [Conover] ends up being the guy out but Dave won the job, won the spot and is deserving of an opportunity to play for us.
(On if Dave Ball's performance in the Green Bay game helped his cause)
It didn't change our minds. We kind of felt like this was going to be the group. We have youth at the position. Basically Jacob [Ford] and William [Hayes] are rookies so you need a veteran presence at that third end spot. So we felt like Dave gives us just what we wanted.
(On the challenges of facing David Garrard)
Well David's numbers last year speak for themselves. His interception to touchdown ratio, he does not make mistakes. He's very poised, he's mobile, they do a great job with him. He understands how to manage a game and he can make all the plays. He clearly led them to the playoffs last year along with a number of key weapons offensively. He can run it and he can throw it and when you have a quarterback that can do both that causes a problem.
(On what helped David Garrard earn the starting job in Jacksonville)
Well, they clearly knew what they had last year when they made the tough decision right before the regular season in their decision to go with David [Garrard]. He's just what we saw all of last year. He understands what it takes and fits their winning formula very nicely. They play good defense, they run the football and they don't turn it over.
(On Vince Young's hand)
Vince is fine. We're not downplaying anything, there are no issues, there will be no surprises as far as our quarterback is concerned. And I'll probably have an injury report for you on Wednesday.
(On what Paul Williams did to earn a roster spot)
Well, we felt like Paul certainly improved throughout the offseason. He's got all the skills. He's got the height, the weight, the speed, he can catch, he's got a lot ahead of him. There's a lot of potential there. He's closing the gap and he's done some nice things for us on special teams.