HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on if he is relieved that the weather forecast in Buffalo looks good)
That would be good. Last week we had the chance to play in the elements for the first time in a while and did a lot of things well, especially running the ball. You never know what to expect, that can change quite a bit. I think these guys know that we are going to a place that is going to be real loud, real noisy, a playoff type of atmosphere. They love their football and love their team up there so it's going to be a great game and if it's dry, then all the better.
(on the importance of winning in December)
I think they realize that. We have been doing a lot of that win one, lose one type of thing the last four or five weeks. We know that if we want to reach our goals of winning our division and being in the playoffs, we know what we have to do. We can't afford to lose games like that anymore and we have to get a streak going. We won one last week so that gave us a chance to get something started and we have to win this one. I know Buffalo is in the same spot right now where they have to win, similar to where Tampa was last week. These are the playoffs before the playoffs for teams that are on the fringe of the battle for the playoffs.
(on if the loss to Buffalo in 1992 playoffs is as hard of a defeat to deal with as any defeat he has been part of)
Well I think it was hard because it was a playoff game. Any time you lose the last game of the year in a game that you felt you had in hand and you lose, it's hard to take. When it's the last game of the year it makes it even worse. It's only one loss like you said, but it was a disappointing one because of the lead that we had at the time up there and we were playing so well and to have the game flipped on us like that was hard to figure out how that could happen and it did. So yeah, that was a tough one.
(on his Saturday night speeches before game day)
I think it's just that we are talking about the things we have talked about the whole season, like we just talked about here and the importance of this game in Buffalo. We all know what we have to do and to do that we are going to have to play real well. We are going to talk about that in different aspects throughout the week here and let them here the message in lots of different ways and hopefully one of those messages sink in. When you win it all sounds like you are doing the right thing so we know that ultimately, that is what is going to make the difference here to win this football game…the good thing is that they are listening and the guys are paying attention to what they are saying as coaches and when you have success it comes across that way. I think it's good. I think you want to find things to say without saying too much. You get right to the point of what we are all trying to accomplish and that is something that they all want to hear so that's a positive thing.
(on how many games Derrick Morgan has been at full strength)
It's hard to tell. Like we all know he came into the season missing the first game, playing with the knee and working his way through that and then catching the ankle here the last couple of weeks. I know it's frustrating for him and it's hard to tell where he is at and he knows that. He is not going to complain about it. I'm sure he is not as healthy and he would like to be. They say after the ACL the third year, which would be next year for him, would probably feel the most healthy but he is still doing some good things for us this year and we still expect a lot out of him these next five weeks.
(on if more is expected of Derrick Morgan even if he is not 100 percent healthy)
We have high expectations so if anyone is on the field, you don't take health into consideration. We are expecting a high level of play otherwise we wouldn't have him on the field if we felt he was limited where he wouldn't help us win or that kind of thing. We are expecting the most out of him. We are expecting him to make plays, that's why he is playing. We know that sometimes guys work through injuries and that's why, especially on the defensive line, you rotate people, you give them a break so you can get the best out of them and have them fresh throughout the game. We will continue to do that and if he is not feeling good or injury becomes an issue, and then obviously, we wouldn't play him.
(on if this is a turnover battle game since the Bills' defense has given up lots of points, but also created lots of turnovers)
With them that's kind of how it has been. They have done such a great job, especially early when they jumped out to the 4-1 record and were playing well and two or three big comebacks in the fourth quarter. They have been playing exciting football this year and injuries have definitely caught up to them, but turnovers were definitely a big part of it, especially on defense, it turned lots of those games around. We can't turn the ball over like we did last week and expect to win the football game. There is no doubt that we can't help them in any way. If they are going to beat us then we have to make them earn it. We have to be very careful with that ball.
(on the importance of getting a running back to 1,000 yards and if that is an important goal still)
I think so, I think you always want the running back to have success running it. We all know it, we have been talking about it all year and how it hasn't been up to standard of how we like. Like I said, we are hoping that these last eight weeks we have changed that and two out of three games we have done that and we have to finish real strong. If we do that than 1,000 yards will be an easy thing to reach. I know people don't look at that as being as big as it was at one time because you are playing 16 games, but it's still an accomplishment to get to that and then you are hoping to better that. For us, a successful year running the ball means that we win football games, these next five games by running that football. That has to be a big part of it or we are going to have a hard time winning these football games that we have to win.
(on the two memorable playoff games between the two franchises)
The redemption of the second one is the part I remember the most. I'm glad I was part of that here in our first year as Titans to win a huge playoff game at home against a team that put it on us years earlier. I enjoyed that one the most obviously, it was exciting. We went to the Super Bowl after that win and it's the same thing they did. The year they beat us in Buffalo, they went to the Super Bowl. We both lost the Super Bowl, but that kind of propelled both teams into it. The first one I try to forget and unfortunately they play the tape every year when the playoffs start. Everyone wants to call and tell me and they leave me a message on my cell phone telling me they saw me playing football again and after a while I guess it was the Buffalo game. That will never go away, I guess. I hope we add more memories and it will help that go away because these Buffalo games have been tough.
(on what the feeling was like when things started to unravel in the 1993 playoff game at Buffalo)
On the offensive side, we played so well in the first half and really the second half we weren't on the field much for a while. They were onside kicking, we threw a pick, and about everything that can go wrong went wrong it seemed like. We thought we had it stopped when we drove down and got a field goal. We thought we had things turned back in our favor and we went to overtime with it and obviously they won it. It was a great job by them, it's a great place to play, we have had some great games up there but unfortunately that one was one that will be remembered, that one that we blew.
(on if he still thinks about that game when he goes back to Buffalo)
I think you do just because I always think of history when you play a team. We played Tampa last week and I told the story about when I played Tampa for the first time. I think you do that as a player and as a coach. When you play a team you always remember your experiences with that team in the past. Sometimes you learn from them sometimes it doesn't really matter but sometimes there are good memories and sometimes there are bad memories and this team like you guys mentioned, has a little of both. We have a huge memory, the Music City Miracle is something that will always be something that is remembered, and that game that we lost in the playoffs is unfortunately another game that will be remembered.
(on if he could have pictured himself in this position one year ago)
Definitely no, no, that was not something that at that time I ever thought would work out this way. For us and our record, I feel like it's a different six wins. Right now I feel real good about where we are at, I think the team does, and we have a chance in front of us to do some good things still. It's up to us and that's kind of how you like it. You see what's in front of you. You have three division games coming up after you get through these next two so there is a lot of things you can do to make this year what we all set out to do, starting with the game on Sunday.
(on how the special teams touchdown will affect how teams play on the kickoff)
I think they will just be aware just like we are when someone does something. Pittsburgh got us on a fake punt. You are just aware that teams will take a little more risk and maybe take a chance. Those guys on special teams are doing a great job. A lot of that goes unnoticed, people only seem to notice when you do a reverse or a blocked kick or an onside kick and we have done all of those things this year. The guys have played hard, they have been covering well, there is a lot of energy on that team and I think it's as good as I have seen in a long time here where guys really enjoy being on the special teams, they are proud of it and I think it shows in how they play. They are starting to make big plays that are affecting the game with the partial block last week, with the return for seven points, a couple of weeks earlier the punt return, so we are doing some good things on that team. A lot of guys are stepping up and doing a great job. Some guys only get to play 18 plays and that is their 18 and they contribute like Tommie Campbell or (Tim) Shaw or (Patrick) Bailey. Those guys are really stepping up and making plays and taking leadership in that thing. Guys like (Jordan) Babineaux who are playing and Akeem Ayers that are playing 50, 60, 70 snaps on defense are playing another 15 on special teams so you are seeing guys that are starters contribute and that is what you need if you are going to win. Guys have been willing to contribute in that way and it's fun to watch.