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Coach Whisenhunt's Friday Press Conference



(on injuries from the game)

Coming out of the game from an injury perspective it's unusual for us. We actually came out in pretty decent shape. No real injuries, significant ones to report. Hopefully we'll be able to continue to get a couple of guys back. We'd certainly like to try to get Taylor Lewan back and even potentially Zach (Mettenberger) doing some work in practice this week. Not saying that he'll be ready to play by any stretch, but we hopefully will get a chance to look at that and see.

(on why it's important to keep Zach Mettenberger involved despite his injury)*

We were hopeful that he would be able to come back and potentially play, so you just never know how that injury is going to respond, and that was the thinking behind it the whole way. I certainly think there's value to staying engaged with the team and going to the meetings, being on the practice field, especially as a young player.

(on if Zach Mettenberger is ruled out for the last game)

I was saying the opposite. That's certainly up to you to say that, but I wouldn't say that.

(on the thought process behind moving Ray Horton down to the sideline for the game)

Steve Brown went up, but there was no real thought behind it other than just trying something different. Ray (Horton) and I have talked about it and just thought we'd try it with him down on the field. I think last week, more than anything, just with the way they were doing substitutions, the Jets were, just as a way of being right there, the speed of getting calls in. Not that we felt like we needed it last night, but just more of, let's try this down here this week.

(on what the trade-off is for being on the sideline as opposed to in the coaches' booth)

We haven't talked about it. I know, as an offensive coordinator, I've done it both ways, and there is a trade-off, because there is tremendous value to being able to see the field from up above it like that. I think there's also value to being on the field and interacting with your players, as well. That's something that Ray (Horton) and I will discuss. It's been a little bit of a crazy day, just because of getting in so late last night and then trying to get everything done today.

(on next week's schedule)

I think we're going to give them a couple of days off this weekend. We'll still have treatment. We're going to come in and do a little bit of work Monday and then Tuesday will be a Wednesday for us. Wednesday will be a Thursday for us. Thursday, which will be Christmas Day, we'll give them the morning off, and then Friday will be a Friday, and Saturday will be a Saturday. We have a little bonus work in the afternoon on Christmas Day, and that's something we'll discuss with them as we progress, see where we are as we move through the week next week, but they will get Christmas morning off.

(on if it's rare to have Christmas morning off)

No question. There are some teams that practice on Tuesday of Christmas week and take Christmas Day off, so I know of other teams that have done that. We're in an unusual situation because of the Thursday game and having the extra day. It's a little bit easier for us to do that.

(on Jamon Meredith's performance)

Really we were going to get (Byron) Stingily back. We felt because of his ankle, it was his left ankle that was hurt, that it was easier for him to set on the right side. We felt Jamon (Meredith) had played well, so we had an option to move him to the left tackle, and that's what we did. I thought he did OK.

(on Jamon Meredith starting over Will Svitek)

There are a lot of things that go into that. We felt that was the best move for us last night.

(on if Delanie Walker was the target on the touchdown pass attempt)

No. That was for (Kris) Durham. Delanie (Walker's) supposed to continue back inside. It's a pivot move. There was a void, and sometimes the natural instinct is to sit. That happens, especially on a short week, when you don't get a chance to rep those plays as much. That was a specific play to use against their defense, and they played it a little bit differently than what they had done, so it created that void where Delanie was. I certainly understand why he sat down, even though the route was for him to continue back in, but the ball was for Durham.

(on if he was pleased with Charlie Whitehurst's performance)

I'd say that's fair. I like most of what we saw. You could say that about everybody last night. There was a lot of good things, but certainly there were some things we'd like to do differently. I believe we had a couple of protection breakdowns. I don't believe, I know we did, that caused him to move out of the pocket early. That led to some of those things a little bit later in the game. As far as making some throws and making some plays, he did a good job.

(on the positives and negatives of being in the running for the top draft pick)

You know what, I haven't even put one thought into that. I'm not even concerned about that right now. I'm concerned about trying to get better as a football team. That's something that there's plenty of time to talk about and worry about. We're coming off of a tough loss last night in a game where we felt like we could have won, and just like the last two weeks, and it's tough. We're trying to get better as a football team. We're playing a lot of different guys. We've had a lot of injuries, and our guys are battling. To be honest with you, I haven't even thought about that.

(on his message to the team in the final week)

I think I answered it last night. I haven't sensed anything from this team that would indicate otherwise. These guys worked hard. We haven't gotten the results on the field that we want, and we're certainly disappointed about that, but they'll work hard and play hard this week. They want to get a win. We haven't had enough of those. Trust me, our guys are hurting because of it, but we've got one more opportunity, and I really believe that they'll be focused on that.

(on what are his goals for the final game)

I think you're looking at everything when you go into a game like that. You always have goals. We talk about them every week when we put them up in front of the team. That's not going to change in this game. It's the next game for us.

(on if they are looking to improve on anything in particular in the last game)

There are always things that are specific to the team that you're playing and that you're trying to get better at. Obviously, just to mention one, third down, offensively we wanted to be better on third down, defensively trying to create turnovers, those were all just examples of things that we talk about, and certainly some specific goals that you're going to have against a football team based on what they've shown.

(on if this is the toughest year he's had as a coach)

It's been a tough year. I don't really want to get into comparing years at this point. Every year's a little bit different. The situation this year has been tough because of injuries and some of the things that we've had to deal with, but we still have another week of this season left.

(on if having a losing record wears on him)

It's not fun, but I'm happy to be here in Nashville working for this organization, and I feel that things are going to go the right way for us. It's not happened as quickly as I wanted it to. Is it tough? Sure, it's tough. We want to win. That's what this game's all about. I feel like with the ownership that's in place with Mr. Smith that he wants to do it, great relationship with Ruston (Webster), and I really believe that we're going to be successful here.

(on Derek Hagan catching passes near the sideline)

I couldn't speak to that. That would be a question for him. Obviously, you'd like to see all of our guys be in great position when they make catches. Just the way that happened, I couldn't tell you.

(on Coty Sensabaugh's issues against the Jaguars)

I'm not going to grade Coty (Sensabaugh) based on his play. That's something that we talk about with the team and we talk about with the individual players. That's a tough position to play in this league. You obviously have your assessment of how he played. I'm not going to get into a debate about that with you.

(on what Charlie Whitehurst is supposed to do in situations such as when he handed off to Leon Washington on third down)

It would help if we'd blocked it correctly up front. A lot of times when you get into those situations, and I've said this before when I've been asked this question, why don't you run it on third down some. Sometimes it's a run-pass check, and if the box counters right, then you go with that. We did that in the game and had success with it early. We should have had success with it on both of those times that we did it, and we didn't get it blocked correctly.

(on his assessment of how Coty Sensabaugh played)

Once again, I don't like to talk about individual players, except when they do good. We as a team haven't done a lot of good things. I'm not going to try to get into how Coty (Sensabaugh) did or didn't do.

(on his assessment of the pass interference penalty at the end of the game)

We're talking about judgment of an official. My opinion, it's certainly not anywhere near what you've seen from other things that haven't been called. You have to ask the official what he saw. Based on what I've seen this year, I didn't believe that it was a penalty, but obviously he did. It was a big penalty in the game, because it took a minute plus off our chance with the ball.

(on if he feels satisfied after speaking with the league offices about referee calls)

To be honest with you, some weeks I was, some weeks I wasn't. We're not always going to agree. I've said this before, officiating is a tough job. There's going to be a couple of calls that we've had this year that I still feel like weren't the correct calls. That happens. You can sit up here and talk about it all you want. It's not going to change it. If we play better football, maybe we'll start getting some of those calls.

(on what was the most satisfying part of the opening drive)

I think one of the things that you worry about when you play a Thursday night game, especially on the road, a short week like that, what you've seen happen a lot is teams get off to a slow start. One of the things that we've talked about was a fast start for us. We did that on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively. I think we converted third downs, we mixed the runs, we hit some passes down the field, and we were successful in the red zone, so some of the things that we've struggled with this year, we were able to do better with in that first drive. That's what you want. It shows improvement. In that situation, which was our first Thursday night game, what I feel like we got out of that was how we prepared, how we practiced, gave us the best chance to start fast, and that was a good thing.

(on if Taylor Lewan has been close to playing the last few weeks)

Obviously, not close enough, or he would have played. He's getting better, and hopefully we'll have a chance this week.

(on if it is important for Taylor Lewan to finish this season and how he has played)

He's a tremendous athlete playing that position, and he has played very well for us at times. What you want to see, or what you'd liked to have seen, was him to get more play time because as anything with a young player, there's things you have to grow through. He has grown. I would say overall his play has been good, but we'd like for him to be a consistently good player, and that can only come with time. I think there is value for him trying to get back, and obviously getting a chance to play a little bit just because any plays that he can get helps prepare him for moving forward, and that's a good thing.

(on if Taylor Lewan has the makings of a starting left tackle)

Yeah, I think you could put the tape on and know that. I don't think there's any question based off of what we've seen.


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