TITANS HEAD COACH KEN WHISENHUNT PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT - September 4, 2015
(Opening Statement – Andy Levitre trade)
As you know I'm sure, we traded Andy (Levitre) to Atlanta. We felt like it was an opportunity for both clubs and the player. It was a good situation. I really appreciate the time that Andy has put in here. I think one of the things I respect most about Andy is, he's a good football player, but he's also very good in the community, and that's something that I think is really important. I'm happy for Andy because he gets an opportunity to go down and play and potentially start in Atlanta, and it was something that was certainly good for us, so we're ready to move on.
(on if the team assumed a piece of Andy Levitre's salary)*
You'd have to ask the cap guys for that. I'm just worried about trying to get the best players.
(on if the offensive line is set)
Pretty much, yeah, it's set.
(on confidence in Jeremiah Poutasi and what he brings at right tackle)
I guess as much confidence as you can have in a rookie, in a young player. He's going to go against some pretty good pass rushers and pretty good players now as opposed to in preseason football, so the adjustment is going to be big for him. But what I like about him is that he's athletic, he's worked very hard, and he's gotten better over the three games that he's played. We know that there's going to be times when he is going to struggle a little bit, and we'll try to do some things to help him.
(on Byron Bell's progress over the last few weeks)
He's gotten better. Byron (Bell) is bigger in there and he's done a nice job. So we felt good about that move.
(on Andy Gallik's performance at guard)
I think that's been one of the more pleasant surprises of camp, is his assertion as a guard. He's done a really good job with that. In fact, last night he gave up one sack and he was really upset about that. But he actually improved. It's nice to see a young player, especially one that you drafted, do that. That's probably one of the reasons why we felt like we were able to go in this direction is because we got a guy that is able to play the center and the guard.
(on how tough it will be to make cuts at the tight end position)
We've got 12 cuts to make. They're going to be tough, not respectively, whether it's the tight ends or not. It's tough. Other than losing a game, this is the toughest part of the job. Having to do that today with nine players was difficult. The tight end group specifically is going to be a tough position to decide. Usually at that position you'll have some injuries. You'll have guys that have played. We didn't have that this year and all of these guys have played well, so it's a tough positon to find, and certainly we feel very good about where it is right now. It's going to all fit in to the whole roster puzzle that we're trying to work through right now.
(on if there is anything to read into regarding the fact that there are four quarterbacks on the roster after a few waves of cuts)
I don't know, what do you think? What should we read into that? I don't have anything for you that we should read into or not. Like I said, we're trying to put together the roster and we're working through a lot of different decisions.
(on the identity of the team now that preseason is over)
I can't really sit here and tell you that because we don't know what it's going to be. We haven't played a regular season game yet. If I could take anything out of preseason, I would say our ability to force turnovers on defense and score off of those offensively is something that if we can carry into the regular season would give us great benefit. So we're going to find out what that identity is as we play games and that's really what's important.
(on Blidi Wreh-Wilson's first time back in a game after injury)
I thought he did well. He looked confident, he made plays on the ball and it certainly was something that we needed at that position and it was good to see him play that way.
(on what the process will be like leading up to the final cuts and if it will be an all-nighter for the coaches)
Pretty much, yeah. It's pretty tough. We were there late last night just talking about the roster and where we wanted to go, and then we slept on it for a couple hours and back in here this morning just trying to work through some things. We knew ahead of time yesterday that potentially that could happen with Andy (Levitre) and that was part of it. So a lot of things going on, it's a tough time but it's what you have to do.
(on where the toughest decision will come in the final cuts)
Like I said, I guess we can talk about it when we get to the 53. Right now there's still a lot left to go on.
(on the running back group)
I still think we're excited about the guys at positon. I've said all along there are going to be different packages for different guys that try to play to their strong suits. So that's going to be part of it. It depends on what our plans involve with Tampa and how that goes. There are going to be some weeks I think where maybe somebody will get more carries than another. I just asked this question in camp and the idea of the bell cow getting all the carries, you just don't see that as much.
(on players standing out in the linebacker group)
Yeah it was good. It was good to see those guys. That's going to help impact our decision as far as that group goes. We felt like just from the standpoint of not being as deep at the outside position with (Brian) Orakpo and (Derrick) Morgan it was smart to hold them out. Plus, it gave a chance for (Jonathan) Massaquoi and (Deiontrez) Mount to play, plus some guys behind them, so we got some good tape on them and I think that was good. Some of those guys did good for themselves.
(on is Jonathan Massaquoi is where he should be in regards to weight and fitness level)
I don't usually talk about fitness levels or weights in a public forum, that's something that we do with our team. If they aren't at either one of those they get either A: fined, or B: extra conditioning.
(on the schedule for this week)
Yeah, we didn't do a whole lot on Tampa. We'll do some on it Monday when they come back. They're off tomorrow and Sunday. We've got treatment for the guys who have it. I'm sure some guys will come in here and lift, and do some body maintenance. We'll get started even earlier than we usually do on Tampa. We'll have practice Monday with an introduction to Tampa.
(on Marcus Mariota's readiness level for the regular season)
Well, I'm not into predictions about him. I guess we'll find out how he plays in the regular season. That goes back to the other one. Marcus (Mariota) has done a nice job. He's worked very hard to improve, and I think he's done a good job on the field. Is he ready for a regular season game? I guess that question will be answered in Tampa.
(on if Marcus Mariota coming from a spread offense has helped him with the speed of NFL play)
You know, I don't know. I don't know the answer to that question. To me, we have certain things we look for in a quarterback and their ability to play that position. I don't know if it has anything to do with the spread offense or not. We did a lot of work with Marcus, and felt like we had a good idea of what he was, what he could do, and we felt very comfortable with him. That's why we took him. I don't know that that has anything to do with the spread offense or how they run it.
(on if it is reasonable to bring in a new player and have them contribute in the first game)
That's happened to me as a player, and it's hard to do. I know it's hard to come in and think you're going to integrate into a system in a week. I was in Washington and went to the Jets on a Monday and had to play on Sunday. I was really a smart football player, and that was pretty difficult. Where it could happen potentially is at a position where there's, maybe a wide receiver position, but if you talk about a running back in protections, if you talk about a defensive player, even a cornerback, understanding the calls and what you're responsibilities are, some of that takes time. I think that you could help yourself positionally, maybe with a player through the waivers, but I think him helping you on Sunday is going to be difficult.
(on the level of practice for Monday)
What I've found through the years is there's a couple of different ways to go about it. You could give them Monday off, then have an extra day straight through, but by the end of the week you feel like, especially since you've been putting in a little work already on that opponent, it's a little bit stale. We'll have an introduction. We'll have some competitive things Monday. They'll get a day off Tuesday, and then we'll have a normal routine. The level of it, obviously, we're limited on what we can do from padded practices, so we'll be in shells. We'll be able to work through some things, but it won't be as heavy as Wednesday and Thursday will be.
(on if game planning will be done before Monday)
No, not all of it, but a good portion of it will. Then it will just be about tweaking it. We break down our game planning by situational stuff and they go in on different days. A good part of it will be done.
(on how unavailable players with injuries affects roster cuts)
You know, I think that sometimes, it depends on your depth at that position. Sometimes you hold your breath going in, because it's not something you can necessarily address in a 53-man roster. In other areas, in our defensive line, we feel pretty good about our depth there. Whether Sammie Hill is ready or not to go, with the way Al Woods has played, with DaQuan Jones being able to play again, with Angelo Blackson. Those kinds of things make it a little bit easier. Sometimes you have to go into a game short and you have to have a backup plan. Just like Kendall Wright was our backup quarterback a couple of times last year. That's what it is with 53 active, actually a 46 game day roster.
(on him not making predictions on specific players)
Partly, maybe, just playing it a little closer to the vest too, because I don't want Tampa reading that we're going to be a certain way and getting an idea that maybe that's what we're trying to do. Yeah, I do believe that a large part of it is our identity is established by our players and what we do. To be honest to you, I could sit here and tell you what I think we can do pretty well in preseason, but what we can do well in regular season, some of it we're going to have to see. It's a whole different arena.
(on the difference between a preseason week and regular season week for a rookie quarterback)
I don't think the week will be that bad. It's a little bit different, because you get so geared into the competitive part of it now every day. Doing it against the cards and doing it against the carded defense, it's not as fast. It's not exactly what you want to see. I don't really think that's the big deal. The big deal is going to be the actual game, because as much as you want to talk about the speed of a preseason game, or what goes on, the things that you'll see, it's completely different. It's just like when you go from a regular season game to a playoff game. That's the way it is. There will be a little bit of a, 'wow, this is happening pretty fast,' but I said this before about Marcus (Mariota) too, it seems to me that he doesn't get flustered very easily and he's playing in some big games on some big stages, so I think he'll be able to handle it OK.