TITANS HEAD COACH KEN WHISENHUNT PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT - August 24, 2015 **
I think I'll start by giving you some information about Jason McCourty. He had surgery on his groin today. It was something that we thought was going to be able to be fixed through the rehab process and it just wasn't responding as quickly as we would have like, so he had that surgery done and it went well. So now it's just a process of rehab. I don't know the exact time of the rehab, but I'm not ruling him out for the first game. He's been rehabbing and working so he's in pretty good shape and I think that will aid in his rehab and we'll just see how it progresses. **
(on when he felt like Jason McCourty needed surgery)*
It probably happened over the past couple of days, like at the end of last week. Probably Thursday or Friday is when we got the idea that might be what we needed to do. This was something that we felt like we didn't want it to nag him the whole season, so at that point, because it wasn't responding to rehab like we thought that it would be, we felt like it was in the best interest of all of us to go ahead and get it fixed and get it out of the way. **
(on if it was a tear of the groin)
He had a small tear in there, but it wasn't a torn groin. All I know is that it is in good shape and we anticipate that he will be back and I don't think it is going to be long term. **
(on if he is comfortable with the corners)
Well, regardless of that, I think you always look at those other options. I mean that is an important time, because you never know who's going to be available, but I certainly feel comfortable with the preseason that Cody Riggs has had and with the anticipation that we will get Blidi Wreh-Wilson back. We feel pretty good about that position. Plus Cody Riggs has played well as a young player and getting Marqueston Huff some reps there makes us feel a lot better about that position. **
(on when Blidi Wreh-Wilson will return)
I think he'll do some work later this week. I think there's a real chance he'll be able to play potentially in the Minnesota game, maybe at the end of this week, depending on how it responds. He's been running on the field and looking good, it's just the final stages of getting through that. **
(on if Blidi Wreh-Wilson's injury elevates Cody Riggs on the depth chart)
Cody Riggs has had a good camp. He's battled the whole time, he's done a nice job in the preseason and he'll get opportunities this week to further that. He's definitely been a nice addition for a free agent and certainly I respect the way he goes about his business. **
(on if Marqueston Huff will play more at corner)
I mean that's always a possibility, that's why he was in there getting some reps. His versatility to do that is definitely a bonus. **
(on the offensive line's performance last night)
You know it's funny, just like last week when I talked about practice, there were some good things, some bad things. I don't think the line played as badly as you guys made it out to be last week and I don't certainly think that we played maybe as good as we might think they did last night, but they were physical. We started the game better and I certainly liked that. When you play, a defense like the Rams, one that will give you pressure, that move the front, that penetrate you're going to have some fits that aren't great and we had that last night. There are some technique things that we have to continue to correct, but as a unit I thought they did a good job. **
(on what he saw from Jeremiah Poutasi and Byron Bell)
Well they played a number of snaps so we got a chance to look at them. That process will continue, but that's a part of preseason. **
(on if he likes having a bigger offensive line with Jeremiah Poutasi and Byron Bell)
Well is bigger always better. To me it's all about how that unit works together and the effectiveness of it. I think the most important thing last night that I saw from our team where we were very physical starting out. It was a physical football game, but there was a good intensity with it. Our guys came off the ball on the offensive line and did some good things. There were certainly some holes that were opened up early and our backs did a nice job of hitting them. I said last week and I stay with it, we are still looking for the best combination. Could this be it, I don't know it could be it, but we're going to continue to look at these guys and hopefully it will continue. **
(on if he is tempted to start the same guys with a short week ahead)
Yeah I'd say there is probably a good chance of that. We're still going to rotate the other guys in just like we've been doing in practice and they'll certainly get some opportunities in the game.
(on if Bishop Sankey ran differently this week)
Bishop Sankey has been working hard to get better and he got better last night and that's really all I am concerned about. We want to continue with that trend; he's worked very hard. He was decisive last night, he made some really good cuts. He looked really good running the football. I think it was a combination of a lot of things, but it was nice to see and hopefully we can continue with that. **
(on how Andy Levitre played)
He played hard, he made some good blocks for us. I thought he played a lot of snaps. There was not a disparity between the number of snaps that the other line played in the game. **
(on the value of Zach Mettenberger)
You have to give credit to Zach Mettenberger he's really playing well. A lot of the things we talked about working on in the off seasons, he's translating to the game. His footwork is good in the pocket, he moves well. He has made good decisions, he's been accurate throwing the football. He's a lot more comfortable out there in what we're asking him to do and to his credit he worked hard in the offseason to get into better shape and his knee is healthier. He's really played well, it's nice to see, it's good for our football team. **
(on the talk of trading Zach Mettenberger)
We're excited about Zach, he's doing a nice job for us. We're excited about Marcus Mariota. Our whole quarterback group has played very well. We're completing almost percent of our passes in the preseason which is pretty astounding so it's a good problem to have.
(on Alex Tanney throwing a touchdown and getting the team excited)
I mean these guys work hard and they pull for each other. When you get the opportunity, the chance in a game, to make one of those plays, it's special. It's what it is all about and it was great to see that. **
(on the progress of Dorial Green-Beckham and his comfort level)
I don't know when the comfort level with Dorial Green-Beckham is going to come, we're still working through a couple of things with him. It's obvious he's a very talented young man and he did some good things for us last night, but he also covered up Phillip Supernaw in an illegal formation in a 37-yard completion, which doesn't really excite you a whole lot sometimes. I think we just have to continue to work through those things. We're trying to get him involved in a little bit more just because of what he's shown and we'll do that. We've got a good group. I think Kendall Wright and Harry Douglas are good leaders. It's good to see Justin Hunter coming on the way he has, so I think it's great with that group, because they see that Dorial Green-Beckham can help us out and they're excited about helping him get better.
(on if Dorial Green-Beckham is where he wants him to be)
When you think about 20 months away from football you know there are going to be some growing pains, especially when you are coming to the NFL level from the type of offense he was running, but he likes to work. He's working hard at it, I don't have any problems with him. I think certainly, you like having young players like that, that are into it, that want to do well. It's good that he'll continue to push himself and we'll continue to find ways to get him involved. * *
(on if Dorial Green-Beckham catching three in a row was a part of getting him comfortable)
Probably the only thing we were trying to get him was oxygen on that drive, because he got a little bit gassed, but no, not really, that was just the scheme of defense that they were playing. He did a nice job, his awareness of getting out of bounds in that situation was good to see. It was good to see him run with the football a little bit. There a lot of things we have to continue to work on with him, but it's nice to see him make some plays. That naked that we threw to him when the time before we had run the play, that was the second play I think we ran from scrimmage which was maybe an 18 yard gain by Bishop Sankey and he came down and cut off the defensive end. He did a nice job blocking. It's good to see him involved and doing some of those things. **
(on if starters would get the most playing time this week)
I don't know. To be honest with you, this week is a little bit different, because it's a short week. I mean this is almost like a Thursday night game for us. I think it may be a bit of a different approach than a normal third preseason game because of that. We have a lot of guys that are nicked, because it was such a physical game and a lot of it is going to be determined by how well we get during the course of the week. I think the most important thing for us is that we try to continue with what we did in this game and that's to play physical and start fast, but the only way you can do that is if we can get healthy enough by the end of the week. **
(on if the short turnaround alters his usual plan)
Yeah, I wish I could say I was smart enough to do that in anticipation of it. I think we were more focused the first two games in trying to look at different players, but I think where we are now, yeah, it's a little bit different. I don't know that we'll be able to do a normal third preseason week or what the expectations of that would be, so we'll see how it goes during the course of the week. **
(on if the third game is a dress rehearsal for the first regular season game)
I think you have to throw that out of the window. If you really think about it we have one day of practice and that's Wednesday. Today is an off day for the players, they'll come in tomorrow. We aren't even going to practice until late tomorrow afternoon and it'll be an abbreviated workout for a lot of guys that played a lot and then Wednesday is a regular practice. Thursday is a little more than a walk through, then we travel to Kansas City. We don't have a lot of time with them in order to install a whole plan, practice it. It is a little bit like a Thursday game, which usually you are playing a division opponent so you know a little bit more and that helps. We're playing a team that runs a 3-4 defense which is a little bit more familiar than maybe what we've faced the last two weeks for us, so that'll help. We're facing an offense that does a lot of different things and we're not having a chance to prepare for those things. It's going to be a little bit more difficult. Once again, I think the focus for us needs to be on how we started that game from a standpoint of energy, being physical, trying to do some of those things that we did this week.
(on if not treating this week as a dress rehearsal will affect the team in the regular season)
No, I don't think it affects you for the regular season.
(on if starters would play into the third quarter in one of the last preseason games)
It won't happen in the last preseason game. It could happen, but I don't know if it will happen in this game. It's going to depend on where we feel like we are.
(on if he would be OK if the players didn't play into the third quarter in either remaining preseason game)
Yeah, I'd be OK. **
(on what injured players will return this week)
Delanie Walker will play. I said that. He could have played but we held him out and in this past game he actually warmed up before the game. He'll play this week. Those other three linebackers, they're getting closer. I don't know for sure. One of the three or two of the three we have hopes that they will be able to play. I don't think it's realistic to think all three of them would. You've got to get out there on the field and see how that goes. We'd like to have them back because we'd like to find out, especially the young guys, about how they can progress. **
(on if Sammie Hill would return this week)
Sammie Hill will return this week. He and Delanie Walker both we expect to play this week. **
(on if any of the young linebackers have distinguished themselves)
We have a lot of them. At different times, different ones have, but no one has consistently done that. That's why we've got to continue to play them and see how they do.
(on Andrew Turzilli's injury)
It's a high ankle. I just don't know how long it's going to be, if it's going to be a couple of weeks or sooner. We'll see how it responds. **
(on if DaQuan Jones was injured last night)
I think I said after the game last night he could have gone back in, but we held him out. He was OK.
(on if Josh Aubrey had a hamstring injury)
He just had some tightness, so we kept him out. We'll try to make sure that we don't do too much. It's a little big sore today. It's not necessarily a pull, but I expect him to be able to go this week. **
(on if the team will keep four tight ends once the final cuts are made )
Yeah, I don't think there's anything written in stone about the numbers that we have to keep or don't have to keep. I think some of it's going to be determined by special teams play. Some of it's going to be determined by what they bring to the team. So that's why we've been trying to play different players at different times and work on accommodations to see how they handle it. **
(on if Jason McCourty could have gotten surgery sooner)
We didn't think there was really an issue when we first gave him that day off back however long ago. And then during the course of that process over the next few weeks, we felt like during the normal course of rehab that he would get better. We just didn't see that it was progressing quickly enough through rehab, so we opted to go this path in order to make sure there wasn't going to be a problem for us during the season.
(on if Marcus Mariota was coached to not take bait in pocket when the defense drops eight or if he picked it up on his own)
That's something, when you're going through the normal course of preparing for an opponent, you obviously look at what their tendencies are or what they show that they do, and in that area of the field, I think the Rams were maybe fifth in the league in red zone last year which is a pretty good number. And then you look at why they were, one of the things that they did was they dropped eight. They dropped one of the defensive linemen out and they rushed three. What it does is it makes it difficult for you to find the zones to throw it. So on a third-down situation like that, we anticipated that that potentially could happen, especially with a quarterback like Marcus (Mariota) where the natural tendency, as athletic as he is, would be to take off. But in that instance, he's become comfortable enough in the pocket, moving in the pocket and progressing his reads that he handled it very well. So it was something that he was aware of, in fact we talked about it after the fact, and he said, 'Yeah, I knew that I couldn't take off because they were going to close on me quickly.'