Coach Whisenhunt's Monday Press Conference Transcript



(opening statement)

In anticipation of the first question about Marcus (Mariota), right now he's doing well. We're going to see tomorrow kind of where he is, and that will give us an idea going forward this week about practice and where he fits in that.

(on if he will test the progress of Marcus Mariota's injury on the field tomorrow or with a doctor)

No, he's been here. He's been working, doing some things. It's just more about football stuff, seeing how that feels and where he is in his progress. **

(on if he is optimistic about the progress of Marcus Mariota's injury)

Yeah, once again, it's still early. We'll get a better feel as the week progresses.  **

(on what he is looking for in the progress of Marcus Mariota's injury)

I think the same thing as we said last week, just dropping, having him doing normal things, like dropping back from under center, getting a sense of where that is with his knee. But you guys saw him last week walking around. Everything looks good, it's just some of the football stuff that you want to make sure we're OK with.

(on if Marcus Mariota benefitted from observing yesterday's game)

It was tough. It was tough for him before the game. We talked about that. You could see it in his face, especially when we were on the field pre-game. That's a quality that you like. But as far as benefit, I mean physically, sure, it gives him a chance to get healthier. He got a different perspective watching a regular season game from the sideline. We don't want that to happen often because he is good football player. **

(on if wanting Marcus Mariota back soon clouds the judgement on the state of his injury)

Well that's why we have an independent guy in Todd (Toriscelli), our trainer, making sure that everything is good. I think that's an important piece of it. You know, he's worked with him a lot, even since the ankle and coming back from that. So he has a good sense for Marcus (Mariota), and we certainly want to make sure he's OK before he gets back on the field.

(on if recovery for the same injury can vary by position based on different uses of the knee)

Well let me say this, let me see if I can give you, you said a sprained MCL, let me see if I can give you a generalization of a sprained MCL. A first-degree is no tearing, a third-degree is a complete tear and a two is somewhere way in between there. So there are varying degrees of what you said is a grade-two sprain. Different injuries, there are different results from, so one might not be as bad as another. As far as the positional things go, each one of those things would be tied into what you do specifically with your position and how that affects your knee. But once again, it also goes back to how much your knee was injured, and that's all a part of the process. **

(on Zach Mettenberger's performance yesterday)

As with anything, there is always a throw or two that you'd like to have back. Certainly, that last throw. But I thought he did a nice job moving in the pocket, he had two hands on the ball, protected it well, he got the ball out quick at times. You could tell that he was a little rusty. I think the one throw to Delanie (Walker) down in the red zone right before the half where it was a little high was a good indication of that. But he did some good things.

(on if having two hands on the ball and moving in the pocket were points he stressed to Zach Mettenberger after last season)

I think moving in the pocket, two hands on the ball, he looked like a different player as far as his feet in the pocket. That's something that he worked on, and like I said, he is healthier this year than he was last year. But yeah, that's a part of it for him.

(on the number of carries being low in a game that was optimal to run the ball in)

Well, let's see, I think we had 54 plays, roughly. If you take 15 or so out for two-minute, that puts you at about 40, and you take out nine third-downs, that puts you at about 31, or so, give or take. And then how many carries did we have yesterday, about 15? So it was about 50 percent run. I think what skewed it a little bit was certainly the two-minute situations. But that was a good run defense too. That was the number one run defense in the league. We did have some effectiveness running the football and we certainly want to continue to run it for sure. **

(on taking Antonio Andrews out in situations where he had something going)

Well I know the fourth and the fifth play were back-to-back carries for him. I remember that because that was the first run that we hit and it was a big run. Then we had the same exact play the other way that we didn't have as much success with the second time. So I mean, it does happen. I think the way you look at it when you're trying to attack an opponent, you look at situations and you look at schemes that go in. Backs are attached to those schemes that you're trying to run that you think are going to be successful. So when you call a play, you're not necessarily calling a back. You don't have someone standing on the sideline that just says, 'Hey back, go in,' they're tagged into those groupings. So when you're trying to attack them a certain way, that's how it goes when you get in there. A lot of times, the way a game goes, you'll get into a mode where you'll run certain plays more than others, so those consecutive carries happen.  **

(on if Antonio Andrews earned more carries based on his performance yesterday)

Yeah, I agree. I certainly think that Antonio (Andrews) deserves more carries. I mean, if you look at the way he played and the way he's run it lately. But let's not forget too, he missed a couple of weeks of training camp. He missed the first couple of weeks of the season with an injury, and he was largely an unproven commodity coming into this season. So what we've seen in the last couple of weeks is really our first exposure to Antonio in this season and it's definitely a positive.

(on Bishop Sankey's situation)

He didn't get the opportunities yesterday just because of the way the game went. That's how it goes sometimes, unfortunately, because of specific packages. Dexter (McCluster) got more yesterday because he was in there with the two-minute and some of the other personnel that we used.


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