Coach Whisenhunt's Saturday Press Conference Transcript



(on if he is considering not playing Marcus Mariota in the fourth preseason game)

I don't know. I don't think I have to answer that question today. We're considering a lot of things for this game and we're considering both options for Marcus (Mariota).

(on what the pros and cons would be of not playing Marcus Mariota in the fourth preseason game)

I don't know if want to get into the pros and cons of it because I think it's just an individual preference for what you want to get done. He's had a good preseason, he's making a lot of progress, and we feel good about where he's going. So you could look at it as another opportunity to get him a little bit more work. You could look at it as an opportunity to not expose him to something that could keep him out of the first game, not that you would expect that to happen. But if you said pros and cons, that would be it in a nutshell.

(on what the philosophy will be for coaching the fourth preseason game)

It's a very fluid one. I think some of it depends on your team and what you feel like you need to do, and where you are from an injury perspective. I would say certainly some of our guys earned an opportunity to play in the fourth game last night, and I don't mean that in a positive way.

(on Zach Brown's tackling)

They didn't improve. Our team as a whole, I think we had 96 yards after contact last night that we gave up, and that's too big of a number. We took some bad angles, we didn't do things that we needed to do. That's something that I'm confident that we'll work on and we'll get cleaned up.

(on what he attributes the poor performance on tackling to)

Probably a little bit of everything. There's no question that you could feel the effects of our team during the game last night. We at times played like a tired team; we didn't have the same attention to detail. Some of it was the fact that we were on a short week and you're going against a team that had a chance to prepare more and they were certainly, their offense, they executed a lot better. So it's a great teaching tape. We're not real happy with some of the things that went on in that game and we're going to work to correct them.

(on the starting five at offensive line)

It's fair to say they've made a case for themselves. I still think we've got time to work through some things, but they've done some good things and made a case to be the five guys.

(on if the team took a step forward last night or a step back)

It's hard when you talk about preseason. I think everybody wants to measure it based off the game. There were parts of it where we took a step forward, parts of it where we took a step back. There's a lot of situations that come up in a game that you evaluate based on what's going on for that particular game. As far as tackling goes, certainly I think that was a step back. We had opportunities to get players down, but there were other areas where I think we continued to progress and continue to go forward.

(on the game plan for Minnesota)

I think we're putting a little bit more time into Minnesota than we were able to do on Kansas City. It's just more for preparation. I think it's more about preparing this week like you do more of an in-season week because we didn't get that last week. Not so much the game plan itself as it is going through the mechanics of doing that, the meeting times, what you're looking at, breaking it down into the different categories, and those kinds of things. But I don't think our plan will be more complicated.

(on Marcus Mariota's game planning preparedness going into the first regular season game)

A lot of the competitive practices that you do in training camp are set up off of a plan. You go in with an installation. That's essentially a plan, and then you go in and you go against the looks that you have to adjust to in the course of practice. I think what I'm talking about is the specific details of the meeting times, what we're looking for, and how we break it down during the week. We have a call sheet that has situational football that we talk about every week before we play. Instead of putting specific plays to an opponent in there, we put plays that we run or ones that we're going to run for the game. From that standpoint, I certainly feel like (Marcus Mariota) has had preparation.

(on how different the regular season will be from the preseason and how it will affect Marcus Mariota)

Well the speed of it changes a little bit. It gets faster, and you're playing for four quarters against some pretty good opponents. So you see a lot more than at times you see in preseason. So it's a different game, it's probably something that he'll adjust to. But let's not overlook the fact that the young man's played in a lot of big games on a lot of big stages. He's got a good basis and understanding of how to respond.

(on how tough this week will be, juggling the roster and making cuts)

Yeah, I think that's a good question with where we are from an injury perspective; hopefully we'll get some guys back this week. But it's always tough when you have to make cuts. We've got to release 15 players this week which is never easy, especially since you've been grinding it out with these guys for a number of practices and a number of days, but I think we're all familiar with where it is in that process, so we're prepared for that. Some of the cuts, some of the decisions we make will definitely have an eye towards being able to get through this game with good health of our team going into the opener.

(on Blidi Wreh-Wilson retuning this week)

Yeah, I'd say that's a good possibility. The plan is, if that goes OK, to get him some snaps in the game as well.

(on if the injured linebackers (J.R. Tavai, Zaviar Gooden and Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil) will return this week)

I think (J.R.) Tavai we'll see. I think we're going to try to work him back in Monday. It would be nice to see if he can do some things, but once again that's going to be dependent on how he does Monday with going outside. But probably not with the other two (Zaviar Gooden and Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil).

(on if Sammie Hill re-aggravated his knee last night)

He just had a little bit of soreness. We looked at it, we came back and it looks like there's nothing that's going to be an issue, so we'll move forward with that.

(on if Da'Norris Searcy and Hakeem Nicks were injured last night)

I anticipate both of them will practice this week and have the potential to play.

(on the progress of the offensive line)

They continued to progress. Those five guys, it's a part of it. They did some good things, did a good job at protection. We got some different fronts when you play against Kansas City, you get the solid fronts, you get a lot of the pressures and as far as communication and being able to do a good job with those for the most part there were some good things.

(on the chemistry of the offensive line)

Well I don't think it matters what you're talking about, whether its D-line, O-line, secondary, I mean that's always a part of it. That's where we are as a team, we're trying to get the best group together going forward and a lot of spots besides the offensive line. We've got a lot of young guys, we've got a lot of new guys and we're working to try and do that.

(on how Bishop Sankey ran last night)

Well, I didn't like the fumble, but other than that, he did OK. That's a tough front to run against, especially when you don't get an opportunity to plan against them like you normally would and we started off with a six-yard gain on the first run, but we had some mistakes in the blocking scheme last night as well. It was OK.

(on if Justin Hunter is inconsistent between practice and games)

Well, he's had some good games. You remember the Cleveland game last year, he made some big plays. Last night was a little of a step back for him. Hopefully he'll get a chance to redeem himself this week and see what he can do. Like I said, I thought the arrow was moving up on Justin (Hunter) as far as progress he was making in camp and he's been working hard. That happens sometimes. You can't have every game be perfect. The beauty of this game is he'll get a chance to respond Thursday night and see how he handles it.

(on if there would be cuts before Tuesday)

I think they'll be some ahead of deadline and some closer to that. I think we'll do it in batches, a couple of batches. Some of it's going to depend where we are from an injury perspective and depth of position. There are a couple of spots where that will be in consideration, but I think we'll do a batch early and then maybe one closer to the deadline.

(on if he feels comfortable with the running back position)

I'm excited because I've seen a lot of good things out of Antonio Andrews and out of Dexter McCluster. It was good to see Dexter contribute and run the ball last night the way he did. He was effective; he did a nice job in the protection. He had one where he had to block a linebacker in the A-gap and he did a nice job with that. Antonio has done a nice job as well, so we feel a lot better about the position with those guys. David Fluellen is a talented young guy that has shown signs of being pretty good, a physical runner, and knowing that we'll get David (Cobb) back makes us feel a little bit better about it. I'm sure we'll look and see what else is out there and if there's somebody that can help us, if we need that.

(on how Cody Riggs performed with the injuries at cornerback)

It's a good opportunity for him. He's had an opportunity to play a lot of snaps. It's been good to prepare him. I think we certainly have a better sense of who he is and what his strengths are, as we do with Coty Sensabaugh, which is good, even Marqueston Huff. Getting Huff snaps in there at corner, he's had his struggles at that position, which you expect that from a guy we just threw in there. It gives us a good basis of information on these guys.

(on if he will add players at cornerback)

I think if we get Blidi Wreh-Wilson and certainly Jason McCourty back you feel good about the position and we know that's going to happen, but I don't think you ever say no you're not going to look. If we have a chance to get our team better, that's something you always look at.

(on the inconsistent pass interference calls in the game)

From my perspective I thought it was. It looked like to me Delanie Walker was interfered with and it was hard to see where there was a whole lot of difference between what was called on Coty Sensabaugh. That's why it's so tough on those officials. It's a tough job that they have, and my perspective doesn't matter on that, it's what was called on the field. I certainly felt like Delanie's play was him trying to come back to the ball and that was tough situation.

(on equipment managers working after the game because of the rain)

They're still working at it. There was one lighter note, where Alex Tanney was in there at quarterback, and you guys all know how hard it was raining. He has his towel on, and of course it's soaked, and takes his towel and tries to wipe off his hands and then he has to go like this (shakes hands) when he realizes how wet it is. It was pretty tough conditions.

(on if he has ever seen that much rain)

Since last year in the preseason.

(on if there was consideration to continue the game)

When we walked off the field the referee said, 'I'm suspending it.' I said, 'Are we continuing to play?' He said, 'I'm suspending it, that's what I have to do, and I'm going to have to talk to New York'. At that point I was OK if he wanted to end the game, which I assumed he talked to Coach (Andy) Reid about, with the same perspective. Then we went back to the locker room, and I told the team that the game was suspended with the idea that we were going to have to go back out. It wasn't too much longer where the referee came to me and told me the game had been called and if I was OK with that and I said, 'yeah' and at that point we were good.

(on getting Marcus Mariota two-minute work)

We scored a touchdown. There was one point in that game, one of the real positives from that game, whenever you defer the opening kickoff, part of the reason you do that is if you get a chance to get the ball right before the half and then have it coming back out. Well we scored a touchdown right before the half and got the ball and started to move it, and I thought it was going to be one of those situations where you can get 14 points without them ever touching the football. The first part of that was good, it was nice to be able to get down there in the two-minute type situation and score a touchdown. That was good for us. It was good to get him that work and he certainly seemed like he was comfortable with it.

(on if the team needs to pressure the passer more)

Well we did get pressure on him, that's why they ran out of the pocket a couple of times. We've got to cover better when they come out of the pocket, because if we do that we can get them tackled or incomplete passes. That's their scheme, a lot of it is screens, a lot of it are the quick throws, the movement things. We have been able to get some pressure on the quarterback, but it's just a question of continuing to work on it to get home.


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