Coach Whisenhunt's Thursday Practice Report

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TITANS HEAD COACH KEN WHISENHUNT**

(on Jake Locker's injury status)

He's getting there. It's very similar to where it was at last time. I really wish I could tell you more, but it's going to come down to him being able to grip it and throw it. That's going to be what ultimately determines when he can go. He's throwing it a little bit, but that's expected. It's just getting through that last piece of it.

(on Michael Roos' injury)

I don't think I'm going to get into specifics of the injury. He's got an issue with his knee. Unfortunately, he's going to need surgery to correct that, and that's going to put him out.

(on his confidence in Taylor Lewan replacing Michael Roos)

He's a guy that's really improved during the course. I think it's helped having a guy that plays the position very well in front of him, how he prepares. He knew that this was coming, and he's been preparing and working hard. He's gotten better. I guess we'll find out Sunday.

(on Taylor Lewan's penalties this season)

We've had a number of discussions about it. I told you guys last week that the one on Sunday was a little bit of an acting job, but he's a target, so we can't have that.

(on Taylor Lewan being a target for penalties)

There was a lot of stuff said about that before the draft. People are predisposed to that, independent of anything else. I don't think that has any bearing on his play.

(on Taylor Lewan's impact on the offensive line)

I think the way you affect the line is you play well at that position. I hope he does affect it, but that means he's playing well. I think we've had discussions about there's a fine line between being an intense player and one that's going to hurt the team from a penalty standpoint. I just want to make it clear, I'm not expecting that from him. That's not something that I perceive him as. He's a good player. He works hard. We'll get a chance to see him play on Sunday.

(on what the team gains with Taylor Lewan replacing Michael Roos)

I guess we'll see Sunday. There's no substitute for playing in the games. We'll see what he brings to the table when he gets out there. He's a talented football player. He's going to do a good job at that position. We believe he's going to be a good player for us for a long time.

(on Taylor Lewan playing as the first-round draft pick)

Really the whole decision about drafting him was we felt like he was a really good player that's going to play for us for a long time. That was the point. Am I happy that we have him? Absolutely. Michael Roos did a good for us. He was a good pro. I really appreciate the effort and the work that he did, and hopefully that portion of being a good pro rubs off on Taylor (Lewan) and he plays well.

(on players stepping up as leaders)

I was asked this question earlier, and I think we've got a number of leaders on this football team. There are guys that aren't afraid to speak up. I'm sure that they'll do that if we need to. I don't feel we're lacking in that direction. What we have to do is play more consistently as a team, and we're all working to try to do that.

(on the future of Michael Roos' career)

I think a large part of that's going to depend on what the rehab process is with all of that. I don't know the details of what's going to be involved with the surgery. That's a question that would be asked or answered later. Like I said, that's not something I can even talk about at this time. We're trying to prepare for Jacksonville on Sunday, and that's really where we're focused.

(on the fans favoring Zach Mettenberger over Charlie Whitehurst at quarterback)

The thing I'd say to that is, I can understand that from the way that Zach (Mettenberger) played in the preseason. It shows a lot of promise. We can't lose sight of the fact that Charlie (Whitehurst's) played well for us when he's been in there. When you talk about a team and going forward as a team, that's an important piece of it. Charlie's doing a good job. Just as much as Zach has earned the right based on his preseason play, Charlie's earned the right. I think as far as being a team and being a unit that is focused on one thing, you have to keep those things in mind. That's really the answer to it.

(on if using Zach Mettenberger at quarterback sends a negative message to the fans)

I don't think people would see it that way, especially not players on this team after what we've seen Zach (Mettenberger) do in the preseason. I think you understand that he is a rookie, but I'm pleased with Zach's progress in the role that he's been in. He's working hard, he's getting better. He's gotten some reps over the last few weeks, more of them because of the way the quarterback situation's gone. If his time comes, when his time comes, he's preparing to do that. That's all you can ask of him.

(on what he sees from Jaguars QB Blake Bortles)

He's a big guy, moves well, can throw the football very well. He does a lot of good things. He's a hard guy to get down in the pocket, and he can extend plays with his feet. From that standpoint, he's a talented young player.

(on comparing Blake Bortles to Ben Roethlisberger)

I think I saw where Ben (Roethlisberger) said last week that he reminded him of him as a younger player. It's kind of hard for me to make that comparison, because when I was with Ben, he was unbelievable. We were 15-1 as a team as a rookie. To me, that will always be something that's hard to touch.

(on making changes on special teams)

Special teams is a constant shifting around. That's an area that we haven't played as well as we would like to in certain areas. Our coverage units have been good, but our return units and obviously our punt protection hasn't been what we wanted. You're always shuffling and trying to give guys opportunities to show they can do it.

(on facing the Jacksonville Jaguars)

They do a good job with their special teams units. We're well aware that our level of play has to be much better than it has been in order to compete with this team.

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