TITANS HEAD COACH KEN WHISENHUNT**
(on the referees at practice)
They're going to give us a list of the penalties. We talked about it during the practice, they talked to the players individually. We'll go over that with them in the morning or this afternoon, the penalties and when they happened. If during practice there's one, then they'll be penalized for that, something that we're going to keep in house.
(on how often the referees blew the whistle during practice)
They blew it once. I told them not to blow it because what I don't want to have happen is them stopping practice. We're trying to practice at a tempo. They're going to throw the flags, they're going to tell the coaches, they're going to talk to the players, and then we'll adjust it after.
(on how many penalties were made during practice)
I don't know the total. Not as many as I thought. There are some specific areas that we're trying to target, which is the hands to the face, the holding penalties. That's really what we're trying to correct.
(on the purpose of having referees at practice)
I think awareness. If it makes them realize that they have to work on those things even more in practice, then we're accomplishing what we're setting out to do. Let's face it, there are going to be penalties called during the game. It's going to happen. If we can have a better awareness of how we're practicing and work to correct those, maybe we can minimize those, which is what we have to do.
(on where the referees are from)
SEC, but they were also replacement officials in the NFL when they had the strike. I've never been with officials (at practice) where they were NFL officials.
(on if it unusual to bring referees to practice)
Obviously, we've had a number of penalties, so we're trying to correct those. If it's odd and it works, that's great.
(on the team's mentality)
Early in practice we were in pads. They were going at it pretty good, which you would expect, coming back off of a bye week. Attitude has been good. That's all great. Nothing matters unless we play better in the game. Their approach has always been good. It was a good approach today. We've got to play better on Sunday, and that's what we're working to do.
(on continuing to move through the season)
This isn't different than other teams I've been with. It's a process that you go through. We feel like we're getting closer, and we're working hard to improve. We want to see results of that Sunday.
(on how many padded practices they can have)
We can go one a week for two more weeks, and then we have three the last six weeks, so we can only have five more padded practices, I think, if my math's right.
(on if the Titans have a reputation as a team that gets a lot of penalties)
I don't know. I'm not going to talk about a reputation of the team. When I look at penalties, as what you would guess, there are some that you don't think should have been called, and talking with the league, they agree with that. It's not an exact science. The officials have a tough job, and they're trying to do it. We've got to do our part. There are some that, obviously, we haven't done as well as we need to, and we need to get those corrected.
(on preparing for the Ravens this week)
There is an area of unknown. As far as taking advantage of it, they're a well-coached, disciplined football team, and they play a good scheme. It's a challenge, and we're excited about that challenge. We're preparing, as you do every week, with what you think they're going to do, but you don't know for sure.
(on the possibility of having full-time NFL officials)
That's something that's been talked about, but I don't have any say in that, so I'm not going to have an opinion on that.
(on if this game will set the tone for the second half of the season)
I think it's an opportunity for us against a good football team in a tough place to play to see if we can improve, to see if we have improved. I think the tone, how we play, sure that can go a long way. We want to win a game. That's important to us. We're all disappointed with where we are. We're working hard to get better, and the only way you ultimately do that is getting a win. We're working hard to try to get one of those.
(on if he focuses on one game at a time or if he looks further down the schedule)
There's so much that goes in each week to the opponent that you're playing. A lot of times I couldn't even tell you who we're playing next or think about that. There are a lot things in our first year that we're trying to get better at, we're trying to improve. That's really what our focus is. Like I said, this is a tough place, a good football team, and we're working hard to go in there and meet that challenge.
(on sustaining long drives)
I think it's important. I wish that we had done a better job with that. Some of that is a function of us not being very good on third down, obviously. The only way you offset that is if you have a lot of big plays, like the Cleveland one to Justin Hunter, which is a one-play drive for a touchdown. You obviously take as many of those as you can get. As far as where we need to go as a football team, it helps our defense. Our time of possession is not good. A lot of people don't think that's a big deal, as far as statistically. Teams I've been around, that's always something that you take pride in, and that's because you have sustained drives. A big part of that's got to come from being better on third down. Another piece of that has got to come from reducing the penalties. If we can do that, we'll have more of those drives. With the second half against Kansas City we did that. That was a big part of the reason why we had success there. We need more of those.
(on needing to improve the run game)
A point of emphasis is not to be down in games like we've been and having to throw it to catch up. The running part of it will come as we do better in the games.
(on Delanie Walker's performance in the past few games)
Delanie (Walker's) doing a great job. It's not Delanie, it's more of a function of us not being as efficient as we need to. We don't have as many plays. We don't have as many possessions because of the fact that we haven't been as efficient with that. All of that ties into that. Delanie is the one guy that has consistently played well for us and made big plays. Hopefully over the next eight weeks he'll get an opportunity that we'll see more of those plays.
(on the overall theme for the second half of the season)
I don't look at it in terms of the last eight weeks of the season. Everybody wants to put that number on it. I think what we're trying to do is get better weekly. We understand this business. We understand where we are, and we're not happy with the way our record is. What we have to do is get better as a team. I know I've said that a couple of times, but really our focus is on doing that. I've said this to our team, we've had a lot of self-inflicted wounds. We have not been good enough to overcome that. At some point as a team, as we grow, we've got to overcome that. We've got to work to make those plays that we can make and not have the penalties. The bye week is a chance to look at that and look at where we are and understand what we need to do to get better. The guys, I believe, want to do that. They're working hard to do that. We can talk about it all we want. It's really going to be judged by what we do on the field on Sunday. That's what we're focusing on trying to do a better job of.