Coach Whisenhunt's Wednesday Practice Report


TITANS HEAD COACH KEN WHISENHUNT* (on if Zach Mettenberger has played a lot in cold weather)*

I don't think so. We haven't discussed it specifically, but I know probably not a lot of it. It was good to get out here and practice in this kind of weather just from the standpoint of catching the ball, throwing the ball, even kicking the ball. At least from the standpoint of knowing what to expect, it's good to get that done.

(on preparing for the Steelers offense)

We've been seeing a lot of the components that have been in Dick LeBeau's offense from our defense when we go against them. We have an extra day, so yeah, we're spending a little more time with it.

(on the Steelers defense)

I think one of the things they've been doing the same system for a long time, and they're good at understanding how to operate that defense. From that standpoint, it's a little bit different. We've played that team before a couple of times since I was there. They're good. They're a good football team. They play their scheme well. Coach (Dick) LeBeau is an outstanding coach.

(on not knowing where quarterback pressure will come from)

That's always a problem when you play a team like this. I think over the last few weeks, especially last week with the Ravens, it was good preparation, because there are some similar things that they do. I know it's a different defense, but just from a pressure standpoint. Even Houston had some looks that were a little bit different. At least we've had some practical preparation time, which helps, because there are similarities.

(on how Ben Roethlisberger has developed since he was coaching at Pittsburgh)

It's been a long time since Ben (Roethlisberger) and I worked together. He's an outstanding quarterback. He's gone through different systems and done different things. He's a good player.

(on playing against Ben Roethlisberger)

He's hard to bring down. He's very accurate when he throws on the move, does a good job of reading defenses. He's doing a lot of good things.

(on if the Steelers receivers will present a challenge for the defensive backs)

It's no question, especially when you've got some receivers like they've got down the field. One of the things that they do a nice job of is adjusting to each other. Ben (Roethlisberger's) doing a great job in the pocket and making throws, too. It's not just scrambling. He's a hard guy to bring down and very accurate when he does move down the field. It makes it difficult. It's hard enough for a defensive back or a defensive player downfield to make plays on the ball, then when you add the element of the quarterback moving around and them adjusting to it, that's why they've had a lot of success with that.

(on the Steelers turning the ball over against the Jets)

I think six touchdowns in two games, I would say, if I played the tendencies, the fact to have three of them is probably not great tendencies. They turned the ball over a little bit, got out of a rhythm. Sometimes that happens.

(on playing a team that he used to be with)

I'm obviously grateful for my time with the Steelers. Got some great memories from that, but they probably don't even know who I am there anymore from the standpoint of the players and a lot of the people you go against. There are people in the organization and coaches that it'll be good to see. I have a lot of respect for that team. It's always fun to play a good football team, especially on Monday night. I can't say anything other than having been there and worked there and enjoyed my time there. It's exciting from that perspective.

(on his relationship with Ben Roethlisberger)

We talk, outside of a week when you're playing a game, so it's not like it's something over the top. It's always fun to play against teams that you know people on.

(on if he kept Steelers memorabilia from his time there)

No, I don't keep any of it in my office. I do have the Super Bowl ring with me, but I don't keep any of the other stuff. I have it at home and some pictures.

(on if he wears the Super Bowl ring)

No, not really. It's so big, it's not a lot of fun to wear.

(on the challenge that comes with Delanie Walker's uncertain injury status)

You put in a plan with the idea that potentially he could play, and then if he can't, then some of those plays maybe you won't call or you won't get to. You can't completely blow it up. You've got to have the next guy be able to step in and do some of those things. Chase (Coffman) has been with us, and he understands his role and what he's being asked to do. That's the direction that you'd have to go to try to fill in for Delanie (Walker).

(on using other players to fill in for Delanie Walker)

Then it becomes a little bit more of a committee-type position, where you're trying to put different guys in there, but that's part of this league, this business. You know you have to do those things.

(on if the team is more excited about playing on Monday)

I don't know about during the week. It certainly is the case on Monday night when they come to the game. I think players by and large are excited about it because it's an opportunity to play on a big stage.

(on if Zach Mettenberger needs to periodically be off his spot to throw off rushers)

There are different spots for different plays. We do move him around with that. Some of his drops are at nine, some are at seven, some are at five, some are behind the tackle. You try to keep different spots just by the nature of the plays that you call.

(on Zach Mettenberger's mobility increasing and if his previous knee injury impacts it)

You'd have to ask him about that. I don't really think a lot about that when we're talking about him playing. I don't know, I don't think so.

(on needing to improve in the second half)

I think one of the things, it's not so much about four quarters as it is when something happens like it did losing Delanie (Walker) and that penalty before the half. We've got to do a better job of responding to that. That's something that will happen a lot of times when you have young players in there. That's what our focus has got to be. It seems like in a lot of our games this year, go back to the Cleveland game where we had those two turnovers in the second half and they were taken off the board because of penalties, and it hurt us, just from the standpoint of emotionally. It's a little bit like that in the game last week. This is football, those kind of things are going to happen. You've got to find a way to get past that and respond to it better. That's what we're talking about. There's no question, we've got to do a better job in the second half after we've started the way we did last week.

(on improving on the pass defense)

I think Blidi (Wreh-Wilson's) done a good job of playing the ball better down the field. There were a couple of instances of that in the game last week, where he turned back, located the ball, got his hands up, and it wasn't a completed pass. I think both of those guys have done a good job of working on it. Louie (Cioffi) has really worked with those guys in trying to improve. It's good to see that improvement.

(on Derrick Morgan's season)

I think he's done a good job with what we've asked him to do in the defensive scheme. Those guys especially, as a 3-4 outside player, are judged by sacks, and he doesn't have a lot of sacks, but he's created a lot of pressure, and I think he's contributed to the team total of sacks. We've done a good job of being able to get pressure. A lot of that is because of his ability to push the pocket and disrupt it. He's working hard and obviously doesn't have the statistics of the sacks, but he's done a nice job with the position.

(on game planning against players like Troy Polamalu)

I think that you have to be prepared that he's going to show up in different spots at different times. He's got a good feel for the game, certainly does a lot of studying. There's not a lot you can do to prepare for that, because Troy (Polamalu) can line up in a multitude of spots. You have to be aware of the fact what kind of player he is and understand based on the scheme of the defense where you think he's going to be.

(on playing against Mike Munchak and his connection to Tennessee)

I have a lot of respect for Coach (Mike) Munchak. We played at the same time. He was an outstanding football player. I know he's a good football coach. I know when I played Arizona after having been the head coach there, when I was in San Diego, it was preseason, it's a game. You obviously have an emotional tie, and he has a much stronger one with this organization and this area because he spent a lot more time. I couldn't speak for him.

(on returning to Arizona as a coach with San Diego)

It was different because I had been the head coach there, and to go back into that stadium, that's the only time I'd known in that stadium, so it was a little different for me.

(on the Steelers receivers)

They're good players. They've got a lot of different guys. They're making plays. They do a good job down the field.

(on Mike Munchak knowing personnel with the Titans and how that can help the Steelers prepare to face the Titans)

I'm sure he can, from certain things that you talk about. It's just like there are some players on the Steelers that we're familiar with. I don't know how much that really helps you on game day.

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