Coach Whisenhunt's Wednesday Practice Transcript



(on Marcus Mariota's ability to shake off adversity)

He's done a good job so far, the whole way since he's been here. It's impressive. We haven't seen a regular season game yet, those present their own set of challenges. But as far as he's progressing, we're very pleased with it.**

(on if he's been surprised with Marcus Mariota's composure)*

I think that when you put as much time as we did trying to evaluate him, you never know for sure, but I just had a feeling after spending a lot of time with them. Even really just talking about how he processed things and just the way he went about his business, I felt like he would be OK at doing these things.

(on if Marcus Mariota is more advanced than a typical rookie)

In a game, it's just going so fast. There are so many things going on you don't really think about that. I thought the third-down play in Atlanta, after the way it started, when he moved in the pocket and made the throw to Harry (Douglas), I was very impressed with that. To me, that's something that usually you don't get that quickly, or it takes a little bit of time. And then I thought the red zone play, when it threw it to Dexter (McCluster) last week, where he stayed in the pocket, moved to his left, scanned the field and found Dexter, was a pretty good indication of an understanding of what we're trying to do at that position.

(on if he likes that Marcus Mariota has been comfortable staying in the pocket)

Well I think there were a lot of questions about his ability to do that coming out, so from that standpoint I think he's done a good job of answering that he can do that. But you know, I couch that with saying he hasn't done it in a regular season game yet. There are going to be times when you want him to pull it down and run, and that's going to happen naturally. I think he's very gifted in that department. If I had my druthers, would much rather see him stay in the pocket right now and work on those kind of things, knowing he's got a tremendous body of work of pulling it down and running with it.

(on the atmosphere at home and how the team took steps in creating a winning culture at Nissan Stadium)

It's a good start but look, we don't have much equity. We've got to build that up. The only way you can do that is to consistently do those kinds of things, so I understand that. I appreciate the support that we got in the game. There were a lot of fans there and they were excited and I think we rewarded that excitement for that game, but we've got to do it over a period of time, an that's what we're focused on trying to do.

(on if the starters will play into the third quarter against Kansas City or if he will feel out the situation)

I think it's going to be a feel thing this week. We're a little banged up, we're two days away from the game and it feels like we just got back to work. It's a scramble trying to get prepared for this, so we'll see how it's going. We've got some positions where it's a little bit thin, so we'll have to see how it plays out.

(on if he has been encouraged by the run game)

Well we ran it OK at times against Atlanta. We didn't run it great early, but we ran it a little better, so maybe that's a trend from the second half of the Atlanta into this game. But as trends go, it's not a trend until you do it consistently. This will be tough. They'll give us eight in the box in Kansas City, they've got a good front, they're aggressive, so it's going to be tough, but I'm encouraged that it's become more important to all of us. To our running backs on their courses, to our linemen on their fits, and if we can stay on course, I really believe we're going to be a lot more productive in that area.

(on this week not being a dress rehearsal of a regular season)

Well, I think that that is generally considered by a lot of people to be that, I don't know that that's necessarily the standard. In the book they gave me on how to be a head coach it didn't say that necessarily. I think you have to handle each situation differently and this one I think is a little bit tougher, because it is a short week. Had it been a regular week where we could plan like it's a regular season game where you could go in and do you game plan meetings, you could do your regular weekly meetings, then you're more inclined to do that, but when you have one day, really, to practice for it, it's hard to do that. With that being the case, it's hard to feel like physically that we're capable of doing that, but you just want to be smart. We may get in there and we may go a half. I don't know. I think a little of it will be a feel.

* (on if this week's plan will change the fourth preseason game plan)*

That's a question I guess we'll have to talk about next week. Is it a possibility, yes, but also you've got to see how you come out of this game too, and that makes a difference as well.

* (on if he is curious about how the team will react to adversity in Kansas City)*

Yes, I am. I'm well aware that it's going to be tough. I know we'll have some struggles in this game and to me it's important how we respond to that. I think that's one of the things I like the most about what I've seen from this team is that they've responded well. We responded to a 17-point deficit in Atlanta on both sides of the ball and then we responded last week to starting a game better, especially at home. I don't know what challenge we're going to face this week going in there other than they're a good team, it's a tough place to play, and we'll see how we respond.

* (on the strong combination of Zach Mettenberger and Marcus Mariota)*

It's a little bit different from where we stood a year ago. Everybody knows it's an important position in this league and all four of our quarterbacks have played very well. In fact, I'm pleased with the competition. I think that makes everybody better. I like what I've seen on the practice field, but to do what they've done in the games, and I know it's preseason and it's not what you're going to see in the regular season, but still. To have the completion percentage that they do, and to not have missed a lot of throws, I know we've had the interceptions which is not great, but if feels good that we've got guys that are playing that way in preseason.

* (on how Zach Mettenberger has handled Marcus Mariota coming in)*

I think we got past that a while ago. I'm sure, just like anybody would be, disappointed, but he's been great. The interaction between he and Marcus (Mariota) has been fantastic, and I really think, regardless of being football teammates, they genuinely like each other. They laugh, and that's an important piece of it. I think it has helped both guys and when you have that kind of mix going, I think it helps your team. You'd have to ask Zach (Mettenberger). I think that's helped him get past it, but to me, he's grown up as a pro and that's why I think he's really going to be successful in this league at that position.

* (on if he has found out what made Zach Mettenberger sick)*

No, I haven't. He still wasn't feeling great today. Maybe it was Alex Tanney.


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