HEAD COACH TONY SPARANO
(on how similar the teams are and if he expects Sunday to be a physical game)
Well, I think we are two similar teams. In fact, it's interesting when you look at the numbers, the numbers are very, very similar in a lot of areas. Both teams put themselves in poor positions coming out of the gates in the beginning of the year and both teams are trying to finish strong right now and have done a nice job as of late. I think that way they're similar. I think that it's going to be a physical game. Tennessee, in my history with Tennessee, has been one where they're always a physical team and very, very well coached and do a great job that way. So, from our end, we know it's going to be a physical contest.
(on how critical it is to get a fast start on the road with a playoff berth at stake)
I think it's critical especially coming into that environment. I think it's a hard place to play. They have great fans there in Tennessee and do a super job that way. It's going to be important that we get out and we start fast. We've been in some tough football games as of late, some games that have gone down to the end. I'm sure this will be a similar game.
(on if the uncertainty of not knowing who will start at quarterback for the Titans makes it tough)
The uncertainty doesn't really make it tough from our end, no. I think we're expecting to see Vince (Young), we're preparing for Vince and if Kerry (Collins) plays, then so be it. I think at this time of year you have to prepare for the starter to play.
(on how to defend Chris Johnson)
Try to get 14 guys out there. He's an outstanding player, he really is. This guy's doing something this year that only a few backs in the history of the game have done. So, he's a hard guy to defend. I think one of the things he likes to do is, this guy likes to circle the defense and get the ball on the perimeter. He's such a fast player, I mean a tremendously fast player. He catches the ball very, very well. From our end, we're going to have to have great discipline in defending a guy like him. It's going to be important that you're disciplined.
(on if Chris Johnson looks more durable and is a better in between the tackle guy than most probably expect)
I would say so, sure. I think that naturally some people may say size, any of those things, but I think the guy's very, very durable. You look at the number of carries he's had over the last couple of years and the amount of yards he's had and how many games he's played, you can tell that this is a durable back. I think he likes running the ball in between the tackles, I really do. So, I think this is a really good back. We're seeing something really special here in this league.
(on what the chances of running the Wildcat without Ronnie Brown are)
Well, it's something that we obviously have. We have not, in the last couple of weeks, had the need to use it. But it's been ready to go. We'll see how it goes. I'd say that a large part of it will depend on what we see and maybe how we feel going in. Every week we have a little bit of it available to us whether Ronnie is here or he's not here.
(on why the Wildcat offense is successful when everyone has seen it)
I would say just because it's something that I think our guys do pretty well. I see a lot of different versions of it across the league right now and it's no different than maybe us trying to grab a third-down idea from somebody else or something to that effect. Unless you have the ins-and-outs of what it is that you are trying to do, it's hard to perfect it. I think that from our end, and we're certainly far from perfect, but I do think that we understand the ins-and-outs of what we're trying to do. It's something our offense has put their arms around a little bit and has strong belief in it not being a gimmick to us where maybe to other teams as they're trying to install it, might not fit their people.
(on how Ricky Williams has dealt with carrying the load as opposed to splitting time with Ronnie Brown)
He's been really good. He really has. He's done a great job in the last three, four ballgames right now. It's obviously different for him since we've been here he and Ronnie have been together in each game. So, his number of plays and number of carries has been limited. I think that's been a good thing right now in that he has a lot of gas left in his tank for this final run here. He seems to be handling it and holding up very well.
(on why Ricky Williams has had success at what's considered an old age for a running back)
He takes great care of himself, he really does. He's had two really good off seasons in a row and that's something of course Ricky missed some time prior to us getting here. He struggled from an offseason conditioning point that way, where since we've been here he's been outstanding, 100 percent attendance, 100 percent participation in all offseason activities and really done a great job that way. He's in probably the best shape he's been in an awful lot of years. I think that has a lot to do with how he's played.
(on why has Randy Starks has improved so much)
I think one of the things is, playing a 3-4 defense is not for everybody. But in this case, what I do see is that it is for Randy Starks. The guy's done a tremendous job for us. Since the day that he's walked through the door here he's got better and better. I can honestly say that the guy has continued to improve each week out here, made great strides from last year as a backup player to this year where he became a starter and took over. Really, I think right now he is just playing at an extremely high level right now. His in-season conditioning right now and strength training has been outstanding. The guy's done a tremendous job in the weight room right now and keeping himself physically sharp. We got his body weight down and I think he's really done a nice job that way. So, this guy's just getting better and better and he's a young player that I think is arrow up all the way.
(on how Jason Allen has progressed in his second season)
Jason's getting better and better. I think for us we moved positionally and he was a safety that we moved to corner. He's a guy that can play both positions for us back there, has done that. We use him in the nickel some at times and has been a really consistent special teams player for us. He's getting better and better. We're starting to identify rules for him.
(on Patrick Turner)
Patrick's done a nice job, he really has. He's a work in progress right now. Obviously, you wish you could take every player to the game and we can't do that. We've carried four receivers on a lot of the occasions. He's been active a couple of times and played sparingly on special teams. But the guy works very hard in practice. I see great improvement out of him and he's a guy sooner or later here is going to get an opportunity and I'm sure make the most of it.