MIKE REINFELDT AND JEFF FISHER SATURDAY, APRIL 26, 2008
PRESS CONFERENCE AT BAPTIST SPORTS PARK AT THE CONCLUSION OF DAY 1 OF THE DRAFT
GM MIKE REINFELDT**
I want to thank everyone for taking time to be here. We're very pleased with the way the first round went. I think, as we talked about, the whole pace was better; the rhythm was better. We were able to accomplish in the first round someone that can help our offense, that brings great quickness to us, can do lots of different things with the football.
In the second round we got a very versatile defensive lineman that can play defensive end, defensive tackle, and brings athletic skill. I think overall our draft board went according to plan. I think everything went well. The coaches and scouts worked together well. So all in all it's a pretty rewarding day for us.
(on how changing the first day to two rounds affected the draft)
Well, obviously the third round becomes immensely important. I think we're in a pretty good spot, where the fourth round is still important. We're sitting here today with one pick in the third and three in the fourth, so we've got a chance to get four pretty good football players out of the gate tomorrow.
(on whether it was a good year for running backs and a poor year for receivers)
At the running back position, there was great depth at the top of the draft. From a wide receiver perspective, I think there's depth, but the depth is dispersed more from the second through the fourth rounds so that you can go in those rounds and get pretty good players. That's kind of what our board told us, and that's kind of the way it played out.
(on potentially still drafting a wide receiver)
That's something we'll certainly look (at) long and hard, and there's still three, four or five guys that we like that are still on the board, that we think will be there when we draft.
(on the versatility of Jason Jones)
That's one of the things we talked through when we were looking at the board because when you're weighing different options, that's one of the things he does help. It solves a couple different issues – a defensive end on early downs, move him inside, even early in his career you can move him inside. The versatility is a big, big thing, plus the upside with him.
(on the first two draft picks not coming from major college football)
In fairness to them, some of their games are against top competition. The scouts and the coaches, we watch all of the game film, so you get to see them play against the really good players, too. Now, I understand what you're saying. We don't go into the draft trying to draft major college, or the Notre Dame or the (U)SC players or from the small (schools). I think we go by what the film tells us and what their grades tell us. That's kind of where they ended up, and that's why we took them where we did.
HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER
(on what positions were thinned out already)
Obviously the top quarterbacks are gone. They'll be some quarterbacks that could contribute, potentially be threes, later in the day. There's corners still on the board. There's some safeties still on the board. There's some special teams help there. Coach (Mike) Munchak will tell you that there are versatile players on the offensive line, guys that can swing center-guard, still some tackles left, still some tight ends left. You know, as we finished up, we had to remind ourselves, we just completed two rounds. We haven't completed three. Because you're conditioned to re-stacking the board after three, and so there's a great deal of talent still on the board. We still have yet to make the third-round picks. If you look at it that way, then you'll say, 'Well, then, these are some areas in the fourth and fifth that are still going to be strong.' So there's still a lot of players on the board.
GM MIKE REINFELDT
(on understanding why teams start trading up when a run starts at a particular position like tackle in the first round)
Yeah, I think especially when we're in a position where we have tackles. Do you know what I'm saying? That's not a position of need. But if you're in that position, you could see why teams do it when the run starts and there's only a limited number of the really elite guys, that's what you need to do.
(on the Pacman Jones trade with Dallas)
The Adam Jones trade has been finalized. All of the paperwork is done with Mr. Jones, with Dallas. It's all been put into the league. So the trade, the contract, all of that has been finalized.
(on if the NFLPA had held up the deal)
I don't think that's really correct to say that. It's a very complicated deal because you're putting their contract with our contract, and then the trade itself has a lot of different contingencies in it. It's much more complicated than your normal trade, if you will.
HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER
(on if the team was guilty of over-reaching in 2005 by drafting Pacman Jones)
No, because again, as I've said time after time, he was interviewed, he was evaluated. There was one incident that anybody was aware of prior to us selecting him. There was a probation issue that was a result of something that took place his freshman year in college. As an organization, we did everything that we should have done. We disciplined him, we suspended him, we made sure that he got appropriate counseling. We did everything that we could. We supported him. We gave him a chance to be productive on the field. It was he who made the choices that he made, off the field particularly. And as a result of those choices that he made, we decided immediately after the end of the season that it would be in the best interest of this team to move on. In which way we decided to move on at the time? We had to discuss it. They were detailed. There was a lot of things that needed to be discussed. It was a very, very complex issue from a contractual standpoint, from a release standpoint, from a salary cap standpoint, and we spent way too much time dealing with it. We made the decision months ago that it was time to move the player. I'll take this time by saying I hope he gets it, and I hope he understands. I know he regrets what he did because he dearly missed last season. I know he realizes that he is one step away from no longer participating in the National Football League. So from that standpoint, I hope he gets it, and I hope he understands it. But as an organization, we moved on a long time ago. Trade talks sped up the last couple months. We spent a lot of time with the Cowboys at the owners' meetings discussing the potential trade. The Cowboys were the only team involved. There were no other teams that expressed any kind of interest in Adam. We were able to get this thing put together, at least agree to terms, and then we had to dot the I's and cross the T's over the last 48 hours. We were able to put things together here the last couple of days.
(on if he has any regrets drafting Pacman Jones)
You know, you hope that when you select a player as high as you do that he is going to come in and he's going to have a very productive career and help you win games. He has the talent level to do that. We could not predict his choices off the field. Regrets? Yeah, we don't have the player. We lost the talent. We lost the ability. Regrets that we moved on? None whatsoever. We had to move on. We didn't have any choice. As far as the organization is concerned, we had to move on. Again, I hope he has a successful career. I hope he is productive, and I hope that he will take his experiences and channel them in such a way that people can learn from those bad choices that he made. I think he's on that track, and I hope that he is.
(on Jones as a distraction)
When the commissioner levied the suspension, we moved on because he was no longer part of this team. We moved on at that point. But Pac was a good teammate. Most of the players will say he was by and large a good teammate here and a very good player. But none of them approved of his choices and his actions because it just wasn't one incident. There was just way too many. Hopefully for his sake and the sake of the National Football League he understands that he's one step away. I hope he's able to finish his career, have a very successful career and help the Cowboy organization. He's very fortunate to be given a second chance.
(on how tough it will be to watch if Jones enjoys success in Dallas)
I will be pleased deep inside for him that he was able to overcome the issues and be successful.
(on how his relationship is with Jones)
You know, we haven't talked. I imagine we probably will talk and I'll wish him well. Again, we've moved on.
(on if he put more time into Jones than he has done with other players)
When you have a player that has one issue, as a coach I deal with it. When you have a player that has multiple issues, as a coach I deal with it. So he had multiple issues, so yeah, I put more time into it. He had more issues. I had no other choice than to put more time into it, but he wasn't treated any differently than any other player on this roster. As I said, he was suspended, he was fined, he was disciplined. We have one set of rules here, and there was a lot of misconception out there that he was given this opportunity or given that opportunity and that's not the case.
(on why Jones never conformed)
I thought as a player, he developed. I thought we saw improvement from year one to year two. He did have the on-the-field temper that I think he had over a period of time gotten under control and he was productive, he was exciting. And I know his last season here, the last four or five games, specifically in the home games, nobody got up out of their seat when there was a change of possession to go get a hotdog. They stayed to watch him return. He did some good things on the field. I can't explain why he made the choices that he made. Those are his issues and I hope they are behind him.
(on if anyone said that Pacman had too much talent to let him go)
The organization made the decision to let him go.
(on how the experience affects how the team looks at a player's character during the draft process)
Character has always been a priority for us and it has been for Mike wherever Mike has been. There was no way to predict this. You do your due diligence. You do your studying. You do your interviews. We do things as an organization, many things that you are unaware of that we do for the players as far as life skills and the counseling and those kind of things. Ninety-eight out of 100 players get it. There are always going to be a couple that don't and we were in a situation where we got one that didn't get it for a few years.
(on how Pacman's reputation affected the image of the Titans organization)
We celebrated the retirement the one of the all time players in this organization just recently and that was Steve McNair. Steve was the poster child of this franchise. He was the face of this franchise along with Eddie George for eight or 10 years. For a very short time people implied or felt like Adam was not for good reason but for negative reasons. That is unfortunate but again we can't change the past. All we can do is move forward and today as an organization we moved forward.
(on how relieved the team is to have moved on from the Pacman situation)
We moved on, we moved on last year and went to the playoffs last year without the player. We moved on. This just in a lot of ways just completes the process. This is the business side of the process that will be completed today.
(on how relieved the team is to have moved on from the Pacman Jones situation)
Mentally we moved on a year ago. Now it frees up some time that we don't have to deal with this anymore. We can spend our time on other things. That is what it really means.
(on if they could have gotten a better deal a week ago before the latest news broke regarding Las Vegas)
The best offer we had was on Wednesday which I think was the pressure of the draft bringing it to a height. That was the best offer we had and it was time to take it.
Asked about the status of a trade announced Wednesday but hadn't been concluded, Fisher said only, "We're progressing."