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Head Coach Mike McDaniel


Q. From your perspective, what culminated in not being able to put away a 14-point lead with four minutes left in the game?

MIKE McDANIEL: Well, what didn't. I think it was a legitimate team loss. I think everybody had their hand in it. I don't think it was intentional. I don't think people went through the motions during the week. It was a really, really good week of practice, I thought. But you had a lot of yards given up in a short amount of time. You had a shorter field position, and you had an offense that went three-and-out. That's literally the only way that that could happen. So yeah, we all get to share the blame in my opinion, or at least I know the locker room felt 100 percent responsible. I think that's what you want. I think there's a lot of people that are going to be – it's going to be tough to go to sleep tonight, including myself. That's not something that you can do and expect to win football games, and you can't – it's a hard, hard lesson, but no lead is safe. I think that's one of the tougher parts about it.

Q. In what ways do you think facing adversity in this game, a loss in December, can be a catalyst for positive change?

MIKE McDANIEL: You know, I know right now it doesn't feel anything but frustration and regret about what more you can do. I do know the two — I have experience with it personally. The two most successful seasons that I've been a part of, around this week we lost a game, and at the end of the season, near December, we've spent a lot of time together, and you don't have – you can do one or two things with a loss like this for me personally, and just my belief in the individuals that I work with on a day-to-day basis, I would expect whatever things haven't been done in the direction of trying to win football games, collectively I think the guys will rise to the occasion. I think you have to because it's a humbling game, and you think that you're a good football team, but then each and every week you have to prove that on the field and you can't take anything for granted. Right now it feels terrible, but that's everything that we'll be trying to do moving forward because these types of losses can be very galvanizing, but it takes literally every person in the locker room and coaching staff, and you have to – as long as guys aren't pointing fingers, which I feel like there's a lot of people looking internally, you have that chance, and that's what we'll be spending our time doing.

Q. Connor Williams is such a key player. Is his knee injury feared significant?

MIKE McDANIEL: I think we'll find out more tomorrow. Honestly, so much happened in that game from that point, I haven't seen talked to the training staff about it as of yet. But I know it would take a lot to keep him out. It's probably not the most positive.

Q. The offense was kind of (indiscernible) what went wrong for the unit, especially in the red zone the first couple drives?

MIKE McDANIEL: Well, that's a place that we've made a point to do a pretty good job down there, and we did not tonight. You could point that as the No. 1 reason. There's several people and several phases that will say they're the No. 1 reason, but you can point to that as the No. 1 reason we didn't win the game. For me, you call plays for them to work, and they didn't. So you're trying to play to the team when you're making decisions to go for it or not. A couple of those, I felt like we just lost a lot of points there. In two particular instances I think inside the five, that's eight points total there. We had a blocked field goal. We've done out-of-character things to almost find a way to lose the game. The guys still fought, but you have to play a certain type of football to expect to win, and it's hard to get all the way down there and not to come up with touchdowns. It's not something that we've had success this season, and we haven't done that. It'll start with me, but I think that the locker room will — I always just look at it like we have really good players, and we should be successful down there. So when we don't, I start with that, and then we'll go comb the tape and make sure that the certain things that kept us from getting in the end zone don't in the future.

Q. Can you speak to the type of adjustment that it is when Tyreek Hill is out of the lineup for you guys?

MIKE McDANIEL: Yeah, there's a good amount of offense that goes through him. However, we have – 'Ced' (Cedrick Wilson Jr.) made a couple plays. It wasn't the reason for the lack of first half or really first three-quarter points. I think there were just critical times that we would be off a hair on first or second down and you're put in a third down situation, and our protection wasn't exactly what maybe we'd be used to on a play or two. Then there was a misfire on a play or two and those things add up, but I didn't see it as we were – obviously a player of Tyreek's caliber, it hurts when he's not in. However, I think there was plenty of offense to be had and we've got a lot of guys that I trust to do that. I think that just bottom line, you have things like that happen in a game, you're going to lose and those are lessons that are learned usually one way and that's the hard one.

Q. I know you said that things like this are fickle and that if the play goes the other way, nobody is questioning it. Everybody is praising it. What went into the decision not to run the ball those first few trips to the red zone or stick to the pass those first few trips to the goal line?

MIKE McDANIEL: You know, I think it had – kind of approached it like I usually do and we passed the ball because we thought it was going to work and it didn't. That will always – that's not a big deal to me, that it's like part of inherently in the job, if you're going to get high fives for success, so that was definitely the wrong call because it didn't work. You have to try to forecast as much as you can and do right by the time as best you can, and I think anytime we're that close to the end zone and we don't come up with a touchdown, I think that it will 100 percent of the time be second-guessed, as it should be, because who am I? Am I above second-guessing? It didn't work, so that's the – you'd better be tough in this business if you want to be in it and I would expect nothing less. Stuff didn't work.

Q. What were the late defensive play calls? How did the Titans work their way down the field so quickly twice?

MIKE McDANIEL: I'm going to have to comb the film. Live, I think there were a couple communication issues on the back end is what I saw, in terms of specifically the crossing routes. There was one big one to 'D-Hop' (DeAndre Hopkins) that was pretty hurtful in the overall grand scheme of things. But also you could easily say that that situation, the defense with a couple guys that got hurt within the game should have never been in that situation. I know the defense – specifically multiple players and coaches came up to me and let me know their feeling on how the end of the game went, and it's not acceptable to them, and that's how you want the team to look at it. You don't want people to be like, 14-point lead, however long – you let people hang around and you let them off the hook when you're inside the five and you have six points as opposed to 14. It changes the math for sure. We'll work to clean that up. I know that there's some very, very frustrated individuals on the defensive side of the ball, and we'll look at the tape. I would hesitate to place all blame – this was as much of a team loss as you could have in my opinion before watching the tape.

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