TITANS HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER
(how does a coach deal with a problem like this?)*"I think the most important thing to do is to be able to express to the club exactly what's going on as far as his condition's concern and it looks like you've gotten good news or good news from a standpoint that's he's stable. You just remind the player that he's going to be ok and we have to move on, and he would want us to move on and will be back with us before you know it. Where the distractions come is where there are unanswered questions where they're wondering. So try to address all the questions and concerns and then move on as best you can."
(on the Titans rushing differences in the two Jaguars games last season) "Every time you play a division opponent, the second game they're going to be different. You tend to look at what was good for you, what was not, you make your corrections and you move on. We got outplayed in the second game. We were not as stout up front. We didn't have Albert (Haynesworth), we didn't tackle as well and I thought they had a good plan and kept the ball away from us and their defense made some adjustments and we anticipate adjustments and got away from some things. So, you look at both teams and put together a new game plan based on both games and what you've seen in the preseason and you hope for the best."
(what is the status of the rivalry between your team and the Jaguars? How would you characterize it?) "They're an elite team and they're a playoff team and we don't see them any different than we see the Colts. We're doing our best to stay competitive and we're going to show up and play and think that we've improved as everybody else has."
(is the rivalry between the Jaguars and your team any more of a rivalry than any other team?) "There have been some great ballgames and some great moments. As an organization we look forward to playing Jacksonville. I look forward to it because it's always a tough physical game and they're well coached and there's still not many guys left from the early days but it's always a challenge. Fred (Taylor) is playing really well and when you've got Fred Taylor in the backfield along with Maurice (Jones-Drew), it's a handful. It's a division opponent, a division rival. We understand how important division games are considering this is the second consecutive year we've opened with them, I think yeah, it makes for a great match-up."
(would you rather not open up with a division opponent?)"What you want to do to start the season, I think the preference is to open against somebody there is some familiarity with. There are no secrets about this game. I don't think anybody is setting out to trick anybody here. We know what this game is going to be all about, it's going to be a physical battle and these are the kind of games you like to gear up for throughout camp."
(you've played well against the Jaguars over the years. Any particular reason why your team plays well against the Jaguars?) "We try to play well against all our teams in the division. Fortunately we've played well against Houston since they've come aboard. I can't give you any particular reason. They've had their moments, we've had ours. We had injuries and salary cap issues and so have they and I think along the lines the other team has been able to take advantage of that."
(on there being an impression that you enjoy beating the Jaguars more than any other team. Is there anything to that?) "No there's not because a win's a win and a division win is bigger than a non-division win, but a win's a win and when you can win games in the division, it's satisfying. We had great battles with Pittsburgh and great battles with Baltimore and now since we've realigned we've got real exciting games it seems like every time we play a division game."
(what is your favorite moment playing the Jaguars?)"There's been a lot of great match-ups, a lot of great plays, a lot of great games, close endings – all those kinds of things. I don't think I can give you one favorite moment."
(would the 1999 AFC Championship game be on top of your list?)"There are some other games…That was the most significant because it was a championship game. It's been our only Super Bowl appearance but there have been other games that weren't as significant as far as having that type of result that I thought were great games as well."
(could you name one or two?)"They don't necessarily have to be wins too. We've been beaten a number of times by the Jaguars and I think you learn from those experiences as well as you do the other. We were the first team that the Jaguars beat for their first win in franchise history; I think that was significant."
(do you think Albert Haynesworth not playing last year affected the loss in Tennessee?) "Anytime you have a player with his ability level not in there is going to be a drop-off but that was not the reason we didn't play well. There are main reasons for that but it's nice to have Albert back."
(you don't seem to be burning out as a coach. Is there any secret to that and could you do like Chuck Noll and Tom Landry did and coach for the same team for 20 years?)"I'm fortunate to be surrounded with good people in the organization. I have a terrific owner and look forward to coming to work every day. The roster changes, every year it's a new challenge and basically a new team and that's what keeps you going."
(on it being said that no other coach would do that again, coaching that long) "Actually I haven't given it much thought. My focus is just on this week."
(what are your early expectations of Chris Johnson?)"We drafted Chris because we felt he could add some new dimensions to our offense. He's a very smart young man. He likes to play and he's talented. So when you have a guy that can do those kinds of things, you want to get him in the ballgame. So, we're going to play him. As far as much, I can't tell you right now and how successful he is, I can't tell you that either but we're going to play him because we think he has potential to make some plays for us."
(does a guy like that force you to go back in and redo the playbook a little bit?) "No, not redo it, just maybe add some things. He can do some different things that the other backs on our roster can't but it's good to have that change of pace and that element of speed in your offense."
*(is the duo of Albert Haynesworth-Kyle Vanden Bosch as good a duo in the defensive line around the league this year?) *"There are other really good combinations of defensive linemen around the league and there are a lot of younger players that are going to develop real quickly. I was very impressed with (Derrick) Harvey's play in the second half. I think he's going to be a real good player despite the fact he's missed camp. But go back to Albert and Kyle, they enjoy lining up against one another, they do a great job communicating and they try to play smart, aggressive, tough football together. We get the other two guys, whoever is lined up opposite them, the other complementary two. They have an opportunity to benefit from what Albert and Kyle have been able to accomplish."
(are you concerned that Vince Young did not score a touchdown in preseason?)"No, I'm not concerned. We work at it. Our hope is that things will get back on track but I thought he had a really good camp, he's had a great offseason, he and Mike (Heimerdinger) are working very well together and I've seen improvement in all aspects of his play."
(so you're saying that Young has looked better than the stats?)"Yeah. I'm really fortunate, I get to see him every day."
(are the stats misleading?)"Yeah, it's preseason. I think we all have to be careful to jump to conclusion as a result of preseason stats."
(how far along are you offensively compared to last year at this time?)"It's hard to say. I feel good about where we are. I feel like we've improved. We've added some speed. I think Alge (Crumpler) has really helped our offense and we've settled into a line-up on the offensive line. Eugene Amano is a solid guard for us and feel like Jake (Scott) has been a good replacement for Benji (Olson) so we're solid there. It's just hard to say. You have to give us a couple weeks into the season before we'll be able to compare ourselves where we were this year to last year."
(on playing the regulars a lot during the final preseason game)"When you go use the third preseason game as the final game and then you don't play them in the fourth, we just feel, specifically because of our younger players, that you're basically taking two weeks off and I just don't think you can build to the number of plays you're going have in the regular season and you just need to play them. So, we just kind of build throughout the preseason. That's been our philosophy."
(what do you think of the talk of extending the regular season and cutting down the preseason?)"I personally feel it's working right now. We take advantage of the opportunities to evaluate our roster and to get our team ready for the opener. It's what we're use to, it's what we've grown accustomed to and I think the current format is working."
(if it were up to you, you'd leave it the way it is?)"It won't be up to me."
(your view is to leave it as it is right now?)"You're asking me to vote on it. I just gave you my opinion of how the preseason is now. I'm certainly open to ideas and entertaining ideas but just off the top of my mind without giving it a great deal of thought, that would be my opinion right now."
(do you think the division is wide open this year? Any of the four teams could win it?)"I believe our division has improved. I believe that all four teams have improved and I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens. Injuries can change the course of things and winning close games is important and I'm expecting most of these games, at least that we're involved with, to be close games because that ends up actually how we play games. And so if you're winning close games then I think anybody has a chance."
DT ALBERT HAYNESWORTH
(on how different he thinks this game will be from last year's opener) "I guess since we're at home this time and not in Jacksonville, just the change in place."
(on if physicality is the trademark between the Tennessee and Jacksonville matchups)"Yes, both are good teams that play hard-nosed defense and offense, and try to knock people off the ball. That's kind of the two things that it's all about. So now we meet again for the first game in the season opener."
(on if there is a key to stopping the Jaguars running game) "We just have to play good defense and we'll stop the running game. If we just do what we have to do then we'll be okay. We just have to play defense the way we play defense and we'll be great."
(on if the difference between the first and second games last season was that he didn't play the second game) "Well, I didn't play so it probably was a little different, but I'm not even worried about last year, that's in the past. I'm just focused on this year and going forward in every game that we have."
(on how wide-open is the AFC South division) "You have four teams I think, in the AFC South, that can be in the playoffs and play in any given (division). This (division) is probably the best (division) in the league, the AFC South. I think we have all really good teams, contenders, and all true contenders. I don't think any other (division) in the NFL can say that. Even though the Texans haven't been to the playoffs yet, if you put them in any other (division) they're going to win. This year they're going to be pretty good too because of what they did last year."
(on if the other three teams in the AFC South have closed the gap on Indianapolis)"Yeah, there's only a certain amount of time when you have a top team like Indy and you have competitors like Jacksonville, the Titans and the Texans, it's just a matter of time. You want to get better; you don't want to stay playing for number two. We want to be number one in the (division), so everyone is going to go out and get people who think like they think or practice like they think to be number one. So, yeah, it's only a matter of time."
(on if he can imagine what the Jaguars players are going through on a teammate standpoint) "No, I can't imagine, nothing's ever happened to us like that or on any other team that I've played on. We can't imagine, but our prayers are with him. Our prayers are with his family and with Rich (Richard Collier) and we just hope that he pulls through this thing. And hopefully they catch the person who did it, that's the main thing too."
(on if the Titans agreed not to franchise him next year)"Yes, but that's in the past, I'm not really looking at any of that right now."
(on if he thinks this is his last year in Tennessee)"I'm thinking about the Jacksonville Jaguars. We're nowhere near the end of the season."
(on if it's special to play against the Jaguars since they didn't pick him out of college in the draft) "That was seven years ago, why are we talking about seven years ago? I didn't want to go to Jacksonville anyways because I didn't like Tom Coughlin."