Jeff Fisher's Monday Press Conference



(on how important it is for Chris Johnson to stay patient against eight and nine man defensive fronts)*

I think the way he finished up over the last few weeks (of 2009) where he had the big numbers, I think he might need to be reminded about how difficult the start was last year.  As I said, the Raiders have had since the schedule came out to prepare a game plan and work on this.  They executed it fairly well in the run game at times.  Now, looking at the tape, we had some options, we had some chances and there were some opportunities for some big plays early in the game and we just didn't get them done.  I think after we looked at it, he played well, he ran hard and obviously he had the big one.  They were determined to take him out of the passing game, we threw the ball about 17 times, but had it been a different game where we'd have to throw the ball more he probably would have had some more catches, more opportunities.

(on the fine line between working Chris Johnson and overworking him)

When it's time for him to come out, we'll take him out.  I don't think of those things, he's not injury prone, he plays hard, he's been there and we're trying to execute things.  Not only to finish the game, but also to try and create some other opportunities as we move forward.

(on whether it's Chris Johnson or Craig Johnson who decides when he comes out)

No, when CJ's going to come out we get a sense.  We get a sense, he comes out and Javon (Ringer) goes in and I thought Javon did a good job.  As I mentioned, I think in my postgame remarks, he's not playing special teams because of my decision not to play him.  He's got to be up and ready throughout the ballgame to go out there and play the running back position for us—at any time.  It's a unique role for him, I thought he handled it well; he stayed fresh, he stayed warm, he stayed loose, he listened to each call and obviously his touchdown run speaks for itself.  It shows he was prepared.

(on if the Oakland game was a good example of the workload Ringer will get most games)

I don't know how it's going to shake out.  We're going to try and get the ball to CJ as often as we can and when we get tired we'll put Javon in.

(on if later in the season Vince Young and Chris Johnson would be rested more at the end of games if the outcome has been decided)

We'll deal with that later in the season, this is the opener now.  We've got to play; we have a lot of football.

(on if Vince Young hit his hand on a helmet)

Yeah, he's fine.  I think the trainers looked at it, but he's okay.

(on some of the challenges the Pittsburgh defense presents)

Pittsburgh is a very, very well coached defensive football team with players all over that side of the ball—good players.  They're not just a 3-4 defense, they represent all the difficulties associated with that type of defense.  With their creative slanting and blitzing and dogging and one of the best safeties in the game.  It's not going to be an easy task for us.  Look at the potential weapons and the people that Atlanta has on offense, Atlanta will be in the top-five in total offense this year and they didn't score a lot of points yesterday.

(on how different it is preparing for Pittsburgh without Ben Roethlisberger)

Well it's still their offense and they're going to do the same things, but again I haven't had a chance to get into it right now.

(on if playing Pittsburgh still means as much as it did when they were in the same division)

It will, once the week starts.  We just talk about the tradition and the rivalry, and we obviously didn't play as well as we're capable of playing in the opener and certainly not good enough to win last year.  I think by the end of the week the players will understand the significance of it.  We've got some former Steelers on the roster that it's going to be a big week for, and we'll get our point across.

(on if he shows past games between the two franchises to help emphasize the importance)


(on if he tries to make it an important game)

It's our next game.

(on Jason Babin)

Jason fits well in the way we play.  We line up, we edge him, he's very explosive, he's got good strength for his size and leverage and he's relentless.  He plays very, very hard and he was productive yesterday for us in the run as well as in the pass rush situations.  I guess I have to take advantage of this to just compliment Mike (Reinfeldt) and his staff on what they've done to help this football team.  You talk about Jason Babin, Will Witherspoon and Derrick Morgan and the new pieces to our defense and the production we got out of them in the opener—they've done a great job.

(on if having a deep defensive line rotation helps create constant pressure on opposing offenses)

The hardest thing to do is to rush the passer, especially at the end of the game.  When you can keep a rotation going, you've got options and you've got opportunities.  It creates problems for the opposing offensive line because they're seeing somebody different every four or five plays.

(on Mike Reinfeldt's approach to free agency)

We obviously talk about it and we talk about the type of players that we want, and guys that we feel like we've seen do things on tape before.  Whether it's like Derrick at Georgia Tech or in this case Will and Jason, we've seen them be productive.  Then you project them into our system and he picks the right guys and we make it work.

(on Jamie Winborn)

We informed Jamie early in the week, last Monday, that he was going to be starting and he was very excited about the opportunity, worked very hard during the week and he was very productive for us.  He played hard and made plays.  As well as the two new linebackers (Tim Shaw and Patrick Bailey) who contributed on special teams.  It was a good day for us in the special teams area in particular because of the focus and attention we placed on it.

(on if this is the best special teams unit he's had in a few years)

It's just one game.  It's just one game, but I thought we kicked off very well.  Brett (Kern) punted the ball well, we covered and tackled.  We had one five-yard penalty that shouldn't have been called on the field goal that was missed.  Cort (Cortland Finnegan) got off on the snap, so when you're not being called for holding on kickoff returns and those kinds of things it just creates much better field position for you.  Our guys played with a lot of discipline and a lot of energy yesterday.

(on if Derrick Morgan's roughing the passer penalty was called correctly)

They are going to err on the side of caution as it relates to player safety.  Especially when you talk about low hits on the quarterback.  In my opinion, Derrick hit the quarterback the way he is supposed to hit the quarterback when he comes in low, and that's not using the helmet or the shoulder pad, that's using the arm.  When we made the adjustment to the rule a few years ago with the committee we wanted to encourage defensive linemen to swipe and use the arm rather than hit them low with the shoulder because there is less likelihood of injury.  That is precisely what he did; he hooked him with his arm on the way down.

(on if he thinks that rule needs modification or clarification)

No, not at all.  It's just one of those things that the referee is going to make a decision and he's going to make it quick and when it relates to low hits he's going to call them when they're not fouls and we understand that.

(on Lavelle Hawkins)

He got caught in a situation where basically we have a healthy roster, and we had to deactivate six of the seven guys who could have played yesterday.  We just wanted the depth at the return position.  He's healthy, he's been practicing well, he's been doing well, it's just we can't keep everybody up.

(on if Damian Williams is on the verge of passing Hawkins on the depth chart)

No, Damian's had a good camp and Damian can go in and play.  It was just one of those hard decisions we had to make.  Let's face it, we'd like to keep everybody up—I could certainly use Robert (Johnson), Nick (Schommer) and Rennie (Curran) on kicks but we just don't have the room.

(on if Marc Mariani did enough in the return game to solidify the starting spot)

Yeah, he's fine.  He made good decisions, it was close—he had one opportunity where he was real close, but he's going to make good decisions and catch the ball and do those things, and he'll have some big returns for us.

(on how Alterraun Verner did against Oakland)

He played well on special teams and didn't play as much as we would have liked on defense, but did play and was productive.

(on what Jason McCourty did to win the starting job over Alterraun Verner)

I am comfortable with either one of them.  I would have no reservations whatsoever playing either one of them; J-Mac just has more experience.  I thought he played well yesterday.  That doesn't mean to say we're not going to put A.V. on the field either.  I would expect him to play some places on the field defensively.  Whether that's in the nickel or even an opportunity to play some series at the cornerback spot.

(on if players starting to celebrate before they score bothers him)

Penalties bother me and we didn't have any penalties, I think they understand the fine line there.

(on Michael Griffin performing like his 2008 Pro Bowl form on Sunday against Oakland)

And it will be the guy we will see.  He was very productive all over the field, just focused and his rededication over the offseason paid off.  I expect it to continue.

(on if he thinks Kenny Britt's focus issues are mostly behind him, and if those issues played a part in him recording zero receptions)

It had nothing to do with his focus issues—we had 17 pass attempts.

(on his defense's ability to have success on third down)

They were max protecting quite a bit in third-and-long.  Which means they are going to keep at least six, sometime seven, so we knew they were going to do that.  That's their choice, that's the way they played and so that created opportunities for us.  Wash (Jim Washburn) had his guys coached up well and they were in position to get good pressure on the quarterback despite the fact that they were keeping people in.  When you just have three guys and a fourth checking out late, it's hard to convert third-and-longs.

(on if he thinks the success Vince Young was able to have against Oakland will detour defenses from stacking the box to stop Chris Johnson)

It unfolded the way we thought it would.  I knew he was going to make some plays with his legs.  Even though we got a lot more zone (coverages), which is uncharacteristic for a Raider defense because it's not their M.O. and we got zone particularly because I felt they were concerned about CJ.  In the play-action game, sometimes you're going to turn that zone into a man and we did so in several occasions and Vince took advantage of it and he's going to.  His legs helped us in two drives yesterday, and it's hard to overcome that defensively.

(on if the Titans suffered any injuries in Sunday's game against Oakland)


(on the chances of William Hayes and Mike Otto playing against Pittsburgh)

They're both getting better.

(on if he's concerned that Jason Campbell was able to make some plays running the ball when he couldn't find an open receiver)

We were rushing and got pushed out of rush lanes a couple times and he saw some man-to-man stuff and took off.  Fortunately, he slid short of the line-to-gain on one of them.  He's going to be a good quarterback, so it was a good decision of theirs to bring him in there.  I think he's going to be a good quarterback and win a lot of games for them.

(on if William Hayes was healthy enough to play before tweaking his knee in practice last week)


(on when he expects Hayes to get healthy enough to play again)

I'll have an injury report for you this week, but I expect him to practice.

(on Pittsburgh missing some offensive linemen due to injuries)

They have been, over the years, a very well coached football team and they are able to put backups in position to play and have success.  They also understand how to get players in certain positions help.  We expect to see some of that, people aren't going to hold the ball against us, they don't, they're going to get rid of it, they're going to play-action pass.  When you play-action pass and turn people you're able to buy yourself more time, so we'll expect them to adjust.  I don't think it's something that we'll be able to take advantage of.

(on Nate Washington)

He played well in the game and he's had a good camp.  Despite the fact that he's been limited from a catching standpoint for a couple of weeks, he came out and made three big plays for us yesterday.

(on if having an extra year in the system played a role in Washington's ability to have success)

He has a good feel for the system now—a good feel for the entire system, not just his position but what everybody else is doing.

(on Calvin Johnson's controversial dropped touchdown pass at the end of the Lions-Bears game)

Nothing needs to be changed (with that rule).  When a receiver, in the end zone, is contacted by a defensive player and he goes down, he must complete the catch.  If there was no contact by the defensive player, it's a touchdown.  But there was contact, he went down, he has to complete the catch.  It's the rule, it's been the rule and it was called correctly.  I guess you have to draw the conclusion on whether or not Calvin should of, could of, would of, should have done something different with the football, but that's the rule.

(on if he or Wide Receivers Coach Fred Graves showed that footage to the players)

Our receivers, at least I assume they were familiar with the rule, but they are very familiar with it now.

(on why people are wrong in thinking he was leaving Chris Johnson in the game after it was decided in an attempt to help him reach 2,500 rushing yards for the season)

We're trying to win football games and play players and get them ready for the long haul.  Again, I don't go into this game with concern about any player getting hurt.  What you do when you sub in games where you're ahead, the intention is not to keep someone from getting hurt; the intention is to get a backup playing reps and opportunities.  I don't feel that Javon (Ringer) needs that; he doesn't need to prove anything to us.  That's the thought process when you're very fortunate to get ahead like we did which is something that is few and far between, in football because the games are usually so close.  When you do take advantage of a sub it's to get a younger player reps, it's not to take someone out to keep from getting hurt.

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