Players reflect on early playoff exit


(on his opportunity being the starting quarterback this season)

I was excited for the opportunity to play. You know, things change in this league and I got the opportunity to play when I didn't think I would, so I tried to make the most of it and I thought overall, while it's hard to stomach the loss the other day, we can look back and know that there were some good things that happened this year

(on the message from the coaches)

I think everyone is obviously very disappointed. You go through a season like we did and put together a season that we did, and the wins; it's disappointing to end it like we did, but that's something with time we'll heal and realize that there were a lot of good moments this year and to win 13 games in a regular season is a good accomplishment, but we are still at the end going to be disappointed.

(on chances of seeing him in a Titans uniform next year)

I hope so. I'd like to be here. I've got good years left in me, I know that. I like playing here, my family likes Nashville a lot and I hope it works out, but this is the NFL and nobody knows what's going to happen. We've got to be able to move on if that's what needs to happen.

(on what he's been told regarding his future status)

They really haven't told me anything yet, don't know what their plans are. I certainly have made my case known that I want to be here and if it works out, which I hope it does, I'll be ready to go, but basically the ball is in their court. They have to decide what they want to do.

(on if he would come back if there's an open competition)

There would have to be a lot of factors, I think, to be in place for me to come back here, several of which you've mentioned, but there would have to be a lot of things.

(on if money or being in the right situation is more important)

Oh, definitely the situation. I've been lucky to have made the career that I have. I want to be on a good team and I think we have a good team here and I think we can be even better next year.

(on if he has more years in NFL)

Oh, there's no question. I have several good years left. Physically I feel great. I still have the passion to do it and still know I can do it. Behind an offensive line like we had this year I mean, I can do this for a few more years. So yeah, I just have to see what's out there. I don't know for sure what's going to happen here, but like I said, I hope I'm here.

(on if it would be difficult to find a better situation)

Yes, it would. You know, obviously a team that's looking for a quarterback may not be in the best shape as the Titans are, but at the same time I mean I've got to look at every option.

(on being adamant about being a starter)

Absolutely. At this point in my career, I have started so much in my career and I am at the age now where I am completely comfortable with shutting it down if that's what happens. I know I can do it. I am a starter in this league and if nothing materializes that way, then like I have always said, I will retire.

(on if he's had any discussions with Mike Reinfeldt or Jeff Fisher)

We've talked. There wasn't much discussion about the future and everything. I think I made my case known that I would like to be here and feel that I can be a part of several more good seasons and give them several more good years. At this point, I think everybody just needs to decide what they need to do.

(on if he would pack up and go somewhere else)

I will pack up and go somewhere else. I don't want to, but that's the reality of this business. Like I said, I really like it here, my family really likes it here in Nashville. I think there's something special here that I would like to be a part of, but there is a business side to this thing, too. If it comes down to it, I've got to be able to pack up and move on.

(on how hard it would be to walk away from football knowing he has several good years left)

I think it would be hard. It's just that I've played so much of my career and I've been a starter for so long, and I still feel I am a starter…there's things that I'm looking forward to in my life after football. I'm at peace with my career to a certain extent. I still feel I have more to do, but if it comes down to it, there's so much preparation that goes into it and so much practice time that to do it and be a backup is just not what I'm interested in doing right now.

(on how he'll unwind from a season like this)

I'll go back and hunt a little bit, go back to the farm, spend some time around my cows. I've got another life back there.


(on the playoff loss to Ravens)

We squandered our opportunities. I still feel the same way as I did Saturday after the game. We had our opportunities and we didn't make the most of them.

(on what needs to change to get over the hump)

It's hard to say that things need to change when you have a 13-3 season and you're in the playoffs. As a defense, you give up 200 yards and on offense you gain about 400. We just didn't make the plays we needed to make on defense, and we just made too many mistakes to overcome them.

(on how he characterizes the season)

Football is fun for me. I take what I do very serious. I have a lot of fun doing it, so I had a lot of fun throughout the year. I have been on a 13-3 team before, but to be a part of the nucleus of that 13-3 team was fun, but it's empty because I'm one who knows that it doesn't really matter what you do in the regular season. The whole goal is to get into the playoffs and we had our one and done, which is unfortunate. When you're there, that's why you have to make the most of it, you have to realize how important it is and now you have to start all over again in March, whereas, instead of having these cameras in my face talking about the end of the season, we should be talking about an opponent.

(on what needs to change in order to advance next time)

I don't necessarily know if anything has to change. We were a 13-3 with the best record. We put up nearly 400 yards in offense and held Baltimore to about 200 yards in offense. We just didn't make enough plays on defense, and they did that. So, we were one of the top three teams in turnover (differential). So, it's hard to say what necessarily needs to change; maybe you can add something to make it better. But something that needs to change, I don't know.

(on if he will watch the playoffs after being defeated)

No, it doesn't sit that poorly; just for the simple fact that my team put ourselves in a position to be in the playoffs, to showcase what this team was about. My team had its opportunities, so that would be ridiculous of me to sit around, and mope around, and take away from my life, worrying about a situation in which we had control of.  I am over it. It stinks, but you just have to start all over next year. I feel I put everything I could put out there all year, all throughout the practices, and everything. I fulfilled myself I guess as an individual, but we just didn't fulfill ourselves as a team.

(on who he thinks the quarterback will be next year)

I don't know who our quarterback is going to be. That's the furthest thing from my mind. That's up to them. Whoever the guys are competing for that position, that's up to them. It doesn't really matter right now.

(on how tough is it to get ready to go into another year)

Man! It's extremely difficult to get ready. I'm not ready even training in college. It's just something I know I have to do in order to get what I want, so I don't want to think about that. I have to think of training regiments that I like doing to alleviate the pain of actual training. You don't look forward to that.

(on if he'll be monitoring the Albert Haynesworth contract situation)

No, definitely not. That is not my job. I will be in touch with Albert. He'll let me know what's up.

(on if there are any reasons why he won't be here next year)

 I don't know. You never know. I still feel that I am playing at a high caliber Pro Bowl, All-Pro level. I do have one year left on my deal, so that's for my agent and the organization to talk about. We will see. I plan on being here. Why wouldn't I be here?

(on if he would like to have his contract extended )

Of course, of course I would. If I only have one more year in the deal, that means if I play next year and say I get hurt in camp, that's my last year. So, from the business standpoint, you definitely like to have some more years on the back end. But they have other things to worry about right now, other players to sign. We'll see.

(on if management has talked to him about an extension)

They don't talk to me, they talk to my agent. Not that I know of.

(on importance of getting Haynesworth locked up before start of free agency)

I think for the type of player he is, if you look at the other players at his position, he definitely is one of the more dominant ones, if not the best. If they want the best defensive lineman, they're going to pay the cost. I feel they put themselves in a position to where now they have to play by his agent's rules, so that's something for them to deal with.


(on how he's feeling after the playoff loss)

It still hurts. There are a lot of frustrations after that game, but hopefully after the pain in this one goes away, we have a lot of things we can build off of it. I hope guys don't view it as a missed opportunity or missing our shot, because I think we can definitely build upon a lot of the things we did this year.

(on if anything needs to change to get over the hump)

Yes. It is important that we don't get comfortable and complacent. I think that obviously this team has evolved since I have been here and there are going to be changes, but you have to embrace change and we have to really look at the things you did well and build upon them. If we can tweak a few things, hopefully it will help us get back with the postseason and get some wins.

(on how much the team needs Albert Haynesworth back)

Since I've been here, Albert has been a big part of what we have done, and he has gotten a lot better as a player. There is very little doubt that he is the most dominate defensive tackle in the game, especially pass-rush wise.  We build a lot of the stuff we do around what he can do. He at times can't be blocked; single-teamed or double-teamed. So, it would be a huge for our success, but there is also a comfort level on the depth and play of the young guys that we've had this year. 

(on if Albert is not re-signed will it be a bad message to defense)

I don't know. There are a lot of factors and variables about whether we re-sign him or whether we can we re-sign him. He is a big reason we were a top defense this year. There are going to be some adjustments we would have to make without him.

(on when he will be 100 percent and ready to go)

I really didn't feel anything after the game. Obviously I wasn't 100 percent, and I wasn't as effective as I would have like to have been, but hopefully I can use this time to rehab and continue to hit it hard for a couple of weeks and hopefully it will be behind me.

(on the potential of losing defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz)

It could possibly change the philosophy for the defense. Obviously a defense coordinator is going to put his stamp on what we do defensively. It would be a big loss for us. Coach Schwartz has been one of the top coordinators in the league for a long time. He has also been a huge reason for our success. To his credit things have changed since I have been here, and he has shown a lot of foresight and adaptability and I think we have really fine- tuned a lot of things on defense. Hopefully the new coordinator can come in and seem to think that we did well and build off of what Schwartz has established here.

(on setting a schedule for himself)

I've got to finish up rehabbing so that I can put this injury behind me, then probably take a step back and get away a little bit. It has been a long season. I would like to come back and get back to some of  the things I did well when I had Pro Bowl seasons. Again, my frustrations in this game were that when it comes playoff time I like to be a playmaker and help this team win and I don't feel like I did that on a Saturday. I don't know if I let some people down, but I feel like my role on this defense is to be a playmaker and I want to get back to that.

(on the importance of Kerry Collins returning)

It's not my decision. There is a lot to be said for continuity in the National football league, but at the same time it's a long offseason.  Whatever changes at quarterback, or any position that we make we have time to adjust to it. That is one of the things that Coach Fisher has done a good job of; when there is change at positions or when somebody goes down, the next guy is always ready.

(on if players have confidence in Vince Young if Collins is not re-signed)

Absolutely. Vince came in and he has been a winner at every level and he will be a winner at this level. I think he has had the opportunity to step back and see this team do well, and this offense do well. This has been a good learning season for him.

(on the final meeting message from the coaches)

It was short. There wasn't really a message. The coaches are hurting just like the players are. He told every body just to take a step back and enjoy your time that you have to yourselves and get your mind off of football a little bit.


Well, I have been in this position before. It's a bittersweet moment. To think back on how I felt when I lost in the AFC Championship, when I went 15-1 with the Pittsburgh Steelers, I can't even remember. We came back and won the Super Bowl that next season, so I try to put myself in that same situation and try to remember what I felt, and how long it lasted, and how I got over it, but I really can't remember. It's a bittersweet moment. It's going to take some time, but at the same time it's going to fuel that energy and that hunger for next season. It will be over and done in a couple of weeks for this year's championship and it'll be back at it.

(on whether the complexion of the team will remain the same next year)

That's the sad thing about it. Every year the team changes. It's almost like playing your last season in high school with the graduating senior class, just the relationships you build with some of your teammates and all the hard work you put in. You just hate to see someone leave and not have the opportunity to hold that trophy up with you when you finally get it is the sad part about it.

(on preferred football changes )

I'm not sure. I haven't really focused in on that, every team changes. It's inevitable. Everybody has an opportunity to go and better themselves, whether it's a coach or the player. You can't fault them for that, because that's what you play the game for; the hard work and everything you put into it. In order to win, you try to keep the core group of guys together and you try to put intangible parts around them, but I am confident in the organization. They have done a great job bringing in myself, and Kevin Mawae, and players like that in. They have done a great job with getting guys in off-season every year since I have been here, so I am sure we will be the 2009 Titans, but it won't be too much difference.

(on the understanding of nothing is guaranteed)

That is the NFL. We can clearly say that any team that's in the running for the Super Bowl right now we could beat any Sunday, and that's the sad part. It's not basketball or hockey, where you get to play a series. It's whoever wins that day, and it doesn't have to be the best team that day, it's whoever has the most points on the board and that's the tough part about football. That is why it is one of the most highly watched sports.


(on playoff loss)

The best team won at the time we played them, so really you can't go back and look at us and say that we are the best. This is NFL. Everybody is a great team, and they're well deserving. They made it to the playoffs the same way we made it to the playoffs. They just managed to come on our field and beat us on Saturday night.

(on if he feels the nucleus is in place for a bright future)

Yes, I see. It is hard to judge with the off season situation. You may be losing some people; you may be adding some people.  It's kind of hard to determine. I just see that we are headed in the right direction. We have a lot of young players as myself, and we just have to continue to work hard and build upon what this team is trying to build.


(on if he would like to return to the Titans)

I definitely want to come back, especially coming from Oakland; just talking people around the league that this place does things the right way around here. So I really appreciate Coach Fisher and my all my teammates and I really want to come back.

(on if he can believe the season is over)

No. It is just one of those things. It is real unfortunate. It is what it is. You can look back at everything that happen last game and that's moot right now. It's unfortunate, but it is what it is.

(on whether it was worse Sunday morning than Saturday night)

It was probably the same for me, personally. I don't think I got out of bed until 6:00 yesterday. We will get over it. It was very disappointing. In retrospect, I'm just glad I got a chance to be on this team with these guys and these coaches this year, because I enjoyed my time here every single week during the season and it just stinks that we can't go on and play in the Super Bowl, but that's life.

(on if this was the last year of his contract)

Yes, this is my last year. I need to work something out. Hopefully I'll come back, I want to. So, that is the goal.

(on if it's a priority to return)

Yes, definitely. I feel like that if you are in a place where you are happy, and you are playing well, on a good team, that your career is going to be longer in that place, and that's what it is all about. You can take more money and go elsewhere, but the people that you are around with every day that is the most important, because once you are playing I don't think about the money. I just think about my job. That's the most important thing.  I love my teammates and the coaches here. I like the Nashville area, so I definitely want to come back.

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