Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt:**
OPENING STATEMENT:"Obviously big win for us, 400th win in the regular season for the Titans, I believe, and that's quite an accomplishment. Very grateful for Mr. (Tommy) Smith and we've got a game ball for him for that and that's certainly important. I have a lot of respect for Coach Reid and for this football team and these fans, this is a really tough place to play, and I'm really proud of our guys and that they were able to handle it. We didn't do great all the time, but we did enough and I'm very happy with that."
I know this week you wanted to hold Jamaal Charles to under 100 yards. You held him to 19. Was that the key, keeping him in check?"Yeah. I think we made some plays that were big. With the missed field goal and we went down and scored the touchdown that kind of got us going. Then our defense got fired up, and we played pretty good football from that point. Hats off to the defense, they played very well today and did a great job on the third down, they did a great job and made a lot of plays."
The offense was a little slow to start out but you went 6-of-8 with your last possessions. Are you happy to see that kind of consistency pick up?"It's always tough when you come into a place like this with the noise. We had issues with it still and we struggle in protecting a little bit because of it, and we will try to learn from that but I'm happy with the way our team responded. That's an important. It's one of the things we talked about during the week. When you come on the road to an environment like this with the noise you're going to have to respond at some point, and we did that."
How did you like the way Jake Locker played when you distributed the ball, but he got hit too many times or too much?"That's something we need to do better with and penalties too. We had too many holding calls and just too many penalties, but Jake, I thought did great and made a number of good plays and good throws and moved in the pocket. The throw to Delanie (Walker) on 3rd down when he knew he had pressure coming on the left side, and he threw to his right with an accurate throw. That's what playing that position is all about. He knew what was coming and he knew what the issues were, he stayed within the scheme. In other words all the things we've worked with footwork-wise and technique-wise, you saw that and it's really exciting, but it's one game. We've got a long way to go."
Running back committee look about like you envisioned it, in terms of distributing touches and being a little bit unpredictable?"Yeah I think so. I think offensively we did a good job with that because when you look at the number of guys that distributed and made plays whether it was different running backs or different receivers. We really mixed it up well. I think if we continue to do that, we have a chance to be a pretty good team."
Ryan Succop. He kicked it four times. Is this why you signed him? To preform like he did today?"We did what we thought. Kickoff, 4-for-4 field goals, big field goals. The thing I liked was like in golf, when the guy is putting and he's hitting the middle of the hole every time, then kind of the way Ryan was kicking the ball, right down the middle. So he had a lot of confidence and I'm really excited for him because I know how it is when you come back to a team you've played for before."
Are you especially proud of the resilience after penalties, you still make first downs and score, you come right back down."Those are things that I'm proud of, but it's one game. We've got to do that over time to prove that we are that kind of team. I've seen it in the way that guys have worked at camp, but you never know what you are going to get in a regular season game, and I think we handled it well today."
It seems like you are kind of over all purposeful and crisp. A lot of first games don't come across like that. Do you think those were the right words and how pleased are you with that?"Well, I'm really impressed that you used those words about us, so I kind of like that. And if that's the case then yes, that's what we were trying to do. One of the things that I heard from our players, is that they felt like we had a good plan and we were going to attack and we were going to go after them. We knew what we were looking for and what we were trying to do. Now really, it comes down to guys making plays and our guys made plays Jason McCourty making an interception, Brett Kern punting the ball at the two yard line. All of those things play together, it's about being a team all the time. If you asked me, who really stood out today? I couldn't tell you, there were so many of them."
You guys got a delay on the goal line, I guess it got you some more room but how did that transpire?"I was trying to call a timeout, but I just didn't get down there in time. We had a little trouble with where the ball was and who was spotting it. It looked like we got a short clock, and I was trying to get it off and obviously I didn't."
Were you trying to get a review on the potential fumble there? Did you see something that made you think it might have been a fumble?"I had two. There were two plays right there before the quarter. I tried to challenge but only had one timeout. We lost two timeouts there, which we've got to do better with because I knew then that if we lost it, we wouldn't be able to challenge with 10 minutes left in the game. So I had to see it before I challenged it, and I never got a look at it."
With Blidi Wreh-Wilson, you've got to avoid getting in that guys face there. I assume that is something that you will ride him about?"Yes, I will. There are a couple things like I said; I don't want us, our team, to represent ourselves that way. We're not going to be like that. I know it's an emotional game, but a big part of what we do is that we have got to keep that under control."
From preseason to game one, how pleased are you?"I've said consistently through preseason that I felt good about our team. I thought that's how they would respond just off the way we worked. I thought our defense responded well, they did exactly what I thought or hoped they would do, with the game plan. Jake I thought played well and our guys made a lot of plays. We need to clean up protection and things and clean up penalties. So trust me we have a lot we have to work on, but it was a very good start for us."
Zach Brown was your one bad injury of the day. Do you know what's going on?"Yeah he's got a shoulder. We will get it checked out and get an MRI on it tomorrow and see how long it's going to be."
You hate to see guys go down, Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito, both have been in the league a long time. "Those are great guys for them and again I know it's tough when you lose two guys like that."
How hard was it to come on and do what you guys did today?"I don't think anybody gave us a chance to do it. Our guys believed in what we are doing, and it was a team effort out there today, that's what I am most proud about. The fact that we had a clear plan of what we wanted to do here and we executed it very well enough to win in a tough situation, that speaks volumes for our first game, on the road in Kansas City. That's not easy. My hat's off to our guys on how they prepared for this; our challenge is going to be to clean things up, put this game behind us and move forward."
You had Quentin Groves up and Akeem Ayers down. Is that a sign that he was ready to go and knows the defense or it Akeem Ayers needs to step up? "That's fair to say but the big thing came down to special teams. We saw him make some plays on special teams and those were things we thought were very important on the road."
How big of a moment was the kickoff recovery? "Sometimes the ball bounces your way, and it did that time. We didn't get a lot of bounces in the preseason, and I wasn't happy about that. Leon Washington made a lot of good plays for us, so we just have to continue to work and not get beat."
You've said a couple times that this was an important game. Was that the message to your team today? "I don't know if you guys saw me, but I was pretty fired up on the sidelines, just because of the mistakes we were making. We have to be cleaner as far as trying to put a game away, which we did, but I think the sense that I got from the locker room was that we have to move on to the next game."
For you personally to start your first season with this kind if win what does it mean to you? "I am happy to be here in Tennessee, and I'm grateful to Tommy Smith and his family for bringing me here and very grateful for our team. It's big; I'm excited we got the win. I'm going to give you a cliché – you can't win 16 if you don't win the first one. But I've been in a lot of games but the thing I'm most excited about is the way our team played."
Quarterback Jake Locker:**
What would you say, overall, about what the offense did today?"The noise, the situation, we didn't get into the rhythm we wanted to as early as we wanted to. We found it in the second quarter and were able to put some points on the board. Our defense made a big play right before the half and put three points on the board, then to get the ball back and score was probably the turning point of the game for us. I was really proud of how the guys responded after the slow start. It gave us something to build on. We had some penalties that hurt us, stopped some drives when we were getting close to the red zone. If we can eliminate those, we might have scored a few more touchdowns in the game. The fun part is we get to go back and look at it. I think we left a lot out there today."
Did going with no huddle on the first series help spark something? "Getting on the line of scrimmage was good for us; we communicated well. We kind of controlled the crowd noise a little bit and it allowed us to move the ball efficiently. We did a good job as a unit, communicating, getting on the same page, and executing the plays that were called."
On distributing weapons and being unpredictable, specifically on offense: "I think today it was about getting guys in position to make plays. Our plan called for a lot of different guys to touch the football, and we were able to do that. We weren't greedy, and we didn't try to take too much. Guys were open and they made great catches and we were able to do things after the catch. I thought it was an efficient game for us offensively."
Were you able to take advantage of the situation after the Chiefs two defensive injuries? "First of all, prayers go out to those guys for healing. I hope they make a full recovery. You hate to see guys go down, any time. Obviously, those were two of the guys that were staples of their defense, in there almost every snap, especially Derrick (Johnson), so you understand that's going to change up their personnel. Understanding what they are going to do to make up for those losses, you look at it and understand maybe where you can gain an advantage in that situation."
How nice was it to have four quarters of playing time, as opposed to limited time in the preseason? "We moved the ball early on, but we had some sacks and penalties that hurt us and put us behind the chains. To be up against a team like that and with a crowd that's loud makes it hard to push the ball down the field. We got behind on the down and distances when we had drives stall out. I thought we consistently moved the ball well; it's just at times we had negative plays that really hurt us within those drives. I thought as an offense, we found our rhythm. We just have to avoid negative plays."
How did it feel getting a lead and keep the crowd out of the game? "That was one of our focuses coming in, understanding that this is a loud environment. The crowd, especially with the pass rush they have, can create an advantage for them. Defense coming out and making stops early was huge. That allowed our offense to come out and put points on the board. Hats off to them for stiffening up that first half – they played great."
Coach Whisenhunt stressed that this was just one game. Does that send a message to you guys that there is still a lot to learn? "No doubt. We left a lot out there. There are a lot of things that we can improve on and do better as a football team and that's what we're going to focus on this next week, getting ready for the Cowboys."
With a new coaching staff and new offensive scheme, did it give you a boost of confidence that, for the most part, things went smoothly? "Yes. I don't want this to sound arrogant, but I think we expected it to. We had felt that way through OTAs, through minicamp into fall camp and into the preseason. We were executing well, and I think that was one of our expectations coming in here. I'm proud of the guys."
How much of the unpredictability with running back by committee gave you an advantage?
"We've talked about it at times before. The personnel groups that we are able to mix and match, we have so many versatile guys that offer different things to our offense. To be able to run guys in and out and change those personnel groups puts a lot of stress on the defense. We did a great job of shuffling guys and creating that stress today."
The offensive line had a few protection issues. Do you think that is still one of the areas where there is some miscommunication? "Yes. Like I said, it was loud. That is not an easy place to operate. I thought early on that we weren't communicating, weren't on the same page always, myself included, and we need to improve upon that. But I thought we really settled in and did a lot better as the game went on. There are some good players on the other side of the ball that you have to give credit where credit is due."
K RYAN SUCCOP:**
Opening Statement:"I'm very blessed to be here. It was an awesome day. I feel very blessed to come here with an organization and a team like the Titans. I'm thankful the day went the way that it did. It was interesting. I was out there warming up and you get to know so many people here when you're here for such a long time. It was great seeing a lot of friends and a lot of co-workers. To get an opportunity to be here was special."
You never had a chance to say goodbye to Kansas City, what's your message now that you're here and about to leave again? "I've said all along that I've had a great five years in Kansas City. I had an unbelievable experience. The fans here are fantastic. The organization is great. With the coaches and players, I had an awesome time. There's not one bit of bitterness from my end. All I am is thankful for those five years. I feel very blessed to have been here for those five years. Now I'm moving on to Tennessee, and I'm really, really excited about that opportunity. Everyone in Tennessee has been nothing but welcoming. We have a great locker room. You can tell we have something really special going in that locker room, and I'm glad to be a part of it."
How good did it feel to be 4-for-4 on your field goals? "This was a special game today, there's no question about it. It's something that I don't think I'll ever forget this game. You never know how things are going to go on opening day and to get off to a start like this in Arrowhead, it was special."
Did being familiar with Arrowhead help today? "Certainly, anytime the more you can kick in a place, the more comfortable you can get. That was certainly the case today. It was great to get to come here and feel good in pregame and feel good during the game and so that was nice."
Why did you point to the sky after making your last field goal? "I always point to the sky. It's basically my way of saying 'Thank you Lord.' All along during this process I've always leaned on my faith and especially this week. I couldn't have done it without my faith. I just wanted to honor my Lord and Savior and that was pretty cool to be able to do that today."* *
DT JURRELL CASEY:
On stopping Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles:"It was a great challenge for us. We knew they were going to come out and run the ball pretty well. Our heart was to stop the run. Our coaches talked about it all week. It was going to be down to us up front to be out there and win this game for us. We held him to under 100 yards and that's what we had our mind set on when we came into this game. I thought we did a great job up front getting it done."
On stopping the Chiefs on third down: "In order to be a great defense you have to win the third down battle. Today we did that. We had a hard time with that in the preseason, but we showed today that we can go out there and be the great defense that we know we can be."
TE DELANIE WALKER:**
On the touchdown:"We were setting it up. We ran a corner route to see what kind of coverage they were going to play. When we got down in the red zone, perfect coverage. Jake (Locker) threw a great ball in the back of the end zone. I made the catch. That's what I was supposed to do. That's why they have me here. There you have it - touchdown."
You played your college ball right down the road at Central Missouri. Talk about coming back to play in this area: "Coming back, I felt like I had to show up. I knew there were going to be a lot of UCM fans here. There were a lot of people who knew me, went to school (with me), were at the game. I just wanted to make sure I performed at the best level to represent Central Missouri - especially because I played college football there. I felt like I did a great job. It was a team win. Our O-line did a great job. The quarterback played awesome."
T MICHAEL ROOS:**
On the game:"Like Coach Whisenhunt said, nobody outside this locker room thought we would come in here and win. It just shows the work ethic and commitment of all of these guys. We all knew we expected to win. We came in here, into a hostile environment, and did what we knew we were capable of and everything else took care of itself."
A lot of people did not know what this offense would look like. You guys did not get a lot of snaps in the preseason. What kind of statement did you all make today? "I think we made the statement that we definitely want to run the ball. We've got to take care of some protection issues. We definitely made the statement that we were going to try to pound it - keep pushing and wear you down in the fourth quarter."
What do you anticipate the atmosphere will be like at home next week coming off this win? "Hopefully, the crowd will feed off this and come out and be ready. We're looking forward to playing in front of the home crowd."
RB DEXTER McCLUSTER:**
Were you nervous going into today's game?"Today I was not nervous at all. I was more anxious than anything. I played her for four years. I know how it is. I know how it can get, and I was comfortable. When you are comfortable you play good."
On the crowd at Arrowhead Stadium:"I pride myself on being available, being out in the community and building relationships. It goes a long way. You see what those guys can do out there. They make it real loud. If you have a relationship with them, they will come out and do what they have to do for the team."
*What was it like leaving Kansas City for you? *"It was different. All I knew was KC. My family was here. We were very comfortable. In this game you have to adjust on the fly. When adversity strikes you have to be ready for change."
*Did you know you were going to have as many touches in the game as you did? *"We work hard all week. I knew the opportunity would be there, and it came so I am thankful for it." * *
WR KENDALL WRIGHT:
On getting the first win on the road?"It is a good starting block for us. We definitely have a lot of things to tune up on and things to get better at, so we are not going to get complacent with this win. We are definitely happy with coming into Kansas City, a hostile environment and getting a win like we did today. We feel like we can get better. I feel like we can do a lot of things better. We will go back to practice this week, go back to the drawing board. There are plenty of things we did wrong so we will continue to get better."
*Is today's win a sign of things to come for this team? *"Definitely, I am proud of this locker room. I have been here for quite some time, and no disrespect to the previous coaches, but I haven't felt this locker room like this in quite some time. I am excited about the progression of where we are going and the direction we are headed in. The leaders of this team understand the sense of urgency from the city and this organization, to win some ball games. We will continue to plug away at what we are doing. Going into this week, we will put this win behind us and continue to get better."
On the play of QB Jake Locker:"From the top of the totem pole on down, it starts with Jake. He took it upon himself to come in here and understand this offense, to understand what is required of him throughout this offense. His success or downfall is not going to be just on him. It is going to be a team effort. This team performing like it did today lets me know that our offense is definitely headed in the right direction."
RB SHONN GREENE:**
How does it feel to get your first win of the season on the road? "It feels awesome, going against a good opponent who was a playoff team last year. We did what we came to do, which was come out, execute and get the win."
*How important was it to establish the run? *"I think it was very important. It set up our passing game. The first half was kind of rough. We had to grind it out, but the second half we popped a couple of runs and kept on grinding."
On the performance of the running back group:"I think we have a lot of room to get better. I think all the guys that went on the field and carried the ball did what they were supposed to do. We followed our assignments and ran the best we could."
*How important was it to be able to run the clock out at the end of the game? *"That is very important. You don't want your defense to get back on the field. You don't want their offense getting back on the field getting points. We have to be good in that aspect of the game, to be able to run the clock out and keep our offense on the field to win the game."