HEAD COACH KEN WHISENHUNT
Obviously not the start you wanted tonight. Can you talk about what happened on both sides of the ball?"Mistakes, both sides of the ball. Missed tackles, missed gap fits defensively. Offensively, false starts – things that we can't do to shoot ourselves in the foot, which is tough. We knew it was going to be tough coming in here. I think we made too many mistakes early. It's tough against that type of offense. They are a spacing offense, they have a lot of different combinations and when you don't get a chance to really prepare against them you can make some mistakes. That doesn't forgive us for not tackling. We had a couple of times where we could have made some plays but we didn't tackle guys. So that was disappointing."
It was a quick turnaround but did you feel like the first team defense made some progress in St. Louis?** "I did, but like I said, I think you are forgetting this was a short week. We didn't prepare for this team and I knew that was going to be difficult. In fact I said that when we even got into this game. The tackling part of it you don't like. None of it do I like. We are not happy. We'll correct it but it's obviously not what we want to do."
What was the process of ending the game? "There was three minutes left, the officials asked us to leave the field and then they contacted New York. Where the game was it didn't make any sense to go back out there."
Without seeing the film, what was your early evaluation of Marcus (Mariota)? "He finished strong. We got a chance to get him a two-minute situation at the end of the half and he drove us down the field and scored a touchdown, which was nice. He moved well, made some plays with his feet. It was not the start that we wanted but I don't know necessarily that it was his fault. We struggled with the clock a little bit tonight and the noise. We missed some protection checks and communication wasn't great. I think with the play clock that was the first time we struggled with the play clock coming down to zero and getting a penalty or having to use a timeout. You expect those kind of things when you come into a place like this. We knew it. It's something we'll be better at the next time we are faced with it."
How challenging is it for a rookie quarterback to play on a short week to face a 3-4 defense? "This is a different 3-4 defense. Some of the things that they do – the multiple looks, the pressure, that's the biggest thing that you have to be prepared for. When you have a normal week where you can prepare for them and recognize some of the patterns, you are quicker to react to them. When you play against a team like them you have to be prepared to make some checks because they are going to give you some defenses that are tough to make plays against unless you get the proper thing checked. The process of getting the whole team on the same page, usually you can do that in a normal gameplan week but we didn't have that so we really didn't prepare for it. Like I said coming in, I knew it was going to be tough but we got a chance to see some of our players matched up one-on-one, see how they did, compare it and get an evaluation of it."
Is that what happened with some of Marcus' roll outs? "Some were designed and some were where the play went. He gained eight or nine yards on one of them didn't he? I can't tell you what each play was but he ran for seven, I think he ran for eight or nine so he did make some positive yards."
When (Justin) Houston sacked Marcus (Mariota) it looked like Houston said something while getting up. Do you know what was exchanged? And what do you think about the mild-mannered guy getting riled up?"He is a fiery competitor. I don't know what he said but he is very competitive. While he may seem mild-mannered on the surface, he is fiery, competitive guy. It was good to see him react the way he did in that game and make some plays there right at the end of the first half."
You have one game left with him. What else is it that you need to see in this preseason? "We got to see a lot of different situations. So I think we are comfortable with where we are with him as far as being able to handle it. I think tonight was invaluable for being in a hostile environment and having to deal with the noise, having to do the silent snap count. Also, the like I said, the challenges with the play clock for us. That's the first time we've had to experience it. Our operation wasn't quick enough. I think part of that was because we weren't prepared plan-wise going against this football team so it lead to some confusion. Still, we can't jumps offsides. We had a fourth down where we had the first down and it was going to be a big play and that was a big play in the game early but we made a mistake. We got down there in the red zone and we false started again. Those are the things we can't do and we've got to work to correct those. Until you go through it and you see it, you have to work off that."
Alex Smith was 16 of 18. It seemed like he did whatever he wanted out there. Thoughts on the defense and not tackling. "We looked tired at times. When you face an offense like this, Coach Reid, you know coming in the type of offense they run is a spacing offense. They run a lot of different screens, swing screens and different kind of checked plays. It's tough if you're not prepared for it it's hard to respond to those things. We didn't do a good job of that. If we'd have had a full week to prepare for it I think we would have been a little bit better. That doesn't excuse the tackling. We didn't tackle well." * *
Did it look like Zach (Brown) missed a few of those tackles? "Yeah, I would agree with that. He did. It was two tackles, I know it was maybe more, but there was two that could have been big plays, you know, get-them-off-the-field type of plays. That is certainly unacceptable."
The injuries to (Hakeem) Nicks and (Da'Norris) Searcy, are they serious? "I don't think either one of them is serious. Both of them are the knee. I don't think it's anything that will cause them to miss time."
DGB (Dorial Green-Beckham) never got in. Was that the plan? "Yeah. We felt good about where he was. He could have played had it been a regular season game but in this particular situation he probably would have gotten into a cycle where it could have been sore. So why not let him sit tonight and he'll be fine for next week."
You said you were comfortable with what you have seen form Marcus (Mariota). Does that mean he won't play next week? "I didn't say that. We have to look at his tape, figure out where we are and see. I don't have to make that decision right now."
Earlier you said you were comfortable with what you'd seen from him though? "I think I was asked how I felt about it and I said I'm comfortable with what I've seen from him to-date. If there is something we need him to work on in the last game wherever we are, that's things that we'll look at once we get past this game."
Is there a possibility you wouldn't play him? "Is there a possibility he wouldn't? Once again, I'll see."
Do you get any sense of how long (David) Cobb will be out? "Calves are tricky things. I think the best way to say it it's just going to be week-to-week and we'll see how it goes. It's disappointing from that standpoint – he was getting better, a young player. The good news is we know that he'll be back. So it's just a question of when."
He's had a few pulled muscles since you drafted him, does that kind of thing just happen or can he do anything more to avoid those kinds of things? "Well I'm not aware of the couple that we've had since we've had him. The only thing I know of, that was already existing from his senior year in college. That was a pre-existing condition, it doesn't have anything to do with getting it with us. The calf was his own thing."
Green-Beckham dressed but didn't get in, is that just precautionary or will it be awhile until he's back? "I think that we felt good about him playing but we could have put him in a cycle where he'd be dealing with a sore ankle for a couple weeks. He would have made it through the game tonight but we felt it was better to let him get off of it and be ok for next week. So we don't anticipate that there is an issue."
QB MARCUS MARIOTA**
Overall, how do you think it went? Slow start and then you started putting it together third quarter:"It was a tough start, and I think if we would have had a little different start the score would be a little different. But that stuff is on me, I've got to be able to come back from the get-go. It is what it is, learn from it, it's a positive when you can finish drives and score some points."
Why do you think the clock was more of an issue tonight than it has been? "Even though it wasn't a full stadium, it is loud. Just a communication standpoint I think for me just learning how to handle that and knowing to be better to know what is going on with your clock."
What did you say to Houston when he was standing over you on the sideline, did you guys kind of patch things up later on?"Yeah I didn't say anything really, I just get frustrated taking a sack in that type of situation. He made a good play. We talked about it, and he was really just saying that a former teammate of mine, just wanted to say 'hello' it was nothing more than that."
What do you think some of the reasons were for the early struggles? Were they doing things you hadn't seen before? "No not really, they are just a good defense. They came out fast and the intensity was high. I think if we put together a couple more plays and got a first down on the first series it would have been different. But again, they are a good defense."
You connected with Kendall Wright about three times, do you feel like you are in a good place with him as we near the regular season as far as getting a rhythm. "Yes, I think just like all the receivers, Kendall has done a great job until this point of finding ways to get open. It's really one of those things that it was just his day, doing a good job of opening up. He understands that it is give and take."
Coach isn't committed to you playing or not playing next week, but he did leave open the possibility that you have done enough, do you want to play? Do you want one more game under your belt before you get to the regular season?"Sure, I would love to play. I love the game and with every opportunity, I will make the most of it."
Coach talked about the need to make checks with a defense like this. How far along are you in that progression and how much more work do you have to do? "I felt like it went fairly well, just getting in and out of runs, changing things at the line of scrimmage. Coach did a good job of figuring it out. It's really about just getting to the things we need to be able to get to."
How do you feel about the way you used your mobility tonight, it was really the first time we'd seen it in the preseason."It just kind of depends from game to game. I don't focus on trying to run more or anything, the opportunity just kind of presented itself and I felt that it was the best way to get first downs."
This is another time that you had kind of a slow start but then finished strong, are you just trying to keep playing the game and build off of it with those positive drives?"I think, again, its good to finish on a positive note and just keep playing. But again it is just about making the team better and getting everybody in and to understand. Then we can move on, come out a little faster."
What did you think about the rain coming down in the fourth quarter? "Reminded me of Eugene, Oregon. That is a familiar sight in Oregon, so it got a little chill but that's alright."
CB COTY SENSABAUGH**
On the performance of the Titans Defense:"We started a little slow and then we got into a rhythm. Once a team with that type of firepower gets clicking, it's hard to stop. We didn't start as fast as we wanted to. We just got to check the film out and learn from it. I think we played decent. We have a lot of room for improvement, but we've done a lot of good things, it's nothing to hang our heads on. We have to get back to work tomorrow and get ready for Minnesota."
What were some of the biggest challenges that the Chiefs offense provided tonight? "I would say a lot of different formations, a lot of different looks, a lot of change of strength motions, and we missed some tackles that allowed them to get bigger plays. That was the main thing really."
Do you feel like it was mostly about what the Chiefs offense was doing?"I'm not going to take any credit from them, they made the plays. We could have done some things better, but we have to get back to work tomorrow and watch the film and learn from it."
TE DELANIE WALKER
On returning to the Kansas City area (he played at the University of Central Missouri):"It's always good to come back, especially where I played at Central Missouri. I saw a couple of old friends of mine in the stands that I went to school with. It's a blessing to come from a small school and be able to play in a big stadium like this in front of all of them."
How is the Tennessee offense coming together? "I thought we made some strides, but today we started off slow. That's something we talked about that we don't want to do, but we did that today. Other than that, I think we're coming along. We just got to clean it up and get ready for the regular season."
What needs to be cleaned up?"Just a lot of mental mistakes. I feel like we had a lot of mental mistakes today, some plays we couldn't make. For us to spark our offense we have to make the big plays and we didn't have none of them today. Those are the things we have to do to become a better team."
What did the Chiefs do defensively that slowed down the offense's start?"I don't think they did anything. Our coaches showed us the looks that they were going to be out there playing and that's what they did. It was us. We had mental mistakes. We shot ourselves in the foot."
RB DEXTER McCLUSTER
On being back in Kansas City:"It's always good to come back to Kansas City. There's nothing like the atmosphere here. It's good to know that I made an impact on the community because a lot of the fans still show me a lot of love and respect. I respect that about them."
On the offense: "We have a chance to be a good team. When adversity hits, we definitely have to respond better. But, other than that, I think we handled things right. We've got to learn from our mistakes and continue to build."
What did you see from the Chiefs offense tonight?"They were hitting on all cylinders tonight – running the ball, passing the ball. They did well as a unit. I commend them for that. They're a good team and they showed it."
WR DORIAL GREEN-BECKHAM
As a rookie, what are you working on to try to make this team:"I'm really focusing on trying to get better and focusing on myself and what I need to do to make this team. I'm working on my fundamentals, trying to learn everything and picking up on things from the other guys."
On being out of football last season: "Really, it's not too bad. The year I took off, I continued to work. I continued to get better and it carried over even after the draft because I haven't stopped working. I've been in good shape. The only problem I've had is the wait."
Was it part of the plan for you not to play tonight? "No. [I didn't play] mainly because of my ankle sprain that I had a couple of days ago. Other than that, we were making sure I was protecting myself."
How would you judge your preseason so far? "So far, I would say I've had a good preseason. I got in there and made some plays. I'm just focusing on what I need to do to help my teammates."
WR KENDALL WRIGHT**
On his 30 yard reception in the second quarter:"It was a great throw. He dropped a dime over the head of the defender. It was a good pass, and I was in the right spot for him. That was the main thing. I've got to keep working on that and keep being in the right spots for him. If I'm in the right spots I know he can drop dimes."
Are you enjoying the report you have with QB Marcus Mariota? "Oh yeah. I think it is good, but I think he has it with everybody. When he throws, you've just got to make the play and catch it. As long as we do that, we will keep the chains moving and score points."
Do you feel like penalties held the offense back in the first half?"We had way too many penalties. We started way too slow. It is never good when you have penalties and start that slow. We just have to look at the film, get it together and be ready for next week."
S MICHAEL GRIFFIN
On his thoughts on the performance of the Titans defense:"We are just trying to get through this game. There is not too much preparing for these different teams and not too much film study. We try to watch, but it is the third preseason game. We just try to come out here and it's too early to start panicking. We have this next preseason game coming up Thursday and then the start of the season. We just need to work on the things we need to work on and fix the things we need to fix."
How much of a concern is the team's slow start? "It is not much of a concern. We are not really game planning. We are not trying to exploit weaknesses and things of that nature. It is still preseason. It is still training camp for us. I think we only prepared for them (the Chiefs), maybe one time this week at actual practice. The first day of practice after our last game, we compete against ourselves. It was a short week but there are no excuses. We have just got to play our game. It's still too early to determine. We haven't even gone into a game plan where we break down first down, second down, third down or short yardage. We haven't done that yet. I wouldn't be worried right now."
What can you take out of this game?"You've got so many injuries. If you look at the depth behind Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan. You have got to save those guys and get them ready for the regular season. Right now we don't have too much depth. Even in the secondary, you have me and Da'Norris Searcy. He went down a little bit today and Daimion Stafford came in. Once you get past there, we have Marqueston Huff playing safety and playing corner. It is one of those things right now, we just need to try to get healthy getting ready to go into the season. You normally look at the third preseason game and go more in depth, but this situation we are in right now we need to get as many people healthy as possible so we can go in tO the first game ready to play."