Postgame Quotes: Titans vs. Eagles

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TITANS HEAD COACH KEN WHISENHUNT**

Opening remarks:

"Okay, obviously a tough day for us on a lot of fronts. It didn't go the way we wanted it to. I thought we fought back in the second quarter after a terrible start and tried to make a game of it, but ultimately, two turnovers in the second half hurt us and that was frustrating. We had a number of injuries. I can tell you the ones that I know. [LT] Taylor Lewan's got an ankle. [C Brian] Schwenke's got a knee. [OLB] Kamerion [Wimbley] has got a hamstring. [S Michael] Griff[in] has got a shoulder. And we have two backs – [RB] Dexter [McCluster] and [RB] Bishop [Sankey] that are both being evaluated for a possible concussion. And I'm sure we've got a few others in there because I know we had a lot of guys nicked up today."

On whether the injuries were a result of a short week:

"I don't know. You know, you hear a lot of things like that, but I don't know.

On the Eagles' opening kickoff return for a touchdown:

"Well I mean, when you're on the road in a place like this against a team that will score some points, it's not the way you want to start the game off. So it's tough. But to get down 17-0, I thought we made a good recovery in the second quarter. But that doesn't do you good if you can't finish.

On whether the lanes being sloppy contributed to the first Tennessee fumble of the game:

"Yeah. We had a guy that was supposed to be outside in the coverage that got boxed in and he just missed it."

On the plays that hurt the team:

"Well I think one of the ones that hurt was when [S] Daimion [Stafford] got an interception and then we fumble the next play. That was the one that really hurt us the most. So, give them credit. They're a good football team and they make plays. So it's a tough place to play, come in here and play, and we didn't get the job done."

On how much the run game would have helped to take some pressure off QB Zach Mettenberger:

"Well it would have been good, but you know, you have to convert some third downs, which we didn't do, in order to do that. We mixed the run in during the course of the game. We had limited effectiveness with it. We fumbled the one time when Bishop did it. We missed some third downs. To me, that's the way you create your successes in the running game is when you convert some third downs."

On whether Mettenberger's five sacks can be attributed to him holding the ball too long or the offensive line:

"Well you know, probably both I would say. At some point, you got to hold the football, especially when you're third-and-12 or third-and-11, if you want to have a legitimate chance to get those. And that's our fault. We had some penalties that put us in long situations with some of the things that we have been fighting this year and that hurts you. Obviously this is a pressure team. They bring it after you. I thought we did okay early picking it up, but we obviously had a period where we didn't do well."

On whether he would have preferred Schwenke to try to catch the ball and run with it or just bat it down:

"Well obviously you don't want him to fumble. He's not a ball carrier. So running with the football and fumbling it is certainly not a good thing. I don't have a problem with – sometimes you just react when the ball is right there in front of you and catch it. But we can't fumble the football."

On whether he was disappointed that the team wasn't able to hold Eagles RB LeSean McCoy in check:

"Well I mean of course when you're an opponent. A guy runs for some yardage, you're always disappointed. He's a good back. I think I said that earlier in the week. So give them credit, they had success with their plan."

On whether he thought the Schwenke fumble was going to be overturned:

"I thought his elbow was down, but I'm 0-for-whatever this year. Obviously it wasn't a challenge flag there, but we haven't gotten one of those calls go our way the whole year it seems like."

On the team's inability to respond quickly enough to the Eagles' fast start:

"I would say that the second quarter, that was a little bit of a response, wasn't it? So there was a response. It just wasn't as quickly maybe, if that's what you're referring to. I don't know. I said it was tough that we didn't start out good, but we did respond in the second quarter. I think we had 17 points and moved the ball down the field, so it wasn't a complete shutout. But obviously when you go into a place like this against an offense like Philadelphia has, those hurt you early when you do that."

On the comfort level of WR Justin Hunter on the field:

"Justin made some plays for us today. There were some other ones maybe he could have made the plays on that he didn't, but certainly I think we're all trying to get better as a team and I have to look at it and see from the tape."

On the Titans' sloppy tackling today:

"We were sloppy tackling, which is another thing that was unfortunate, but not being in pads is not an excuse for not being better tackling. Some of it you have to give them credit for – they're good players. But obviously we have to be able to tackle better than that."

On the composure of Mettemberger when the team was down 17-0:

"Well I don't think much fazes Zach from that standpoint. I think he's obviously, from what he's done in college and playing in the SEC, he's prepared for that. As far as handling that, I think he did a good job. As far as his play for the entire day I'd have to look at it and see it on tape. I know from talking with him on the sideline, because we talk about plays and what we're trying to do, and the way he handles himself in the huddle, for a young quarterback he's learning, he's growing and he's doing a good job with that."

On whether the team made progress today or if it was a setback:

"I have to look at it on tape and see. I mean it's a tough loss. Emotional. I don't want to say something that might not be accurate."

On whether he's pleased with TE Delanie Walker's play after returning from injury:

"Yeah.[TE] Delanie [Walker] is a good football player. It obviously [was] disappointing that we didn't have him last week and it's good to have him back, no question. He made some big plays for us today."

On CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson being inactive today:

"He was just really a strategic thing. I shouldn't say strategic. It was just more of a matchup than anything else. With this offense being a spacing offense, that was really the thought behind that."

On how worried he is about Lewan's injury:

"We got strains everywhere. We got guys banged up all over the place. So I really won't know more about that until the next day or two."

On his message to the team coming off the loss:

"It's hard. This is football. It's not easy. I think what they have to understand, what we all have to understand, is we're working. Guys are working hard. They want to win. And that I respect, there was no quit in them. We got to look at the tape and we got to correct some of the mistakes that we did. Obviously tackling was one of them. We got to do better on third down. We can't turn the football over. Those are all products of why we sit on the losing end of it today and they are the things we have to do better."

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TITANS QB ZACH METTENBERGER**

On whether the Eagles did anything special defensively:

"No, everything they did we expected. They have some dudes up front with [LB Connor Barwin] and [LB Trent Cole] and we just weren't able to protect the ball as we wanted to and I have to get the ball out of my hand quicker in some instances."

On whether he needed some more smaller completion plays—like four, five, or six yards— rather than longer yard plays:

"We need more points, more first downs. I don't know if a two or three yard gain here or there is going to help. Maybe, but we just have to execute better and be more efficient offensively."

On whether he is frustrated with this game being a setback after seeing so many positives on Monday night:

"Obviously we did a lot of good things. At times we moved the ball well, but once again we showed turnovers really hurt you and we have to continue to work on securing the ball better and not throwing it to the other team."

On whether it was a strain on the entire team being down 17-0 so quickly:

"Not really a strain at all. We came out really flat and didn't get things going. It took a lucky play to turn us around and get us going. We have to sustain that and start the second half a little bit better."

On what he sensed made the team flat:

"Three three-and-outs is usually flat."

On whether the mindset of the team was flat:

"No, the mindset was there. We were all focused and ready to go. Just things weren't going our way."

On the impact of having TE Delanie Walker back:

"What were his stats?"

On Walker's five-catch, 155-yard performance:

"That answers your question there."

On the impact of Walker coverage-wise:

"A lot of times you have a stud receiver and they double that stud receiver on the outside. When you have a stud tight end, they have to double him on the inside and that creates some matchups out wide. So having [Delanie Walker] on our side really helps and obviously he showed that today."

On what failed to click when the team had momentum going in the second half but couldn't sustain it:

"A fumble. We had a turnover there that doesn't help. Then we're down however many points there and we're kind of going and going and the [offensive pass interference] on [S] Nate [Allen] didn't help. If we scored there then come back and score again, we're down 10 points instead of 17. Our opportunities are there, we just have to play better. We can't turn the ball over and we can't have penalties.

On whether he felt under the gun the whole game with getting hit a lot, sacked five times, and had to get rid of the ball a lot of times:

"That's part of it when you play a good defensive front like they have. That's a culmination of things. I have to get the ball out of my hand quicker and up front just handling the games and twists that they run. We're going to watch this film and get better from it."

On how he keeps a positive mindset going down the stretch:

"Obviously it's not looking really good for us for playoffs. Really it's about pride. There's a lot of pride in that room. We've got a lot of good guys in this locker room. The work is there. The extra time putting in is there. We can't seem to get it all going at once. We're just trying to play for keeps really, as corny as that sounds."

On whether he is worried about the injuries the team has suffered, especially with LT Taylor Lewan and C Brian Schwenke:

"When you have two starting linemen go down and they're not getting up, that's tough. Hopefully they'll be fine and we've got big guys that can come in with [C/G Chris] Spencer and [T Byron] Stingily. Hopefully we'll get them back as soon as possible."

On Schwenke's attempt to make a catch:

"He has to have better ball security."

On whether he would prefer Schwenke to catch the ball or if he would rather have a guy knock it down:

"He almost got the first down. If he can catch it and make the first down then by all means do it. If it's not a fumble there and we're down deep in their territory, it might be a different game."

On whether he thought the pass might be picked:

"Absolutely not. I thought it was a great throw. It felt good. The guy got an inch higher than I thought he could. Luckily it bounced away because we needed it to. You need those in this game. You're not going to be perfect all the time and you need the ball to bounce your way sometimes."

On whether going down 17-0 killed the chance to be balanced on offense:

"Not really. We got back in the game there. For a moment it felt like we were going to be able to come back and take the lead. Just inopportune penalties and turnovers really killed those chances."

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TITANS TE DELANIE WALKER**

On the Titans' struggles:

"I really don't know what the struggles were. We just have to watch film. That's something I can't determine just by playing in the game. I can only do my job. I don't really know what was happening on the back end, but when we start doing the right assignments that our coaches were giving us on the sidelines, that's when you can see the plays being made."

On his 155-yard performance:

"Yea, I was told I had 155 yards and 5 catches. With me coming back after missing the Ravens game, I was a little fresh. Me and [QB] Zach [Mettenberger] were really connecting with each other. He was seeing the coverage well and I was running some good routes. My job is to make the quarterback look good, and I think that's what I did today."

On his concerns playing after a concussion:

"I'm playing a game. When I talked to the doctor before he cleared me, he said to go out there and not play like you just had a concussion. Play like you never had one, so I was playing like I never had one."

On the offense's multiple three-and-outs to start the game:

"It was a big killer. It stopped our momentum and gave them a lot of momentum. Their crowd was into it, they were jumping around very excited. When you get that type of momentum at your home field, it can go a long way, which it did today. Philly is a great team. You can't take anything away from them. When you give them two touchdowns early in the game, that's a hard spread to get back into."

On whether the team has taken a step back with today's loss:

"I don't want to say we took a step back. I saw a lot of guys out there that were fighting, but it just hasn't been our year. With the calls and everything that's been happening with losing these games, I really can't say what it is. I just feel like it's not our year this year. The ups and downs we are having are just incredible."

On the team's struggles in the run game:

"I'm just a player, I'm not a coach. Like I told you, we just have to watch film this week and see what really happened. I can only watch what I'm doing, but with the eye in the sky, we watch film and we can see what it is. We just have to clean that stuff up. It's a lot of missed assignments and not knowing who to block when we get different looks. We just have to figure out what we really want to do here and who really wants to play."

On his individual performance today:

"I'm really not happy we lost the game. Everybody said I had a big game even though we lost. It was a good day, just to have a concussion and come back to do what I did. But I'm not really happy about it. You all will talk about it but no one else cares because we lost the game."

On QB Zach Mettenberger's performance:

"I think Zach is a very good quarterback. He's just going to get better as he keeps playing. I'm excited to see how he's going to train this offseason, and how he's going to come back and try to be the leader for this team. I think it's going to work out fine for him. He's got great poise and he sits in the pocket. He's not scared. When you're a young quarterback and you're showing that early, he's got signs of being something great. When we can establish a run game, they're not going to be able to put all of that pressure on Zach, and he can sit in there and make the throws he needs to make."

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TITANS T TAYLOR LEWAN**

On the team's performance:

"We just have to be better. There's really nothing else I can say. We just have to be better. I'm real upset by the way I played today, and I know a lot of guys are too. With five games left, we have to make some strides. We have to start doing some stuff."

On the feeling of being on a team that has only two wins and nine losses:

"At this point to me, records don't matter. If I listen to the record, I'm going to be in a pretty bad mood. I'm trying to focus on what we can do to improve and get better as a team and individuals. What else do you want to do? You just have to keep going. There are five games left. It's my job to protect the quarterback, and I didn't do that as well as I should have today. I have to play better. It's just tough."

TITANS DL JURRELL CASEY

On today's performance:

"It's a repeat of every week it seems. It comes down to a lot of missed tackles, stopping the catch, making the tackle after the catch, things like that were killing us today. They were able to get a lot of YAC [yards after catch] today."

On what helped the Eagles get off to a fast start:

"On that first drive, when they first came down and drove down, it's about those missed tackles and missed hits. You cannot let them hit big plays and on that first drive alone they hit about two or three big plays, chunking off 30 and 40 yards a play. You just cannot let them do that."

On the Eagles run offense versus the Titans run defense:

"It's very frustrating. It is something that we harp on week in and week out trying to stop the run. I feel we have the guys in this room to stop it and it all comes down to missed tackles and gap fits, something that we should all know how to do and should do. But at the end of the day, it is football and they get the upper hand here and there but we still have to do a better job staying in our gaps."

On being able to rebound from the Titans fifth-straight loss:

"It's never hard to come to work. This is what we do and it is what we love to do. We are going to continue to come and continue to fight. No one said we would have a perfect season this year. We have to continue going out there and continue improving."

On the pace of the Eagles offense:

"Honestly today, their pace was not that fast. I thought we had a nice rotation going on our side of the ball that kept us nice and fresh out there but it came down to individual players trying to make a play."

Were you expecting a faster pace then:

"Yes, especially with me coming from USC and him being at Oregon for my last three years of playing there. I think they are a little bit slower than what I saw while he was there. It was a nice pace for me honestly."

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TITANS S DAIMION STAFFORD**

On if it's deflating to give up a 107-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on the opening kick:

"That's not good. I'm a key special teams guy and I take that to heart. That's not us. That's not what we do and that cannot happen."

On being down 17-0 on the road to a good football team:

"We get paid just like they get paid. They're a good football team and we are also a good football team, beside the record. We have to start fast and not let the first play of the game be a touchdown."

On if this is a lesson for a young Titans team:

"Everything is a learning lesson. But you cannot learn all the time, you have to go out there and win. You cannot make everything a learning lesson."

On how frustrating the season get with each loss:

"It's bad period. Losing is bad. Nobody likes to lose, no matter if it's by a 100 points or just one point, a loss is a loss and it hurts."

On what needs to happen in order for the Titans to win their next game:

"We just have to execute. We cannot let big plays happen and that's it."

On his interception:

"[Titans S] George [Wilson] did a good job getting his hands on the wide receiver or tight end, whoever it was. Then [Eagles QB Mark] Sanchez mistimed the throw and overthrew it. Then I just came down and got it.

On his progress in the Titans defensive system:

"I am just trying to get better. I go in there every week and work. I listen a lot to the older guys and pay attention in meetings, and just try to stay one step ahead of the offense."

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