POSTGAME QUOTES - TENNESSEE TITANS vs. ATLANTA FALCONS - OCT. 25, 2015
TITANS HEAD COACH KEN WHISENHUNT**
Well it goes without saying you are disappointed, with the way our guys fought today. I am proud as hell they way they did that. We had multiple situations happen especially with guys going down. Our defense just kept fighting, making plays, two huge stands for us at the end of the game to give us a chance. So, again against one of the better teams in the league, but obviously we got to get over that hump. We had the ball in our hand at the end with a chance to tie it or win it and we can make mistakes there.
(on what happened at the end of the first half with the non-call on the facemask)
I saw what you guys saw on the screen. I mean it was pretty obvious to me but there is nothing you can do about it. So, it was unfortunate. We had the guy open in the end zone, that's where he was going with it.
(on if Zach Mettenberger was hit in the end on interception at end of the first half)
That's what I saw on the replay. He got hit…his facemask.
(on final play if Zach Mettenberger did not see Atlanta defender who made interception)
I can't say he didn't see him, but obviously if he would have put a foot more air under on it or just got it over him, Kendall (Wright) was working on the other side.
(on assessing Zach Mettenberger's performance)
Well, I mean Zach (Mettenberger) hadn't played in a game in a while, regular season game, but he made some good throws early and we didn't catch the football. The one down the field to Justin (Hunter) and he made another good throw on a crossing route. You know, there's always things, throws you want back as a quarterback, but he handled the process. I mean he's working with a third team center that has been in here two days and they were trying to pressure us. So, there were a lot of things going on that I thought he handled well. But you know, as we all saw there is probably a couple of throws he would like to have back.
(on if Falcons increased pressure after loss of center Andy Gallick)
Absolutely, that's what I saw.
(on tough circumstances and how they tried to help newcomer Joe Looney)
Well we did, we tried to get it out quick. It really limits you on what you can do, you know when you are getting a lot of blitz looks and a lot of different guys from different spots. A big part of that is how you communicate your protections and we mixed them up and for the most part, we did a pretty good job. It just limits you as far as you know, to make some throws because you have to keep an extra guy in to help chip and help protect.
(on if it is coming to a time to shake up the receivers)
Well, I mean it was pretty shooken up today. We had guys at different spots, different packages. I mean, you know, it wasn't, everybody got an opportunity to do that.
(on long pass attempt to Justin Hunter early in game where ball was in his hands)
That's what the NFL is all about. You see that, this what you are paid to do is make those plays and he had the opportunity to catch it and unfortunately, he didn't come down with it.
(on timeout taken late in first half
We were at zero on the play clock. So, I didn't want to take a five yard penalty there.**
(on if it feels like "Ground Hog Day" because of all the tough losses)
It is tough, no question about it. You know, every one of them is different. But it hurts because our guys have worked so hard to get there and they are so close. I mean even if you look at what we went through today with the number of injuries, with losing cornerbacks. I mean we had Cody Riggs in there making a play on Julio Jones, going against their best guy so our guys battled and played. It's a great credit to them.
(on going for the win late in the game)
We had it over the 50. We were 10 yards from being in field goal territory and we thought preserve a field goal, touchdown and win this thing. We felt great about it. We worked hard to get there. Everything geared toward that game was geared toward giving us a chance to do that and we got there and unfortunately we didn't finish.
(on RB Antonio Andrews day)
He ran well. He ran physical, did a nice job. That's the number one run defense in the league and we had some good runs on them and Antonio (Andrews) did a nice job.
(on whether CB Coty Sensabaugh had his best performance)
I've said a couple of times about Coty (Sensabaugh) how proud I am for what he's done for us this year and how he's battled and competed. You always pull for guys to have success and Coty is doing a really good job. It's hard to say because you want to go back and watch the actual tape, but I'll say one thing about him, he really competed.
(on how LB Wesley Woodyard has helped the defense since he's been back in the lineup)
He's been a great leader. That's why he's one of our captains. I think he's an unselfish guy. He's really an important part of why we are close in these games because there's a mentality that he's helping foster, along with some of our other guys. It's what's going to put us over the top. He's a valuable part of our team.
(on Titans' third down plays today)
Yeah, there were too many third-and-longs. We had a couple of penalties on second down that put us in third-and-long and we had a couple of opportunities to convert and didn't convert. Some of that goes to protection, too. You have to make sure you're protected.
(on CB Jason McCourty's injury)
I don't know. He came in at halftime and we didn't know if he was going to be able to go. He went back out and tested it and we thought he could and then on the one crossing route, you could see he was laboring a little bit so he came out. So, a lot of it's going to be dependent upon how he responds this week.
(on whether the team is still engaged)
Yeah, I do. I think our guys are still engaged and I think they showed that today. We had a tough game last week and you saw a team that had a lot of resiliency. That's part of this game and I don't think there's anything wrong with saying that we're close. You're right, we haven't won a game yet. We haven't won one of those close games, but that doesn't mean that we're going to stop or that we're not almost there. So, we're going to keep fighting. Like I said, I think we're very close to getting over that hump and if you ask our players, I think they'll tell you the same thing. They believe in that.
(on two year cumulative results)
Yeah, I understand. I do understand. I'll tell you what other thing I understand. I understand we're a different football team than we were last year. We're playing with a lot of young guys, we've got a lot of things going on, but we're a much better football team than we were last year. I'll be happy to debate that with you.
(on how the team is better from first game to now)
Well, we've been in every game that we've been in except last week's game. And even then we had a chance when we were down and come back and…I mean, how do you compare to the first game? We got up 42 to whatever it was. Things went our way and we played good football, but there's been stretches where we've played well, there's been stretches where we made mistakes.
(on wins not happening at home)
It hurts. There's no question it hurts. You want to be a good home football team and we haven't done that. You want it to be different, but we're working to get there.
(on whether WR Justin Hunter needed to work harder on that fourth down play)
I think if he'd caught it then he would've gotten it, but we'll have a chance to review it after we've seen it. I was just looking off the pictures that I saw.
(on being pleased with QB Zach Mettenberger stepping up in the pocket)
I thought at times he did a nice job in there. He was under control, he made good decisions getting the ball out. As with anything, there's always going to be a couple that you want back. We'll look at it and see.
(on low hit on QB Zach Mettenberger)
He seemed to be OK. We hadn't discussed that.
(on C Andy Gallik's stinger)
He's in the protocol.
QB ZACH METTENBERGER**
(on what he saw on the last throw )
It was a poor decision by me. I should have hit Delanie (Walker) underneath. In that situation, all we needed was to get 12 yards to get in field goal range to push the game to overtime. Just a bonehead mistake by me to not fully grasp the situation and take Delanie.
(on being hit in the face during the first big zag)
Yeah, I usually don't throw it five yards to a linebacker. It was just an unfortunate play. It wasn't lucky for us to not get that call, but we did a good job overcoming it and we were still in the game until the end.
(on being back out there and being disappointed about not finishing the job)
I mean, it's tough. Like I said earlier in the week, it doesn't matter who's out there pulling the trigger. You are expected to make plays and win the game. Unfortunately, I wasn't that today. I wasn't the guy our team needed. A couple plays I wish I had back. The only thing we can do is get back in there tomorrow and get prepared for Houston.
(on the frustration of not getting wins after earning the start)
It's frustrating for sure, but ultimately I can't let that faze me. I've got to keep working like I know I do and it will come. It's a team effort and I obviously didn't make the plays to help the team out today.
(on if the big drops hurt momentum)
It's part of the game. We'd love to be perfect every single time we're out there, but no one is. That's just stuff you've got to overcome throughout a game. We did a good job for the most part attempting to, but we couldn't finish there at the end.
(on if this game was theirs for the taking after the interception on the goal line)
Absolutely. I'm pretty sure we aren't going to like what we see on film. There are a lot of opportunities for us to make plays and win the game. We're going to learn from it, especially myself. Hopefully, we can learn and get better for next week.
(on how tough was it to play with center Joe Looney who just joined the team five days ago)
That's just the nature of the business. He did a good job making calls, really getting in on short notice and playing well. It's my job to, in that situation, help him out as much as possible. I think we did a good job of protection-wise getting the ball out. I think we only allowed one sack and really that was a miscommunication on our part.
(on if there was the common thread on third downs after going 1-for-9)
That's inexcusable. That's on me making the critical plays when we need it. It really comes down to execution and preparation. We've definitely got to get better in that statistic if you want to win games.
(on any sense if the Titans will need him again)
We'll see. I'm going to continue to prepare, like I always do. If I get the opportunity again, hopefully I will make the most of it and play better.
DT JURRELL CASEY
(on the Titans defense shutting down the Falcons potent offense for most of the game)
I think we did pretty well. You know, other than one drive where we allowed them to go down and score. You play 60 minutes and we allowed one touchdown to slip past us and it cost us the game. If we do that one thing, make that stop, we come out of the game with a win. That's what we've been harping on all week. One play and making the stop.
It's one of those things where you come out playing 60 minutes of a hard ball game, and one drive allowed them to go down, and score that touchdown. And that just put us in a tough spot, you know. We try to do our best and go out there and keep the game minimized, and give the offense the best field position we can. We have to come up with some ways to get things done.
We know we are a good defense. We are just going out there, and make that one extra play. That's what we need to be doing. That one play that eventually decides the final score. Someday we have to get going and put the ball in the end zone and help our offense out and give them a chance, and help our team out by making those big plays. We are going to keep trying to do that as much as possible. If we shut offenses down, we give ourselves a chance.
(on the late Titans' defensive stop at the end zone, keeping the Titans in the game)
That was a big play by our defense. All we can do is worry about what we do on our side of the ball. They work hard on the offensive side of the ball. They are going to get going and get it rolling. Our team is going to get out and make some plays. And as long as we do that on our side of the ball, those guys are going to get it going by the end of the season, and we're going to get rolling.
LB AVERY WILLIAMSON
(on despite the loss, how the Titans' defense played well, holding the Falcons to 10 points)
People can say what they want, but our defense is playing as one of the best in the league, right now. It is very upsetting, because we should have had that game. I feel like what the defense is doing, the leadership and the tenacity we come with in practice, is carrying over to the games. And it showed today.
It's tough, but we just can't point fingers. What we have to do is work and keep doing what we do on defense, the offense will do what they do on offense, and keep going.
We knew we had time to get the ball back to our offense for their last drive. That's what our job is. We didn't panic. We don't get mad, whatever happens with our offense, or if they (other team) score on us. We just have to go back and keep playing.
DE DaQUAN JONES
(on what the Titans may take away from today's loss, with the play of their defense today)
How good we are on defense, and that we fight every game, and aren't ever, never going to give up, not going to quit. I think today, we found our identity as a defense. So we're going to go out there and play our game. No matter what the outcome is, play our game, just try to go in there and dominate.
It definitely is a building block. It's a huge building block. Just to come out here and do what we did against their offense. They have a great offense. A great bunch of backs, a great quarterback and wide receiver corps. To come out here like we did and get what we got accomplished on defense to carry over to the next game, hopefully.
(on the performance of the Titans Defense)
Offense didn't make plays when we needed to, we had some nice situations to give them some support but we didn't capitalize on it.
(On what it's going to take to achieve better results from the offense)
We have to cancel out penalties, no turnovers, and have to make plays when our number is called.
RB DEXTER McCLUSTER
(On key injuries affecting the outcome of the game)
It's always tough when we have key injuries, but it's a next-guy-up mentality here, he has to get the job done, we're pros and we know what to do.
T TAYLOR LEWAN
(On today's game)
Defense kept us in the game against a great offense, we just have to put points on the board, be smart with the ball and not have turnovers, I think Mettenberger played a great game. I think he stood in the there and threw the ball with confidence
(On when the team will start winning)
We have guys that are winning; we just have to consistently get 11 guys winning at the same time. You can't have mental errors. But we have the guys to win; we just have to do it now.
(On the play of Zach Mettenberger)
That interception is not indicative of his game. Zach Mettenberger is a great quarterback; he can easily start for any of these 32 teams, and can easily start on this team. If anyone is going to bounce back from an interception it will be this guy. When you see someone having a tough one you can either point fingers or pick him up. He is doing a heck of a job.
FALCONS HEAD COACH DAN QUINN
We knew it was going to be a fight coming in and we were ready to go the distance today. I love the way we finished at the halves, (Paul) Worrilow and (Robenson) Therezie having one as well. Those are exactly the types of finishes we want for our defense at the end of the half. We want to close out a game and that's what we want to stand for.
(on being about the ball today )
It certainly was about the ball. It ended up being even today. So for us having two opportunities to get interceptions that was huge for us. We know it makes it hard for us when we are not in the plus, but we ended up being at even, but I love the way that the finish came up at the end.
(on eliminating the penalties and turnovers)
We are disappointed with the turnovers (penalties) especially the one resulting in a long play coming back from Devonta (Freeman) so those are the ones we would like to have over. We will have to take a look and see how many of them were pre-snap and when there was a run and we could have released on the guy earlier for a big cut back play so you have got to start off with a number of them that seem like they were on first-and-10 where it starts and goes into a first-and-20 which makes it really tough to convert. It shows toughness that Devonta finished within the runs. He still had over 100 yards. He just represents all the style and toughness that we are about running the ball.
*(on what explanation was given on the Julio Jones' catch near the end zone) *
We thought we would take a shot there. We thought maybe he reached out, maybe, across the pylon. They really didn't give us an explanation why the ruling on the field (stood).
(on the following plays)
The decision at the end, really we felt like we had two downs and we were going to exercise both of them if we had the opportunity to do so. You look back and they didn't work and you're disappointed but we didn't execute them like we are capable of. I don't regret the decision to go for them and I have the belief and trust in the guys.
(on the status of injured Falcons)
Not yet, I know William (Moore) had a strain in his groin and Hank (Leonard Hankerson) had a strain in his hamstring, so when we get back tomorrow we'll have a better update on those two. Other than those two, I think it's great to see (Mike) Person back and (Justin) Durant back.
*(on the too many men on the field call)
I think what happened, we were in a punt return so we had one guy in sub-form, so it was for sure an error on our part. You know, we just had too many men it was a transition from defense to a special teams play and didn't execute, as we should. No excuse at all for it and one we just want to finish and do right longer. That was a real example of where we did not do that. So we ended up having to go with a defensive play to come back and it was a good answer by the defense for sure.
(on the recent struggles of the passing game)
You'll have to go back and take a look. Is there something that stood out, one thing over another? But at our best it's the runs, the keepers and the play actions that go with it so we'll have to go back and take a look and see if there are things that we can do better for sure. Honestly that's our aim every week to see how much we can get better this week. We had a good week of practice. We prepared well and as it came in for so many errors to take place, that was disappointing. But we'll go right back to it again tomorrow.
(on Robenson Therezie's game-clinching interception and character)
I think the main thing is we want to let the players know how much we trust in them and believe in them and it's our job to take them as far as they can possibly go. And we certainly had that respect and we think he has a terrific future ahead of him so it was a great play exactly when we needed it and we were excited for him.
(on the Falcons' pass rush)
Well I thought there was some improvement for sure. It's absolutely an area of emphasis for us. We'll be at our best when our coverage and our pass rush work hand-in-hand. I think we still have a long way to go in that neighborhood to be at our best and it's something that we'll continue to work at really hard.
(on knowing the Titans would be a tough opponent)
Well I think just knowing the style, number one, of their defense and some of the players we know and evaluate through the course of the week. I think going into the game they had the number-one ranked defense against the pass. They got some really good future rushers they know how to use. I just got a sense for it, you know every once in awhile. They were disappointed in how they played last week in and you know that fight is going to be there. So granted, you never want your readiness dictated by another team, but we knew the fight was going to be there and we have to go along way when we're ready to do that.
(on the penalty that brought the interception return out of field goal range)
We would've, yeah, if we wouldn't have missed a block. You know, we never want to go back toward the ball, so that's part of our judge of doing right longer so those kinds of penalties those are ones that we can correct for sure ahead of us.
(On if he is worried about Matt Ryan)
I'm not. I believe in Matt (Ryan) and I'm not worried.
QB MATT RYAN
(on the team's survival)
You know in this league, any time you come away with a win, that's the objective. Today was a hard fought game for us and we kept battling the entire time. We would have liked to do some things differently, some things better, but at the end of the day a win is a win. When you go on the road in this league and get it done, that's rewarding.
(on what happened on the interception in the end zone)
Just a situation on fourth down, where you have to take a shot into the end zone. My first read on the outside wasn't there, so I went back and tried to make a different throw to Jacob Tamme. I obviously would have liked to make a better throw, but it's one of those situations on a fourth down, you've got to give it a chance.
(on Davonta Freeman's play)
I think Davonta has played awesome, he really has, and he played awesome again today. His confidence is growing every week, and I think our offensive line's confidence is growing every week. I think they've done a great job blocking for him, and again, I think he had another 100 yard rushing game today. I'm really proud of him and happy with the way he's playing.
(on Roddy White saying the team has been in a funk offensively)
Obviously when you don't score, and you're 33% or something like that on third downs, or maybe a bit higher, and then one of three when we're in the red zone, to me, to get out of those things and score more points you have to convert more third downs. When we have opportunities in the red zone, we have to score touchdowns. We had a chance on fourth down, I think, maybe in the first half when we went for it around mid-field and we didn't get it done. We've got to convert there to get more points. Obviously when we got the ball on the one yard line we've got to get it in.
(on his screen pass to Devonta Freeman)
I made a poor play. Give credit to them, they did a good job on the screen, I've just got to find a lane to get it to Devonta.
(on if he was surprised that no one was open on the fourth and one play action fake)
Obviously, you'd like to have somebody wide open in that fourth down situation. Credit to them, they defended it well, it was a good call. They defended it well, and we didn't get the job done.
(on if the offensive funk can be attributed to penalties)
There's a lot of reasons why you get off schedule, some of them are penalties, some of it is lack of execution, and we've got to clean it up across the board. Too many penalties, turnovers, those kinds of things, not executing on third down. Those are things I feel we can be better at and hopefully we will be moving forward.
(on how Davonte Freeman's weekly preparation leads to his success)
I think he's consistent day to day since he's gotten here. He practices hard, he really does, and he has practiced hard since the first day I met him. That's kind of the guy that he's been since day one, and I think he's improved because of that. I think he's going to be a great player for us for a really long time.
(on how Nick Williams stepped up and got first downs)
Yeah, it's huge. In those kinds of situations, when you have guys go down, you have to have that next man up mentality and Nick Williams came in and made a couple huge plays for us in this game. He's been a guy that's been reliable for us the entire year and has done a great job.
(on taking a chance on third and long to Julio Jones)
He's a guy that when they send everybody, obviously, he's going to be singled up. I don't care who it is in this league, when he's singled up, I feel like that's an advantage for us because he is such a great player. When you can just put the ball in his vicinity he seems to make a play every time. He's a stud, and he's playing great.
S ROBENSON THEREZIE
(on what he saw on his fourth quarter interception)
I was just sticking to the quarterback. We had a zone pressure going on and I know he had to get it out real quick. I just read the quarterback and I was just right there.
(on what he will do with the ball from the interception)
I'll keep it. This is my second Tennessee ball. I guess I am just going to keep it.
(on how his interception against the Titans in the preseason helped him make the team)
It was big. It just shows the character of the player that I want to be and being a pro. It just shows that to the coaches. They do trust me now to be loose in situations. I feel good.
(on intercepting Zach Mettenberger in the preseason and now in the regular season)
We just stuck to our fundamentals. We had a zone pressure on and I was reading the quarterback. I was just in my zone and he threw it right there. We had a little pressure on him and he had to get it out quick. I was just disciplined.
TE JACOB TAMME
(on the interception in the end zone late in the fourth quarter)
I couldn't get to where I wanted to get to on the route. When Matt [Ryan] turned back and threw it I was trying to make a play for him. I thought I had it. The way the ball was tipped I was staying with it and I thought I was going to catch it. I felt like I was getting ready to get it and the guy dove over the top of me. I was trying to get back to it and he got it.
(on if the offense felt out of synch today)
Yes, but not because we weren't moving the ball. We had some penalties and then a couple of drives stalled out again. The last two weeks we have had a bunch of yards. Today we did some good things, but it doesn't really matter if you don't take it down and score. We just have to get better and not hurt ourselves with the penalties and at the same time do a better job of converting on third downs and keeping drives going.
WR JULIO JONES
(on running back Devonta Freeman and blocking downfield as a receiver)
I do whatever it takes. Everybody else in our room is going to do the same thing. Devonta [Freeman] is doing a great job for us running the ball, and Tevin Coleman as well when he gets his snaps. They run the ball very well for us.
(on the slow offensive day)
We are just in a funk. We have to get out of it. We have to keep battling and keep going and keep trying to get better and fix these things. We had a great week of practice and we got to the game and we couldn't sustain drives. We just have to continue to keep practicing and fix us. That is the main thing. We just have to fix us and everything else will take care of itself.
RB DEVONTA FREEMAN
(on his rushing performance)
I feel good, but I want to get better. I want to always get better and grow. Starting tomorrow I am just going to figure out how I can get better and how I can grow.
(on if he was surprised the Titans hung around and ultimately had a chance at the end)
A loss is a loss, and a win is a win. In the NFL you aren't going to blow everybody out. It is going to come down to the end every game. They did a great job.