Postgame Quotes: Titans vs. Vikings



(opening statement)

It's a tale of two halves for our team today, and really I thought our defense was pretty sound for the whole game. The objective was to stop Adrian Peterson and I think they did that, and he's a great back. The turnovers were catastrophic. I've never had a game where you have one turnover, but two for scores and we still felt like we had a chance to win. Even as doomed as it looked, we still feel like we had a chance to win. Again, our defense gave us a chance.

(on the last time the team lost when they didn't give up an offensive touchdown)

It was in Pittsburgh. Same thing, we had four turnovers for touchdowns.

(on if the team's response was upsetting in the second half)

I think what started for me was that third-and-one, we ran a power load play with Derrick Henry, and that's a play that we formally believe we should be getting a minimum of a yard and we didn't. That's something when we start making those first downs on those plays and we can get up to the line of scrimmage and go get ready for the next first down call, then… that was what was disappointing to me, we didn't convert that third-and-one and then it just felt like a medley of turnovers play after play. It was hard to get into any rhythm, we just couldn't get in any rhythm, and obviously the turnovers.

(on what should have played out differently with the interception in Marcus Mariota's mind)

We should have had an end that was not part of the picture. The one that pressured him into throwing it quick, he should have been taken out of the play. Harry Douglas was the wide out, he has a job there to make sure Marcus has an edge, and that did not happen.

(on what happened during the exchange between Marcus Mariota and DeMarco Murray)

It was again, I don't blame either of those guys, it is what it is. He tried to pull it, Marcus (Mariota) tried to pull it and DeMarco (Murray) was hanging onto it there a little too long, and obviously that's the result you get. Again that's something that we've done a lot of ball handling, and unfortunately it happened in a home opener.

(on the interception with the end was he supposed to be on the side)

No, it's called collapse, you're supposed to collapse to one side of the line of scrimmage, so everything gets squeezed down as Marcus (Mariota) breaks contain. We did not get that job done, we did not squeeze that end of the line of scrimmage down. (Everson) Griffin came straight up the field, which forced Marcus to get rid of it quick, I give him credit, but we can execute a play better. That was not a well-executed play.

(on Marcus Mariota's performance before the turnovers)

I thought he played pretty well. He made good runs, made some good decisions when we were doing some of the zone reads, made some third downs. I think we were five for eight in the first half for third downs, we had time of possession for 17 minutes, we no-huddled down for a touchdown. I thought he was very efficient, very efficient. The turnovers, nobody looks good on turnovers.

(on why he decided to go for two-point conversion at the end of the game)

It's easy to look at it afterwards, but I thought momentum and where they were defensively, I thought we had a little bit on their heels. We had to go for two no matter what, that time or the next time, it's irrelevant, we had to go for two to tie the score. I just thought we had them winded, but that was the reason for it.

(on if it would have been a guaranteed point if they kicked)

If I had to do it over again, I'd kick the extra point, yes.

(on the chunk plays today)

We took a sack on one that I know of. A couple coverages took away the chunk play we were trying to hit. We tried to get to it in a huddle, and again coverage really dictated getting out of it. A little bit of them, but some of us in the protection.

(on the message to the team during the break)

Finish, finish this game. That's one thing we failed to do last year. We would have leads, even going into the fourth quarter we've had leads, but we have failed to finish the game. I thought our defense responded, but offensively I'll have to look at the tape and see why the turnovers occurred. I kind of have an idea of why they did. Take those plays away I'd like to see the same story every week. With turnovers, take them away and there's a chance.

(on how important it is moving forward to have a game with fewer possessions)

I wish we, obviously, if we had played the second half like we played the first half we wouldn't be having this conversation. We ran the same plays, we threw a pick on one. We don't on five out the other times we run the same out of the pocket and we don't have a problem, it was a matter of having turnovers in the second half and we didn't create any turnovers. We have to create turnovers.

(on the team's morale)

It's one game. Our guys are very positive in that room. They are disappointed with the outcome obviously. They felt very good going into the game, but they know what we did to lose the game. It's pretty evident, I don't have to stand up in front of them and say three turnovers, two scores, I don't know if you're ever not going to lose a game doing that.

(on if Vikings defense demanded more from Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray)

They are very good backs, they are very good receivers as you noticed. Even Derrick's big run, that was a big play, and he actually wasn't running the right route, he was a little slow out of the backfield and created a big play out of it. When the ball is in their hands, they're a threat.

(on what can be improved)

There's always good and there's always something you can get better at, every game that I've ever been involved with in my NFL career. We call it the good, the bad and even sometimes the ugly. I don't know a lot of that until after I create the film and watch it a second and third time on what we need to do better, but obviously the rush was there. I thought the coverage was there. We had guys blanketed on the receivers and we had tight coverage, tight coverage, and they made a lot of plays.

(on Marcus Mariota's reaction on the sideline)

He's very competitive and as long as he's behind the wheel, we've got a chance. Regardless of the score, regardless of what we've done prior to the next series, he always gives us a chance and I think he believes that. I know I do and I know our team does.

(on the significance of playing on 9/11)

It was a very emotional game, especially with the military here in town and at our game, I know our players… we had a long talk about it last night at our team meeting, the significance of this game, the significance of the day, how many people have fought and died for this country that day. It was emotional, it was an emotional day I thought.



(on what happened on the intercepted pass for a touchdown)

That's just a case of me trying to do too much. They had the right play call on defense. You know, again I probably should have just thrown the ball away, moved on to the next play. Something I can learn from.

(on the frustration after the game had started so well)

It's frustrating. It's something we can learn from. We just kind of beat ourselves today. You know, we are moving the ball efficiently. We end up giving them 14 points and you can't do that.

(on if it feels worse in a game where you beat yourselves)

Absolutely, because we are moving the ball, the defense is playing great and we just kind of gave them the game. You know that's on me and I can do a better job with it.

(on the fumble on the exchange with DeMarco Murray)

It was a miscommunication on my part, again a reaction on what was going on. I was trying to do too much instead of just letting the play develop and it is something we can correct and do better.

(on if he was wanting to take ball back on fumble play)

I wanted to take it. Again, in that situation, may give him the ball and let him run with it, kind of get the drive going.

(on how he felt about his performance prior to the turnovers)

All right, I mean we were moving the ball. The first three drives we weren't able to score points, but then again we were being efficient. It was just those turnovers that hurt us today.

(on if he thought there was psychological effect after the interception return)

Not at all, guys believe in each other and we continue to play. There is no matter what the score is. We all believe in each other and believe in this team and will continue to fight, no matter what the score.

(on his and DeMarco Murray's turnovers)

You know, it's part of it. We've just got to bounce back. It's a long season. We could obviously be better with the football. That's part of it. We are going to learn from our mistakes and move forward.

(on the lack of downfield chances)

The Vikings did a good job of playing coverage downfield. It wasn't anything we didn't plan, they just did a good job of covering. We were moving the ball underneath, getting some first downs just by taking what they gave us. Again, those turnovers really hurt.

(on the overall protection from offensive line)

They did a great job. For us if we can continue to block well up front, we will be a good football team.

(on how important it is to play from ahead)

I mean time of possession is important. If you can limit the amount of opportunities their offense can score, it gives you a better chance to win the game. So yeah, I mean if we can control time of possession, get first downs, build rhythm it gives us a better chance to win the game.

(on if he got the look he wanted on the two-point conversion attempt)

Again, they did a good job of covering it. I just tried to make a play, give the guy a chance. I thought if I sneak it in to DeMarco he could fall in. But again, they just had a good plan.

(on DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry's receptions out of the backfield)

They are very complete players. It makes us dynamic, to use them in our pass game. When those guys get the ball in their hands, they are tough to tackle and every opportunity we have to get them the football it will help us as an offense.

(on being comfortable in the no-huddle offense on the touchdown drive)

It's all about communication whether you're huddling or no huddling. If you can communicate with the entire group and everybody is on the same page, you give yourself a better chance of moving the football. Hats off again to the guys up front, there were a lot of different protection calls and different things on that drive that they handled up front and did a good job of it.



(on how getting behind after some turnovers changed the offensive plans for the Titans)

At the beginning of the game, I felt like we had the calls, and we were moving the ball well. Once you have some turnovers that lead to touchdowns, it puts you in a certain situation and you've got to try to catch up. You've got to try to get points on the board, so we could get back to running things smoothly. We had three turnovers, and that kind of set us back a little bit.

(on keeping positive after an opening week loss)

You said it. It's only game one. If you look at the first half, I feel like we played great. The offense did, the defense did. Moved the ball very well. The second half, they got the momentum coming off with that kickoff return. I think that gave them a little bit of momentum, and again, we made mistakes where we turned the ball over on the offensive side. I really don't feel like they did anything to stop us. I feel like we were the ones who made the mistakes. It's worse on us for making mistakes, but then, it is the first game and I feel like we'll overcome this.



(on the game versus the Vikings)

Man, it was one of the old school-type games out there. Just that they had a big bruiser there in number 28, a Hall of Famer in my eyes, and I love the way he runs. I love what he brings to the game with his running style. For us to maintain and really get after him … We didn't get the sacks, obviously, but we got the pressure when needed and we got off the field. And that's the most important thing. But at the end of the day, we didn't get the W. So we've got to go fix what we need to fix, start creating more turnovers, and try to help the offense get more opportunities. That's all we can ask for.

(on the Titans defense playing so well, despite the loss)

Definitely frustrating. Definitely not what we expected. We had high expectations of coming into this locker room with a victory. But it's the NFL. Crazy stuff happens. That's what this NFL is all about. There is a lot of adversity that you have to face throughout the game. It's back-and-forth, and back-and-forth. And when they had a turnover, we just couldn't catch up. We have to learn from it and get ready for Detroit.


(on how the Titans overcome feelings of the past)

You keep on going, you keep on practicing. Keep on trying to clean up the mistakes and keeping the ball off the ground. And coming up with ways to put the ball in our offense's hands on this side of the ball. And keep trying to develop those offensive plays, and if we can get that done, we'll win a lot of games. We didn't do the job of creating turnovers and putting the offense in a better position to win the game. So at the end of the day, it is an incomplete job.



(on how the Titans defense played today)

I thought we played as solid as we could, but we just have to get turnovers. That's the only thing that we didn't do. That can change a game. Just like the Vikings, had three on defense. I feel like if we had of gotten some turnovers, it could have changed the outcome.

(on what happened in the second half after the Titans led at halftime)

We told ourselves that we had another half to play, and we knew we couldn't give up any touchdowns, because we had to give our offense the ball back as much as possible. We just came out there and played solid, and we knew what we had to do. They made a couple of defensive plays, and scored, but overall, I feel like we played pretty solid. But as I said, our defense has to create and get turnovers.


(on what stopped the Titans offense)

You know, we just hurt ourselves moving the ball on them. A lot of small mistakes that we really didn't even make in preseason. Just some things that should be an easy fix. Some things that we should get back to watching tape and see the dumb mistakes, something happened, a little something here and there. And it'll be something that we could easily fix for next week.

(on what Titans QB Marcus Mariota says in the huddle after a turnover)

He's a tough guy. He says he's going to come back. He's not going to quit on us and he's going to keep working hard. That's the type of guy you want at quarterback. Marcus is the exact guy that's capable. I think he's one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, and can be. A couple of things didn't roll his way and he's not the kind of guy who will beat himself up. He'll just be back next week and playing better.

(on the loss today)

It hurts, but a lot of it is coming and watching the tape tomorrow, and seeing the little things we need to fix. There are going to be things that did go well. We were moving the ball on them. We just have to finish our drives. When we move it down in the red zone, we can't end up with field goals or no points. We have to push it down there and get seven. The defense played fantastic. They went out there and did exactly what we had asked them to do. We offensively have to play a little better and we'll all be on top.



(on what it was like in the Titans' huddle after falling behind)

Everyone was extremely positive, especially with No. 8 back there. He has extreme confidence in himself and the rest of the team. We never put our heads down, and we always thought that we had a chance of getting back in the game. Everybody was very positive.

(on what needs to happen to improve the Titans' offensive performance)

We just have to do a better job of moving the ball and put some points on the board. When you have that many turnovers, you are rarely going to win the game. So that's what we have to correct. That's obvious. Everyone knows that. We just have to go back to the drawing board, go back to work on Monday, and just fix our mistakes.


(opening statement)

It's good to win today. I thought there's a lot of things we need to clean up and get better at, but it was good to win. We got change of momentum in the second half—I thought part of with the kickoff return—and obviously we made some plays defensively. They did a nice job at the beginning of the game keeping us off balance and controlling the clock and field position. But like I told our team at halftime, it shows the resiliency of this football team. They have been through a whole lot in the last 15 days, and the last couple of years, so we've got some good fighters in this crew.

(on the emphasis of getting more turnovers)

If we don't turn the ball over and you get turnovers on defense, then you typically win. Especially if you score on defense, you win. For us to get three and not turn the ball over, I think that gives you great opportunity to win. Our guys probably should have had four but had a bad penalty at the end of the ball game. Our guys keep battling and keep going and I think they are starting to feel comfortable in the things we are doing defensively.

(on the best defensive things about the second half)

They had us off balance. They were doing a lot of shifting, motions, line up here, run guys in, run guys out, run guys in the flat, run guys the other way. You know, you prepare for it but it's unnerving a little bit. But the good thing is I probably settled down a little bit on defense on some of the calls I made and said we're going to play our normal stuff and going to go. They were excited, I was excited and we were all going to try to have great calls. It was more about hey, let's do what we do and let's go play, and that's kind of what we did in the second half. On that particular play you were talking about, we had great pressure and I thought Eric (Kendricks) made a great play. He had a good week of practice this week, intercepted a lot of balls and I was hopeful that would carry over into the game.

(on Shaun Hill's performance and Sam Bradford being ready to start)

I thought Shaun (Hill) did well. One of the things I told him going into the ball game was you don't have to be anybody else. You just have to yourself and that is good enough to win. You take care of the football, make the right plays and I thought he did good. Sam (Bradford) has done a nice job getting ready as well. We will take it one week at a time and see where it takes us.

(on how the coaches will decide the starting quarterback going forward)

We always huddle and decide what to do. There are so many other things we have to fix right now. I can't wait to get with the coaches tomorrow.

(on Stefon Diggs making plays)

Stefon (Diggs) is a great competitor, number one. He catches the ball well, he gets open, he does a lot of the dirty work. We ask of him to block and do a lot of different things, but I thought he play well today. He made some very good catches. I thought (Kyle) Rudolph made some good catches.

(on Blair Walsh's inconsistency)

It's disappointing we missed a field goal and we missed an extra point. He is going to have to kick them through. He's our kicker so there's no question about that, but he needs to kick better

(on Titans keying in on RB Adrian Peterson)

Yeah, that's part of it. We're not going to play a game this year that they're not going to key in on Adrian Peterson. (Jurrell) Casey's a good player up front, (Brian) Orakpo's is a good player, (Derrick) Morgan is a good player, they were physical at the point of attack and they were physical in some times. I thought there were maybe some more runs in there that we could've hit better but we didn't. But that's going to be part of the deal, but it's also going to open up other areas. Guys are going to be…there's going to be some open areas for (Stefon) Diggs and (Kyle) Rudolph and these other guys when they continue to do that. So, hopefully we can keep moving and make them pick their poison.

(on S Harrison Smith's stop changing momentum in the third quarter)

He's a really good football player and I'm glad he's on our team. He does a lot of really good things, and he's an all-around safety – he can blitz, he can cover, he can play the run, he can communicate well on the back end, so we're going to continue to find ways to use him.

(on defensive adjustments at halftime)

I think I basically said that, right, just settle down and play and do our stuff and let's go play. So, I had some bad calls in there today, too. Maybe it's a good learning lesson…when teams do a whole bunch of stuff and the more they do and the more you do, the more complicated the whole thing gets. And when you have an extra few days, as coaches, we tend to decide, oh, this looks good, we should do this and we should do this and I'm as guilty as anybody.

(on whether CB Xavier Rhodes' injury is a hamstring or a knee)

Yeah, it's different. He was stretching this morning and heard something pop on his knee and…he's going to get a scan tonight.

(on DE Everson Griffen's penalty)

Very stupid, very selfish. He knows now, but the veteran players kind of talk to him about it too. Everson's a captain. He's got to think about…you know, that was a silly, frustration penalty. We intercept the ball, the game's over and, who knows, gives them an opportunity to win. It'll be a good teaching experience, and I'm sure that not only he will learn from it, but hopefully the rest of our football team will.

(on shifting from the Titans offense)

Well, they run the same play. It's window dressing, but they have different…each week they're going to have different shifts and motions, so until you can get those down and get them understood, then it's going to be a little hectic at first. So that was a lot of my fault. But they do a good job with it, and they've always...wherever (Mike) Mularkey's been it's the same.

(on having pass rusher Everson Griffen cover Titans RB DeMarco Murray)

That's part of it. That was his own pressure and he was on the weak side, he had the back and that's just part of it. You've got to rob Peter to pay Paul sometimes. He was in good coverage, the kid made a good catch, but in a lot of our blitzes he drops.

(on WR Adam Thielen's performance)

Adam keeps making plays. The more you make plays, the more you get a chance to play. So he made a couple of good catches. He had one on real third and long, he didn't quite get the first down and the other one was third and whatever it was and he got it.

(on depth at wide receiver with Jarius Wright inactive)

Part of the inactive deal is we dressed eight defensive linemen today and there's a lot that goes into it. There may be a time where we dress five wides but it's just, each week is a different week.

(on DE Danielle Hunter's fumble recovery, touchdown and sack)

I like everything I see with him. He's a tremendous athlete, works real hard, he's smart, he's tough, he's got great length, you saw him after he picked the ball up what kind of athlete he is and how he can run. It's part of his maturation and he continues to keep using these tools that he has and he keeps working on it, and coach Patterson has done a great job with him, really with all of our guys on the defensive line.

(on what WR Cordarrelle Patterson has done to get back in the mix)

The things he's supposed to do to be a professional football player. Line up in the right place, to work hard, to catch the ball when he has the opportunity, when you have the opportunity, you make plays. The harder you work, the harder it is to keep guys out and for him, the harder you work, the harder it is to surrender. That's what he's done. He's earned playing time. It hasn't been like, ok, let's just put him in there.


(on how he feels following today's game)

I feel good. We got a win and that's what we came here to do.

(on managing the game and finding a way to win)

We all understand what it takes to win in this league. I understand how this team is built, having gone through a year with this team and seeing how our wins happened last year. There's certainly a way to win in this league and a way to lose. Coach Zimmer does a great job of preaching how to win, teaching how to win with all of the different scenarios that can come up in a ballgame. We start that the first week of OTAs, all that stuff, talking about situational football and explaining why we lost a game or why we won a game. We go through all those scenarios in the offseason and he's great at that.

(on the rapport he established with Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph and Adam Thielen in today's game)

Those guys made tremendous plays. They made tough catches. They got open. They were great for me today. Those were huge plays to continue drives. One of them, we didn't get a first down on. It was a big play to Thielen, but it helps flip the field position. It was close to a first down, but like I said, that 20-something yards there is huge in the field position game, which was certainly part of it. But, like you said, our goal is to finish more of drives off with touchdowns. That wasn't good enough today and something we are certainly focused on improving.

(on playing a bigger role in the game due to the lack of success from the Vikings rushing offense)

Well my role is still to be the quarterback. These games are funny. You never know how it's going to play out; you really don't. You just have to stay persistent the whole time and you know at some point something is going to give, and we did that for sure.

(on the Vikings coaching staff's decision on naming a starting quarterback for next week's game)

That's all on their plate. I can't think about that, and to be honest with you and like I've told you guys before, I prepare every week as if I'm playing. I started that back when I was a third-stringer here in 2002 because I knew that when an opportunity came about I didn't want to have change what I did, how I prepared, anything like that. So, I started that in 2002 as a third-stringer trying to prepare as if I was the starter and that's what I'll continue to do.

(on starting the season opener)

It was the first game and you're always excited. There's a lot going on. I told one of the rookies after we came out of the locker room that in about 10 minutes all this stuff is going to wear off and it's just going to be football; it's what we've done our whole life. That's basically how first games go. You come out and you're pretty jacked up to get going and then pretty soon it just turns into a football game and that's how it went.

(on the message he received from Teddy Bridgewater prior to today's game)

Teddy texted me late last night and I didn't get it until this morning. Then, we texted back and forth a couple of times this morning. He's an awesome guy. He was just excited to see me play and told me to bring home a W.

(on the play of the Vikings defense)

Yeah that's huge. The second half in particular they really came up big. Held them the whole half until the very end there and put some points on the board with two defensive touchdowns. Not part of very many games that you get that. They came out that second half with a mission.

(on taking some hard hits during today's game)

I feel alive. You take a hit like that it's how you know you're alive I guess. I feel good. I feel fine. It sounds a little weird and crazy but it's good to take some good licks especially if you've been on the sidelines for a while. It's good to take some licks and kind of just get you in the game.

(on the play of the Vikings offensive line)

They did a tremendous job. No sacks, which was huge. That certainly helps us when we can eliminate sacks, eliminate negative plays. That was big and that was something that I think they're going to be proud of. This is a good front and it's a good defense and they bring multiple things and some exotic stuff. They did a good job of handling all that.

(on whether or not he feels he did enough today to start next week's game)

I did what I came here to do which was be one-53rd part of getting a W; that was it to be honest with you, on the players side and obviously there's more pieces than just the players. From what happens after that, it's not up to me. I'm just going to continue to be the same guy every single day no matter what.

(on the fan support for the Vikings)

I told somebody, I don't remember who it was, on the sideline there in the fourth quarter and you're hearing the 'Let's go Vikings' chants, and I said that's what I love about playing on the road. When you can turn a road stadium into your home field in the fourth quarter, there's nothing better. We had great fan support out there today; that was awesome. They were all excited when we were coming off the field and that was a lot of fun.


(on the win)

Anytime you can come off the field with a W, you have to be happy about it.

(on what he saw out of the Titans defense)

On first downs, the guys were shooting the gaps. I got stacked in the box. It is what we expected, but they did a good job of playing the gaps.

(on having the mindset that he would have to eliminate some of the pressure off of Shaun Hill)

I knew that we would run the ball. Today it was those two and three yards—those tough yards to keep the chain moving and get those guys in, then hit them over the top with a big pass. I felt like we did pretty good at times. We just have to do a better job of being more efficient in the red zone and coming out with seven.

(on the Titans using a lot of run blitzes)

I felt like the offensive line did a good job of handling it, but I think we may look back at this film and learn a lot. I'm just thankful that we were able to get the points that we were able to get offensively and the defense came through for us and made some big plays. They pretty much bailed us out today.

(on rallying around Shaun Hill when he was named starter this week)

Initially we knew that he was the next man up. The guys and the receivers have been around him all summer and training camp. The guys are doing extra routes at practice expecting Shaun (Hill) to be out there. I'm sure he felt the presence of all of his teammates rallying behind him and believing in him. He played good today.


(on the win)

Of course we would like to clean up a lot of things, but at the end of the day we will take a W any day. They are hard to get in the National Football League. We are going to take the W. We have a lot of things to clean up and work on, but we're going to be happy.

(on what he saw out of QB Shaun Hill)

He had poise. He never got too high or too low. If you noticed, he had some wheels if you saw him take off and run a little bit. I'm just happy that he is playing at a high level and I expect that from him. He is a veteran guy and he prepares the right way. I'm the young guy just trying to help him.


(on everyone stepping up when QB Teddy Bridgewater went down before the season)

Everybody loves Teddy (Bridgewater). He is a big part of our team, and he will be a big part of it this season. We know that we have a good team with Teddy or without Teddy. I think when he went down, we all said that we needed to step it up another notch.

(on the importance of starting off the season with a road win)

It's big. We lost on the road last season and we still won the division. It is not going to make or break you, and we still have a lot to get better at. But this is a good way to start.

(on the difference in the first half and the second half)

It was just execution. We just settled in and were playing our type of ball and things worked out.

The Tennessee Titans kick off the 2016 season in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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