TITANS VS STEELERS
Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020
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Q. (No microphone)
KEVIN BYARD: Obviously I'm very proud of our team by the way we fought back, obviously. But at the end of the day we can't spot a great team, a good team that's probably going to be in the playoffs, we can't spot them 27 points at halftime. As a defense, I love the resilience in the second half. We didn't give up any points. But at the end of the day our third-down defense and red zone defense has to be better if we're going to continue to win games.
Q. Kevin, where does the improvement on third down defense start from your guys' perspective?
KEVIN BYARD: It starts everywhere, honestly. It starts with communication, it starts with the coverage, the rush. Everything has to be coordinated, because I don't think that we're really – we're not as detailed as we need to be, whether it's third-and-short, third-and-medium, or third-and-long, we're giving up all the varieties. So, we have to be better and we have to go watch this film and continue to correct those things. It comes down to pride, honestly, I think it comes down to pride and taking pride that we have to be better on third down.
Q. What were they doing to exploit the matchups that -- especially on third down? It seemed like they had receivers running wide open down the field when you guys would play deep and then when you would come up they would seem to be able to hit the plays a little further down.
KEVIN BYARD: I think we had a great gameplan. Obviously we worked on the gameplan. It was a couple times where I just didn't think we challenged them good enough, especially on the third-and-longs, we were letting guys run free. But we have to be better. Obviously, I still have to watch the film to see every little detail about everything, but we just have to be better if we're going to win any type of ball games, especially against a good team.
Q. What in the second half did get better on some of those third downs?
KEVIN BYARD: Obviously just communication, anticipating different things. Obviously in the beginning of the game, teams are doing different things, you're getting from the sidelines, you're getting adjustments. I think we got some great adjustments in the second half. But like I said, it's a pride thing. It's about going into halftime saying that we have to be better. We played a terrible first half, forget about it. We're going to come out here and we're going to be very critical of ourselves when it comes to effort, details in everything single thing. But like I said, we're a resilient bunch. That's just who we are. But at the end of the day, to spot a team 27 points in the first half, you can do that against teams that aren't that good, but when you're going against a team, a playoff team – it's not going to happen.
Q. You talk about the resilience, but how important is it to start better and not let them build up that kind of a lead? This team has shown that you can come back, but get to a point of not needing to have these kind of comebacks and risk coming up short like today?
KEVIN BYARD: That's what it's all about. That's the story of the Titans right now. We're not starting fast enough on defense. It's kind of like we're anticipating or expecting the offense to always pull – dig us out of a hole and that can't be the mentality. That definitely can't be the mentality going forward. Our offense, I think they did a great job in the second half by getting points for us, but we just have to be better in the first half. It's all – we preached consistency this week and we were consistent in the second half, but in the first half it was the total opposite.
Q. The third down stuff didn't just exactly just pop up today. It's been a problem throughout the season. Why is it that despite seemingly every week talking about having to improve on third down it just still really hasn't clicked yet for you guys?
KEVIN BYARD: Obviously if I can turn that switch and be able to be great on third downs every week, I would do it. But it takes all of us. It takes, from top to bottom, it takes every single one of us doing everything that we possibly can do to be better at it. I've been saying it before, but it's a pride thing, honestly. You have to take pride on third downs, especially third-and-longs when we have a good percentage of actually getting off the field, to get off the field, and it's just the bottom line. We have to continue to watch the film. But we have to be better, have to be a pride deal.
Q. How much did the turnovers help balance out the third down problems a little bit?
KEVIN BYARD: Most definitely. The turnovers came in crucial times of the game. We actually should have had more turnovers. Had a couple tips that we weren't able to get to, fumbles and different things like that, but we have been doing a great job of getting turnovers. But it's those third downs, that red zone defense. It's almost like a broken record, but we have to be better.
Q. Another question about third down. Is it at all a mental thing at a certain point in that area? Do the struggles there begin to snowball at a certain point?
KEVIN BYARD: No, I wouldn't say it snowballs. Obviously in certain situations when you have third-and-shorts, the percentages go up to the offense. When we get in third-and-medium, third-and-longs, we have to be better at communication, we have to be better at coordinating every single thing that we're doing and really just challenging guys. Challenging them and taking pride in it and say, 'Hey, no matter what happens,' and just be better in situations, but understanding – while we're watching film through the week – understanding what we're going to get, what offenses are trying to do to us. We just have to be more detailed.
Q. There's a quote that you don't lose, you learn. And that being said, what can you pull from this game and how can you quickly flush it away to move on to the next?
KEVIN BYARD: Every game is a learning process for us. At the end of the day, we're still 5-1. The group is obviously not falling through. We still played good football up until this point. But like I said, it's a game that we learn from. Obviously, we know that we're a resilient team and we can come back from a big deficit. But it's the consistency. That has to be the learning process that has to be continued to progress throughout the season. Watching that second half and seeing how we were fighting, see the effort, see everything that we were doing, and watching the first half as well, and being critical and say, 'How do we play how we played in the second half, throughout the entire game?' That's going to be the key, especially on defense.