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Six Hot Topics from Ken Whisenhunt's Press Conference


NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt addressed reporters today to discuss the team's 14-13 loss to the Bills, and also look ahead to this Sunday's game against the Dolphins.

Here's a look at the biggest topics:


Last offensive play**

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was intercepted on the team's final offensive play against the Bills, which quashed any hopes for a last minute comeback.

Mariota tried to connect with receiver Kendall Wright on a 1st and 10 from the Tennessee 31 with 1:41 left, but Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore stepped in and intercepted the pass.

A better route from receiver Justin Hunter might've kept that from happening – he was supposed to run a deep post, and take two defenders with him.

Whisenhunt said it's a play he'd like to have back as well.

"I took a shot there when we still had a lot of time left late in the game, and in thinking about it, because it was a turnover, I wish I would've done something a little more conservative and given us a chance to get moving," Whisenhunt said.

Mariota's day

Mariota was 21-of-32 for 187 yards against the Bills, with one interception. His passer rating was 68.1, which was the lowest so far in four starts.

Whisenhunt said he thought Mariota handled himself well overall.

"Going against a defense like that with the front that they have, I thought he did a nice job,'' Whisenhunt said. "It was a multiple look defense that gives you a lot of pressures and a lot of trouble and he handled it well from that standpoint. There are always plays that you want back. There are a lot of calls that I want back. But when you compete against a team like that, that has a very good front that gives you a lot of looks, I think for a rookie player, he handled himself well."


Defensive lapse**

Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey blamed himself for allowing Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor to break free for a critical first down pick up on 3rd and 23 late in the game.

Casey said he didn't do his assignment the way he should've, and it allowed for the big play.

Whisenhunt said it wasn't all on Casey, although he acknowledged the team had a similar play earlier in the game with the same defensive play call, and defended it well.

"Could we have played it better? Yeah, we could have played it better,'' Whisenhunt said. "But let's not get away from the fact it wasn't a great call and we'll do better."

Lewan's penalties

Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan has expressed frustration with himself in recent days over his rash of penalties.

Lewan was flagged three times against the Bills, twice for illegal hands to the face. Lewan has been flagged four times for illegal hands to the face this season.

Whisenhunt acknowledged Lewan needs to clean things up, but said he also thinks he's become a target by officials.

"He cannot put his hands in their face,'' Whisenhunt said. "First of all, he's a target. That's what every other opposing coach is telling the officials when they come in. He's got to do a better job of that. We had a discussion about that last night. I know he feels badly about that and he's going to work to correct it. We can't have those penalties. Those hurt us, they're hard to overcome."

ILB switcheroo

Wesley Woodyard started at inside linebacker in place of Zach Brown, and he played well.

Woodyard totaled nine tackles, and was good against the run. Whisenhunt said the Titans plan to play both players moving forward.

"I think their snaps were fairly similar,'' Whisenhunt said. "We have a rotation that I feel like is going to bring out the best in us and there may be times when one plays more than the other, but they're both going to be involved.

"I think (Woodyard) gives you competition, and I think anytime you have competition, it brings out the best in the players. I don't think that's a big issue when you have that."


Agony of defeat**

The Titans have lost three straight games since a season opening win at Tampa Bay, including back-to-back losses to the Colts and Bills when the team lost fourth quarter leads.

Whisenhunt said players are sticking together during what's been a tough stretch.

He's found no consolation in playing close games compared to a year ago, when the Titans lost nine games by two touchdowns or more.

"You can't ignore the fact that we're close, but close and four dollars will get you a cup of coffee,'' Whisenhunt said. "We have to kind of block out the distractions, and continue to work. There's a tremendous amount of progress with our team, but we have to get over the hump. We have to win a game. I think once we do that it will put us on the right course."


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