TEXANS QB RYAN FITZPATRICK
(on facing a team that he recently played for)
I played against Buffalo earlier in the year, and having spent four years there I saw a lot of similar faces. Obviously, in playing in Nashville last year and watching the tape on defense, there are a lot of familiar faces, not a whole lot of turnover in terms of the guys on defense. It's one of those things, I know that I'm very familiar with them and having to practice against them a bunch, especially when I was backing Jake (Locker) up. I went against those guys a lot with the scout team stuff, so I know they've seen a lot of me and my tricks. I think it's a wash there in terms of just knowing the personnel.
(on if knowing the personnel of the Titans is an advantage)*
I think they know me as well as I know them, so I'm not sure that it gives anybody a leg up. I think it's kind of a wash. It's definitely a different scheme. The one I'm running here is different from what we did there last year.
(on his memories from being with the Titans)
I met a lot of great people. Of the places I've been, the best memories have been the relationships that I've made, whether it's playing with the neighborhood kids or my different teammates. Some of my fondest memories came with Jake (Locker) and spending some time in the film room and going over all kinds of stuff and really getting to know him as a person. The other guys, you talk to and mess around with in the locker room. I think my main memories are probably the relationships more than anything.
(on how his situation has worked out with the Texans)
When it initially happened, I've got four kids, so having to pick up the family and move again and all that, that's kind of what you turn your attention to. That was the biggest disappointment for me, just having to go through that again, after having to do it the year before in Buffalo. The way that it worked out with the interest that I drew this off season, with the ability to come in and compete here for a starting job and eventually earn the starting job, it worked out great, looking back on it now in terms of the way everything went down.
(on when he was released by the Titans)
You guys see it year over year, especially in bringing in an offensive coach. There's a lot to be said for bringing in guys that you're comfortable with. Obviously, Coach Whisenhunt was very comfortable with what he had in San Diego with Charlie (Whitehurst) at backup quarterback and wanted to bring in somebody that was familiar with the system, so I didn't read anything much more into it.
(on appreciating his starts with the Texans)*
You definitely appreciate it, especially after I was released in Buffalo. That off-season, and trying to figure out where I was going to go play, it was all in a backup role, that backup capacity. I didn't know if I'd ever have a chance to really be the guy again. I appreciate every start that I get and really don't take anything for granted at this point in my career, because who knows how much longer I have in terms of my career? I still love playing the game, love being out there. We've been up and down this year, but each day, that daily grind has been fun.
(on playing against the Bills and the Titans)
I think it is a little bit different, just because of how invested we were in Buffalo, being there for four years and the community and the team and all that stuff. Just a little bit longer in terms of the relationships that were developed and all that. I do think it is a little bit different, but any time you go against a former team, I think it does mean something to you.
(on his relationship with Jake Locker)
We definitely still keep up. I just have such a tremendous respect for him, and it's him as a player, as a person, as a husband, as a father, all that stuff. We'll be friends for life. Last year was a great year for us, just in terms of being able to really get to know each other. Playing quarterback in the NFL, it's not an easy thing for anybody. There are very few people who know what you're going through, and I had a lot of people in my career that I was able to call and talk to and bounce things off and all that. There's a small group of us as a quarterback fraternity that really understand the things you go through on a week-to-week basis. He's a guy that I always talk with and bounce things off and really respect and admire.
(on Jake Locker dealing with injuries this season)
It's such an unfortunate thing. The injuries that have come up, everybody knows how hard he works and how tough he is. A couple of unfortunate things here and there that happened this year. It's just one of those things that happens in the game of football. You get dinged up. I just know that if he can be on the field, he'll be out there.
(on Jake Locker's approach to the game)
I think a big thing with him is his ability in being able to set his feet and be in the same offense and not the constant change and flux. I just think he's a very instinctual player. He does some great things, whether he's going to take off and run or whether he's confident in throwing the ball and knowing where it needs to go. He's going to be a great football player. I think a lot of it with him is being able to be in the same system for a few years and really be able to get it.
(on what went wrong in the second quarter against the Steelers)*
It was a pretty wild three minutes. We were up 13-0 and all of a sudden we go into halftime with a pretty big deficit. It was a couple of turnovers at the end of the half there within two minutes, but we gave them the ball deep in our territory, and they capitalized. It was a bad deal, but again, whatever game it is, there's going to be some adversity. Unfortunately for us, there was a ton of adversity at the end of the half, but we still had a chance to come out, be resilient, and we didn't play as well as we needed to in the second half to win that game.
(on establishing himself as a quarterback)
It varies from guy to guy. In the end, you have to be yourself. Your personality, you can't try to be somebody you're not. Sometimes, with guys' personalities, that's going to be right away. Sometimes it's through the way you play in the game and how much time you put into it's just showing people how much you want to win. I think each situation is different, just based on the personality of the guy.
(on stepping up as the backup quarterback after the starter is no longer able to play)
The thing about being a backup quarterback in this league, everybody says you prepare like a starter and all that. You do, and you put forth all the effort and the mental gymnastics throughout the week, but you've also got a place on the team, and the place is to be kind of that support system for the starter and a guy that's going to do whatever you can to help him be successful. A lot of times, that is taking a back seat in terms of the leadership department and allowing it to be the starter's team and letting him go. That's kind of the thing you run into when you've got your backups and starters and going back and forth with injuries and all that. It kind of puts that role into flux a little bit.
(on how meaningful it would be to beat the Titans this week)
There's a huge difference there. For us, getting off to a good start with a couple of wins and really not winning as of late and having that bad taste in our mouths, we've got to turn the thing around, and it starts with hopefully getting a win on Sunday. When you start stacking up losses, you've got to make sure your confidence doesn't waver, and you continue to prepare as if you were 7-0. That's what we're trying to get across right now.
(on how he evaluates his season versus last year with the Titans)
It's two very different situations, different offenses, all that, but I can play better. I think we've done some good things this year, but there have been a lot of things for me that I know I can do better. Some of it mentally, some of it physically, but my thing is just continuing to get better every week, continuing to understand the offense better, continuing to run it at a faster pace and mentally speeding everything up. For me, being in a new offense, I've got to take that next step and hopefully have a great second half of this season here.
(on his advice to Jake Locker on dealing with J.J. Watt)*
Good luck. He's played him before. I played him a couple of times before I was here. He's a great football player. I think everybody knows that. He's a tremendous guy, too, though. He's a guy that can really change a game. It's pretty rare for a guy in his position to be able to affect the game on every play like he does.
(on facing Jurrell Casey)
(Jurrell) Casey's an unbelievable football player. I just remember when I first got there, I hadn't really heard of him, didn't know much about him, and then watching him play on Sundays, he's a great football player. This year, getting the well-deserved contract and the way that he's gone out and played, he's certainly disruptive.
(on the Titans secondary this year versus last year)
There are similar faces there, with (Michael Griffin) and (Daimion) Stafford and George Wilson. We played together for five years, and obviously Jason McCourty and just watching Coty (Sensabaugh) on tape and Blidi (Wreh-Wilson), all of those guys. I've got some familiarity there, but there are some new faces and some different people back there. It's a real disappointment with (Bernard Pollard) getting hurt. You hate to see that stuff. It's just part of the game.