Head Coach Mike Munchak
RE: Quick start to the game
That's what we've been trying to talk about. We thought the offense gave us a great start with the return but special teams did a great job. Marc (Mariani)had a great return, well blocked. We've been getting better at that the last few weeks. We've been getting some opportunities. We thought we had a shot today, but that's a huge play. I'd like to mention our defense played good all day, but definitely to come in with a three and out. They won the toss, they wanted the ball and defense did a great job by answering. Forced the punt and heck, Mariani's return was awesome.
RE: How did you prepare for this game?
I think our special teams as we've been talking about the last few weeks have, all phases of the special teams have really been playing well. That's what it is. You see a lot of excitement in the special teams. These guys are making plays. Even when we didn't win a couple of those games they were playing hard and playing well and you saw things coming. The last couple of returns were getting close even though they were ten or fifteen yards. Alan Lowry's got a great scheme. Chet (Parlavecchio – Special Teams Assistant) did a great job and those guys made it happen for them.
RE: Pressure up front?We talked about their offense all year, all week. They've been doing a great job scoring points. They've been very productive and I think Jerry Gray (Defensive Coordinator)and his staff had a great plan. The guys came out and executed. We got pressure in a lot of different ways with different guys winning, winning one on one battles, taking some hits. Kind of taking them out of their game early. That was huge. That was fun to watch. That's what it takes to win in this league as we know and to hold them to three points was a hell of an effort by a lot of people.
RE: #28 (Chris Johnson) improved in second half?I think that's the bottom line. We finally gave him carries. We had an opportunity to give him carries in the second half last week. He had five carries in the second half. This was one of those games that finally we were waiting for. It's been a while that we gave him enough carries because again, at some point if you do that with a good back he's going to have a good day. The last drive was a great drive. That's what you have to be able to do on offense. To kind of take a little time off the clock, put the game away. He had some big plays in there.
I don't want to downplay Matt Hasselbeck's run. That was pretty special. He wanted the clock to keep running he said. He thought if he scored he could take another 30 seconds off the clock. He didn't realize he got that close. If he got that close he probably would have scored. We're going to have a lot of fun with that one.
RE: (Colin) McCarthy active and around the ball a lot todayAgain, Jerry (Gray) did a great job. Frank Bush (Linebackers Coach) with his confidence during the week and then put him in situations, he's out there calling the defenses for a rookie. Stayed on the field most of the game. Yeah, I think that just shows you what we saw in him. Again, it's hard to watch everything he did but he handled himself very well, especially on the road. He's calling the defenses. He's getting his guys lined up, he's making adjustments. I just think it's great that he's in there looking poised and composed and is definitely a big part of how we play our defense.
RE: How important to win to begin second half of season.It's big for us. We talked about last night. Just wipe the slate clean. We have an eight game season left. That's all we should be concerned about. Learn from what we went through the last eight weeks. We should be more comfortable with each other, more comfortable with our offensive and defensive schemes and take that with us into this game. We have a couple of games on the road and we needed this badly. They knew that. They responded and played really well.
RE: Damian WilliamsHe's just getting better every week. I think you're seeing that and that's what we try to tell him. This league is that way. It's his first year starting and he's been making some great plays. He's been making some great catches. Last week's catch in the end zone was an awesome catch. He's got confidence. You can see it growing and it makes him get that first play. We're on the sidelines going, 'did he get the first down', and he found a way to make them miss and score a touchdown, not only get the first down. You're seeing a guy grow up and learn how to play in this league. You're seeing a guy gain his confidence weekly. Matt (Hasselbeck) has confidence in him. We knew that all along so he's turned into a really nice weapon for us.
RE: First down sacksI think it's huge. Some of the sacks, again, some of them are coverage. Some of those we won. The guys won one and one and chased him. We didn't get, even when he (Cam Newton) made some runs, which we knew he was going to, we didn't get discouraged. We stayed in there. You put them in long down situations, which we did, it's hard to convert third down situations and obviously they struggled big time on third down converting. The defense got off the field pretty much the whole day which gave the offense plenty of opportunities to make plays and to win.
QB Matt HasselbeckRe: Getting off to a quick startIt was great. We talked about starting fast. We talk about that a lot, but doing it is another thing and our special teams the last three weeks have been really playing well. They just took it to the next level today, scoring a touchdown. Mariani with this kicker, with the new rule, we didn't really expect he was get any chance in the kickoff return game. We talked about the punt return game last night quite a bit and it was a great play for our team.
Re: Titans wide receiver Damian WilliamsHe's making plays. This week, with the injuries we've had, the amount of guys that weren't able to practice, and people's statuses were up in the air, he got more opportunities, got more reps and was called upon a little bit more. He handled it well. I thought he had a great week of practice. There are always things, even with a veteran receiver, there are always things that you'd like to see. I think with a young receiver, I think the thing for him is that the more he gets to play, the more comfortable he'll get, and the more experience that he will get. He's scoring touchdowns right now which is really nice.
Re: The Titans run game in the second halfOne of the things that we wanted to do was stay on the field offensively. They have an explosive offense, number one in the league in explosive gains. We wanted to stay on the field and running the ball is part of that. It's kind of a grind. It doesn't just happen. You have to stick with it. We had some bigger runs that helped. We've got to eliminate the penalties. I think that's one thing that hurt us just a little bit today. But it was good to get the running game going. It was good to score a touchdown in the running game.
Re: If it was good for Chris Johnson to get another 100-yard gameI'm sure. I haven't talked to him about it or anything. I know for me, you just kind of get into a groove and just start feeling it. Coach Munchak said last night, "Hey, it's a new season, second half of the season. Let's just start over, start fresh and see what we can do with these last eight games." He talked a little bit about what happened here with this team last year. We started out pretty good, and then didn't finish strong. You have to finish strong. We can't do anything about the previous games that we've played, but we can do a lot about the second half of the season. It was a good start for us in that regard. He challenged us in a lot of ways. I think the guys that he mentioned and the areas of our team that he mentioned really stepped up today.
Re: His running playIt was more of a jog, more of a heel-toe jog. It wasn't much of a sprint.
Re: If he thought he would score on his runNo, I wasn't even sure if I wanted to score. I'm not sure if that was an option or not. I was trying to do some math. I was looking up at the scoreboard. I really hadn't thought it through. (Coach Munchak) made the call to just keep it. I didn't tell anyone in the huddle. I might have told (Javon) Ringer. I was just thinking, okay, the first 10 yards I should have it. I really didn't think through it after that. I was trying to think and run at the same time, not something I'm good at. Good thing I wasn't chewing gum.
Re: Good team chemistry even with the injured playersMostly, I thought we were a lot better. We made a lot of strides from last week. I thought the guy that really stepped up was Damian Williams. With all the guys that were out during practice, we weren't sure what (Jared) Cook's status was, what Nate (Washington), I didn't even practice Wednesday. He was a guy that we were counting on. He had more opportunities. He actually played Nate's position the entire day Wednesday and then went back to his position Thursday and Friday, or maybe just Friday. He did a really nice job.
RB Chris JohnsonRE: How good it felt to get on track with his performanceIt felt real good. Kind of get out there and have some runs and get over the hundred yard mark again. The offensive line and the wide receivers kept their guys off me and gave me some creases to run.
RE: If this is a sign of things to come in the second half of the seasonMe and Coach Munchak said the next eight games, it's a new season. We're in a new season right now and basically just we're just trying to make this new season the best.
RE: If today was a breakout performanceI feel like this was a good game for me and I feel like hopefully I can take this momentum throughout the rest of the season…
RE: Difference in his running style todayNo, I attacked the same way, run hard and read my keys and don't second guess myself.
RE: Challenging himself to keep the clock moving when the team had the leadNot at all. I just wanted to come out here and keep running hard and playing good. Reading my keys and taking care of what I can take care of. I just can't go out there and try to be Superman and things like that. Just have to keep running hard.
CB Cortland FinneganRE: Stopping Cam NewtonI don't know. We executed our game plan. To keep a high powered offense down like that was a good thing for us.
RE: What the win does for the team moraleIt really does nothing. We beat a good football team and we have to build on that. We made our mistakes and we made some good plays. We are going to Atlanta next week, which is a really good football team and we have to try and beat them as well.
RE: Colin McCarthy's performanceI think he played monstrous. He was wonderful. He had us all lined up. He even called us over before the game and said he was going to have his stuff together. We really believed in him. You believe in every family member, so he played well today.
WR Marc MarianiRE: A punt return early in the game setting the toneI think that was huge for us. Especially first quarter, out the gate to build momentum and to take over so early was huge. A lot of credit to those guys, it was a big play for us.
RE: Carolina's struggles on special teams being an an opportunity for youI think we put a big emphasis on the return game this week. Not so much because of them but because we know we can be better on kick return and punt return. We're close and we want to break some of these, so it was more of an emphasis and more of a focus. Hopefully there will be more to come.
RE: Having 14 points in the first quarterIt is huge to come out the gate, to build that momentum and to take over the game. It's good when you can see that and sense it and you can smell blood and you can put them away. We had trouble with that last week. We were in the same position and we know what it felt like and we knew we didn't want to give it away. I think we just kept our foot on the gas and ran away with it.
DE Jason JonesRE: On the Titans' first down defenseA lot of teams when they get first down, success will be easy for them. We wanted to get them off schedule and stop them at the first down and they can't beat us.
RE: Cutting down on turnoversWe were up 17-0. We had to go out there and be aggressive and score points. Today we cracked down on it.
RE: Punt return for a touchdown following a three and outI know head coach (Mike Munchak) is happy. Coach Lowry is happy. All week we have been trying to get Mariani (Marc) down there to get a touchdown. Offense, defense, and special teams all played good. When we all play good we get good results.
RE: SacksIt was just collapsing the gap. Cam held the ball. We had a good plan and good coverage in the back. If they hold the ball we got to get to them. We had to get to him and today all of us got to him. It was a great effort.
DT Jurrell CaseyRE: On facing Cam NewtonAnything can happen with a great quarterback like that. We just kept the pressure going. We had spies on him to make sure he wasn't running, and we contained him in the pocket. He couldn't do anything but sit there.
RE: On the Titans' first down defenseThat's one of the things at the beginning of the year we worked on, to get that first down win and give them second and long, and we did that today.
C Eugene AmanoRE: Having more balance on the teamAll it comes down to is us controlling the football and having plays in the second half. We weren't going three and out, three and out. We were getting a rhythm out there and that's what you like to see.
RE: Starting the game with the defense forcing a three and outIt's huge. It set up the game, momentum wise and we kept running with it. We didn't have that let down that we had last week in the second half. We kept the pedal to do the metal, so to speak. It was a fun half for us to have. We needed it definitely.