Titans/Vikings post-game quotes



(opening statements)

I want to compliment our team for the manner which they prepared for this game this week. They knew we were going to have a very, very physical game, especially up front. So we backed down, we prepared for it. We knew there were going to be some things that weren't pretty on the line of scrimmage. That was the case, but they hung in there.

Again, it is nice for me to be able to say that all three phases contributed today, especially in the fourth quarter. Special team's play, the return and then Craig's [Hentrich] punt, and then downing the punt and getting them backed up was the turning point in the ballgame.

The defense, when you get the turnovers like that and put the offense in position to score, we got two touchdowns off turnovers today. Overall, I was pleased. We still can execute better. We can still do things better in all three areas. We are going to stress improvement as we move forward.

It is nice to get through the first quarter of the season 4-0. Now, we regroup, take a deep breath and get ready for the Ravens.

(on the significance of the first 4-0 start in franchise history)

We expect to do that every year. Go out, play hard, stay healthy, and make plays. This is a case where I'm glad that I don't have to say that we're a couple plays away from being 2-2. Because we've won ball games, (we're) making plays, but we've won these ballgames which is good. All they care about right now is Baltimore. They've learned to keep these kinds of things in perspective. They're so appreciative of the fans here. Now we're going to go on the road and play a good opponent.

(on whether he considered a long field goal instead of punting in the fourth quarter)

No. Rob is kicking really well, but he was into the wind. And if you are in a situation like that you give it to the field position if there's time.

(on holding Adrian Peterson to fewer than 100 yards rushing)

A lot of it had to do with their play selection because if they were going to hand it to him every play I don't know if we would have held him under 100, he's a really good back. We got a break there on a holding penalty and he nearly flips the field himself, he's that talented but our guys tackled and made the plays when they needed to. We were balanced. We had to ask the secondary to play pass coverage because we had to commit to the run front. I thought (defensive coordinator) Jim (Schwartz) did a nice job changing things up.

(on the number of sacks in the game)

If your fortunate to carry leads towards the end of the game you can rush the passer. That's where we've become, and that's what we've been able to do. And so much of our sack progression has to do with our ability to protect the ball on offense. Protecting the football, we're not giving up points, and we're getting leads and we're rushing the passer.

(on execution)

That's a byproduct of a very good defense. Their defense is very, very talented. As a staff we didn't feel like this was going to be a 30-point game just because the talent level they have on defense. Fortunately, we were able to get enough points.

(on the defense rising to new challenges each week)

It's a smart group, they're committed, they're dedicated to what we're doing and they understand that each week is a different challenge but they also understand that we win as a team. We're lucky today we played as well as we did in the first half and obviously we made plays at the end. But they count on special teams, they count on offense and obviously count on themselves to make plays.


(on having a better rapport with the receivers)

I think my rapport with the receivers is getting better with every game and every day in practice. One thing I like about those guys is that they work hard during the week and to me that's so important, getting that rhythm and that timing in the game. I think those guys are playing well. Both Justins (Gage and McCareins) are playing well. Brandon Jones made a big catch for us. They're making plays and I think it's a testament to the way they work.

(on the workman attitude the team has with being 4-0)

We're happy with 4-0, believe me. We need to understand there's a lot of football left to be played. We've gotten off to a great start but we need to be able to put things behind us. Certainly, we have gotten off to a great start but there's a lot of work to do. We can improve in a lot of areas. As long as we take that attitude, I think it gives us a chance to keep winning football games. That's where veteran leadership comes into play. Everybody's going to start telling us how good we are, how we're going to do this, going to do that but none of that matters. Week in and week out, you've got to come back to work and put whatever happened the week before behind you and move on. Keep trying to get wins. That takes a certain attitude and I know that the veterans need to keep conveying that to the younger guys.

(on scoring 21 points off turnovers)

The way the defense is getting turnovers and getting them off the field was huge. Today was huge. It was a huge factor in the ballgame and we were able to capitalize on some of those turnovers. You can't count on them every game but when you get them, obviously you're very happy about it. I think our big challenge is to play a complete game. I think the first half has been good the past couple of games. I think the second half needs to be better. We need to keep that in mind as we go forward.

(on the satisfaction of quarterbacking an undefeated team)

I'm excited to be winning. Bottom line. I'm on a good football team. Are we a great football team yet? No, I don't think so but finding ways to win and winning ballgames just keeps adding to the confidence, keeps adding to the makeup of your team. I'm proud to be a part of that. We've got a good bunch of guys who work hard and play hard. We've got a good bunch of coaches. As long as we keep believing in each other, there's going to be rough spots and we understand that. When you win, you feel good about it and there are a lot of good things to feel good about but we need to keep moving on. When we're here at home and the fans were great like they were today, that means so much. To get wins like that, it develops an attitude and develops a winning mentality that will take us far in this league.

(on what the team has to do to become a great team)

I think we can improve offensively. I think in the red zone we weren't as efficient as we have been today. We made some plays but I think we need put together complete games. I don't think we've done that yet. Just keep an eye towards playing four quarters of good football and credit goes to them. They came out in the second half defensively and played hard and gave us a lot of different looks. We handled them okay for the most part, but definitely could have done some things better. I know I could have done some things better.

(on the play of Justin Gage)

Justin [Gage] is playing really, really well right now. He is separating from guys. He is making plays. He is making tough catches. He is a guy that I feel very comfortable with. He is a guy that will come in each day and work hard and do all the things necessary to go out and play well on Sunday. He is a big guy. He is a nice target. He runs good routes. He makes tough catches. I think all the guys are doing well. I think Justin McCareins is really playing well. Brandon Jones is getting his share of plays. We have a good group. Everyone dogs on our receivers, but I like our group.

(on spreading the ball around as opposed to favoring one receiver)

I am more inclined to spread it around. I try to take the play as it comes. I don't necessarily say I am going to look for Justin Gage on this one or Justin McCareins. I just try to read it out and know that the guys are going to win and separate and give me throws. I have always been that way. I have never said, 'Hey, I am going to look for this one guy' because the defense gives you what they give you and I just try to take it.

(on what is different with the passing game and receivers this year)

I don't really know if I have a good answer for that other than we are getting one-on-one matchups on the outside and they are winning. They are playing well. They are giving me places to throw the ball. You have got to have the receivers to be able to move the ball in this league and score touchdowns and I think we've got them.

(on the advantages of a quarterback with experience)

I think experience is so much a part of playing the position. Having played so many games, I really rely on my experience. As long as your physical skills don't start to decline, I think that experience gives you an advantage when you go into a game on Sunday. This is a tough league. It is tough to win. I am proud of our guys. I am proud of the way we are playing. So many things are just about knowing the situations, knowing when to take your shots and knowing when not to take your shots. All those things that allow you to have a good game materialize over learning over a lot of years. Trust me, I lean on my experience every time I go out there. I know that I have been in every situation possible. Hopefully I make more good decisions in those kinds of situations than bad.

(on whether the Titans are an elite team)

It is way too early to start calling us an elite team. We have gotten off to a good start but [you] can't say that after four games. We are getting a good formula going. We are getting the wins, we are doing what we have to do. To say we are an elite team, I think is way too early.


(on the Titans' formula of having the defense hold the offense and the Titans offense run the clock)

That's the game plan every week. Turn up in the first half, get some points in the first half, get off the field on third down on defense, stop the run. It's a good formula. It's worked for us so far. It's what this team is built upon.

(on Adrian Peterson)

He's as advertised. He's a good back. I think we had a good game plan. We executed it well. We knew that we couldn't let him get going. He broke a couple of runs early, but we stuck with the game plan. We make a couple of adjustments and really make it one dimensional in the second half.

(on the many turnovers forced by the defense)

We try to be a fast, aggressive defense, try to get everybody to the ball, try to get some big hits. We forced some fumbles. That's what this defense is built upon. Making big plays when we have to and really, like you said, turnovers are contagious. We stepped up and got the ball back when we needed to and that was one of the keys to the win today.

(on the young players and their ability to step in on defense and make big plays)

Our young guys are really playing well. But it's not a surprise to us, they had a good training camp and we had a good summer. They're going to be good players and they are really stepping in. There is no let down to the starters throughout the game. I'm really happy with the rotation we have. Part of the key to our success is being able to get pressure on the quarterback for four quarters and that's dependent on being able to roll guys in and out especially in the first half.

(on the mindset of the defense and how they have consistently stepped up to make big plays)

It's been our mindset all season. We step up when we have to. We had some lapses again today, we didn't play a great game. But this defense, when we have to step up and make a play and have to step up and make a stop somebody does it and that's what we are capable of. We have a lot of playmakers on this defense and we keep making those plays.

(on the roughing the passer penalty on Gus Frerotte)

I was surprised at the flag. I asked for an explanation. I was told it was a low hit. I didn't think that I hit him low, but that is the way that he saw it. Unfortunately, it could have cost us the game. It was a big penalty and we had the stop there. If I hit him low, I need to use better judgment but I felt like it was a clean play. Unfortunately, in the heat of the moment I lost my composure a little bit. I didn't like the explanation but they see what they see and I just got to keep playing the way I play.

(on what the Titans have proved to other teams in the league by being 4-0)

I think that we've proved we have a good team. I don't think a lot of people expected much from us. We keep doing the right things. We have a good formula, the way we believe we can win games and so far through four games that's how we've won our games is with that formula.

(on Vikings quarterback Gus Frerotte and the pressure that the Titans defense put on him)

They are going to win some games with Frerotte at quarterback. What we do is we try to get pressure on him, try to get some hits, try to rattle the opposing quarterbacks and he hung in there. I think early in the game, the way the game was going, they were protection conscious. They weren't going to let him take a lot of hits and as our offense got us the lead we had more chances to rush the quarterback.

(on comments made by Gus Frerotte saying that the hit laid by Vanden Bosch was a cheap shot and that Vanden Bosch has something against him)

No. I knock quarterbacks down a 100 times a year and I know how to hit the quarterback. You've got a small window where you can hit the quarterback. I did not hit him below the knees. I hit him in the thigh and that's where the rulebook tells me to hit the quarterback. I'm not a dirty player but if that's his opinion then I guess he's entitled to it.


(on if there was a friendly competition with Vikings running back Adrian Peterson)

Me and (Adrian) Peterson are friends. I met him down in Miami one time. We hung out and talked. It's a good friendly competition.

(on scoring the first touchdown)

It felt good just to help my team get on the board. It was big in this win.

(on the Titans' defense helping the offense during the second half)

We came out in the beginning of the game getting long drives every time we had the ball. In the third and fourth quarter, it seemed like we couldn't get nothing going. There was a whole bunch of three and outs. The defense kept standing up for us and making those stops. To get that second touchdown was real big for the defense.


(on his overall thoughts of the offense)

Their front seven did a good job against the run. We still had a couple of opportunities. There were a couple of things we could've fixed and we could have put some more points on the board.

(on scoring points from Minnesota's turnovers)

From an offensive standpoint, if you could put points on the board early, it discourages the other team especially when they turn the ball over. Every time the defense gets a turnover and we get a chance to put the ball in the end zone, we need to do that.

(on the team being 4-0)

It feels good. We got a nice day off tomorrow and that makes it even better. We've got a lot of work to do. This is the first quarter like (Coach) Fisher said. We need to keep it going.


(on the team improving to 4-0)

It's a big deal. It's something we should definitely enjoy tonight and really be thankful for each other that we pulled this off. It's really tough to win any game in this league because everybody is good. Any given week a so called weaker team can come up and beat you. We are taking pride in this and most importantly we are looking forward to having another good week of practice and preparation to carry it over. I think that's the whole idea.

(on the defensive coverage by the Minnesota Vikings)

They played a little bit of man. I think they were trying to mix it up just because we were doing some things in the passing game and obviously some good things in the running game. I think it made it tough for them to decide how to play us defensively.

(on capitalizing on turnovers)

No doubt. If the defense is playing as well as they have, you've got to capitalize and make the most of the great plays they are making out there. We are lucky to have those guys covering our butts, minimizing our mistakes.


(on Titans defensive effort)

We are on the right path. It goes back to how we practice. We practice hard during the week and it carries over on Sunday. It was a pretty good step for us today. We feel like we can take this team to another level by playing good defense.

We've got a long stretch. We've got to put these games behind us and learn from them, get back to the drawing board and take this thing to the next level. To be honest, I think we still have a lot of work. I just think we are on the right path as far as attitude everybody comes out with every Sunday. I think we are on the right path to be the best.

(on slowing down Vikings running back Adrian Peterson)

I feel we did pretty well considering what he's capable of doing and what we've seen on film and what he's done in the past. We knew they were going to come in and try to display him, and he still did a good job despite not being able to break loose, but I think we did a better job today.


(on the Titans defensive effort)

This team is built on letting the defense go out there and win the game and that's kind of what happened this last game. We played good as far as defense and offense. It's easier to play defense when you know what they are going to do … This could be a good defense. We've got the components to be a great defense. We still haven't played a complete game, but we're getting better and better, so hopefully you'll see it soon.

(on slowing down Vikings running back Adrian Peterson)

Really our offense did, because they stayed out on the field and put points on the board, so they had to get away from the run and start throwing the ball. We could pin our ears back and go after them. Wash *(Titans defensive line coach Jim Washburn) *always says this is our time to feed, as far as getting sacks and rushing the quarterback. So that's how we looked at it. We knew they were going to throw the ball. That's what we say every week. We have to make a team one-dimensional and we know what they are going to do and we'll go after them.


(on slowing down Vikings running back Adrian Peterson)

Our coaches put together a great scheme to stop him. He had his moments, but all-in-all I think the defensive front, again, the backbone of this defense, really helped the rest of this team out, and they did a great job.

(on Titans defensive play)

Every body just wants to make the play. That's the beautiful thing about this defense. We don't care how long we are on the field, or whatever. We just want to make plays and I think that's one of the things we've done thus far. We will continue to get better as a defense, and that's going to be week in and week out.

When the defensive line does what they have to do to stop the run, we have to do what we have to do in the back end to stop the pass … Today was a team effort all the way around. We credit the defensive line, to do what they did in the first half. When the chips are on the line, we want to make the plays, and that's what we embrace in the second half.



(opening statement)

A 3-0 opponent, we knew it was going to be a challenge to come down here. Expected a few gimmicks in the kicking game which we didn't see and we didn't exploit. I think it was important that we manage our emotions on the road. By and large, I thought they did a decent job of that. Obviously we have to do a better job of football. When you spot someone 21 points on turnovers on the 11 to 30-yard line and cut the field in half and then have a drive going, have a center/quarterback exchange at the 40, those are pivotal things. We have got to rectify that. Turnovers are the number one statistic in this business. But I thought they had a belief in the certainty coming down here that we would win this football game. It's disappointing to not only me but to our football team. The big thing is we are a 1-3 football team with a lot of football left to go. We need to take an inventory, as we will. We have got an extra day this week and we go right back into another hostile environment in New Orleans. These guys will fight you and so I expect us to come back fighting.

(on Gus Frerotte's injury)

He got cuts on his hand. It was a laceration, I'm sure. There was plenty of blood. Somebody's helmet probably scraped across it so I think he is going to be okay. It was his left hand.

(on the goal line run by LenDale White)

Damn disappointing is the only way I can say it. You can't fumble the ball on fourth down, was one of my contentions, and have someone else recover it. The ruling was, once they finally got over there was, that he had ruled progress. His progress was stopped. From what I was seeing the progress didn't make the line. I got something about we don't have that many cameras at the game. Clearly that wasn't a first down and you are not going to convince me that was a first down.

(on calling time out before the challenge)

I was trying to let something come up that was going to get replayed. It would end up costing us two in the end. I wanted to get the play stopped. They looked like they were moving ahead to snap the football.

(on plays not going the Vikings way)

I don't ever put it on being snakebitten. We certainly had a chance to go in the locker room at 20-13 with us being able to get that throw after the defense recovered the football. You just have to be able to convert. When you have an opportunity to score points, boy, you have to be able to get in there and you got to be able score points. Yeah, that was disappointing.

(on mistakes being a surprise)

It's disturbing. It's about the last thing. If you are getting beat physically, you're getting beat physically. To beat yourself and not to be zeroed in, I mean, if you can hang in there for the first snap count that's on three the first play of the game and get a five-yard off-side, then you can hang in there on a normal snap count and not flinch. That ends up being focus and concentration. I don't know how many times today we were 1 st and 10 and back to 1st and 15 or 2 nd and 9 back to 2nd and 14. It's hard to continually overcome those things.

(on E.J. Henderson not being starting the game)

It's a team thing, once again, between E.J. and myself and our football team.


(on the game)

It was methodical. It comes down to turnovers and we didn't win the turnover battle.

(on the Titans)

They did a good job. They executed their game plan better than we did. That is all you can say. You can't say that physically any side was dominated. They did a good job of slowing the rush down. Hats off to them, executed their game plan. You have to play disciplined in this league and you have to do your job snap after snap.

(on the team's record)

At 1-3 it digs in your gut, because we know we have such a good team. It is time we start proving it. It is time for every single one of us to start proving why we are here. We can't have two good games and then have a lapse. We have to be consistent. Our character is being tested right now. It truly is. I like to believe that we are a team with character and that we will come out swinging.


(on the game)

You have to win on the road if you are going to be a good football team. You look at all of the stats and if you have one turnover on the road you aren't going to win let alone four. Defensively we need to take some risks and try to get the ball back in those situations.

(on the team)

We stayed together and still had a chance at the end. We have a strong football team and we have a lot of character guys so we need to use that to our advantage.


(on the game)

When you look back at the game, the story is the turnovers. We had three turnovers, two of them inside the 20. You just can't have that, especially on the road in a hostile environment. It is frustrating when you dig yourself a hole like we did today, but still we had a chance to win the game. It is frustrating on one side, but then again you are thinking it can swing our way so we have to keep pressing and looking at things.

(on the Titans defense)

They are pretty good. They did a good job tackling. They did a good job on defense, but we still had a chance to win the game.

(on Albert Haynesworth)

He is a load at 340 pounds. He is tough to handle.

(on Chris Johnson)

The guy has a 4.2 40 so if you give him the corner he is going to be tough to contain. He did a good job. He ran the ball hard. I talked to him after the game and encouraged him to keep doing what he is doing. Keep running the ball and to call me if he needed any pointers.

(on the turnovers)

Turnovers were the key. If you take the turnovers away it is a different ball game. We might be in here celebrating right now. You just can't have turnovers.


(general thoughts on the game)

On the road, you can't turn the ball over and you can't commit penalties. We did both of those and really didn't give ourselves the best chance to win, obviously. Our defense kept us in the game. We did have a chance at the end. Too many mistakes. Give those guys credit, too. Tennessee's a heck of a football team.

(on giving Tennessee a short field to work with)

They had 21 points off turnovers or something. (We put) our defense in bad situations and those guys played their butts off. They're really the reason we did have a chance at the end. We just have to clean up. We can't make as many mistakes. It's tough to come in here to a place like this and play a good team and beat them when you make some mistakes. Self-inflicted wounds just makes it that much tougher.

(on correcting turnovers and mistakes)

Nothing's for sure. You just work at it, be conscious of it. You practice good habits. Some things are going to happen, you're never going to be perfect. But certainly too many miscues today.

(on whether the team is running uphill with a 1-3 start)

No, it's one-fourth of the season. We have plenty of games left. In the big picture, there's a long way to go in this thing. There are times we've played well and times we haven't. Good teams get better as the season goes on and that's what's important. We need to learn from the mistakes we've made and the failures we've had and get better. It's still September and good football teams continue to improve all through the year.


(general thoughts on game)

It was a tale of two halfs. In the first half, I think we only punted the ball one time with all the fumbles and stuff on offense. In the second half, I feel like it was punt, punt, punt, punt, punt. Both defenses were playing well. We had a nice long drive to get some points and I thought things really turned in our favor, I really did. But you just have to keep on playing. Breaks didn't go our way, balls didn't bounce our way. It's one of those days. Those fumbles come out for our offense but nine times out of 10, those balls bounce back to the offense. Today it just didn't happen for us.

(on defense having to defend short fields frequently in the game)

It's tough but we thrive on that stuff. As a defense, you have to put yourselves in tough positions like that. We do it in practice all the time, we know it's going to happen in the game. You know there's going to be turnovers. As a defense, we take pride in the fact that we can go out there and stop people, and we couldn't get it done today. That's on us to make them get threes instead of sevens.

(on the near stop of Titans WR Justin Gage on 4 th down near goal line in second half)

That was frustrating, but what can you say. We even sent it upstairs and they still came back with the same call. You just have to keep playing ball and the next play they scored. What do you do? I thought it was (obvious that he was short of the marker) and I thought it was a fumble too. But that was just me. It happened so bang-bang.


(on team's many offensive turnovers and penalties in game)

You can't do it. You can't turn the ball over that many times, especially on your own side of the field. You do that and you're making it way too hard on the defense. You shoot yourself in the foot when you put yourself in those situations. At first and 15, the odds of trying to get out of that is way too high.

(on defense's effort)

The defense gave us plenty of opportunities to still try to take the game over. We got down by six at one point and still we turn it over and they go up.

(on team's 1-3 start)

The whole season's always going to be an uphill battle. We just have to keep fighting and scrapping. We've played some tough teams, the NFL's always going to be a tough situation. We just have to find a way to win.

(on lining up incorrectly to start Vikings' final possession that led to team using its final timeout)

I couldn't hear the play call. I just heard one of the last parts of the play call so I went to the wrong side. I thought I was supposed to motion to the left so I tried to get over to the left and Gus (Frerotte) had to waste a timeout. It's too loud down there.


(on Titans' offensive line)

They have a good physical line. They have a good scheme and they run it well. (Kevin) Mawae's the key and the cog to it as the center. He kind of gets everybody going because he's seen so much as far as fronts, defenses, and blitzes. It's hard to confuse him.

(on Titans' receiving corps)

They're good enough, they're definitely good enough. (Justin) McCareins is a guy who runs his routes hard and makes plays when they have to. At the receiver position, all you really need is when there's a chance to catch the football, you catch it and make plays here and now. That's enough to help them to victory. If you have a guy whose pulling the trigger and can get you the football, you don't necessarily need a standout receiver. Not everybody's going to be a (Randy) Moss or a T.O., but you can definitely win with guys who can make plays and are consistent.

(on Titans' start to the season)

They're 4-0. If you get off to a 4-0 start and play .500 football the rest of the time, you're in the playoffs. So they got a good start.

(on struggles to pressure the quarterback)

Yeah, we definitely would've liked to put him on the ground. He wasn't necessarily throwing the ball quick. But their guys up front, their offensive line, did a good job of protecting him when they had to.

(on defending a short field on several occasions)

You can try to hold them to three. I think we did that once and we would like to do that more. But I still think the margin wouldn't have been enough if we'd held them to three all those times.


(on left hand injury suffered on final play)

I just got hit by a facemask. When you throw, you put your hand in front of you and I think one of those hard plastic things just cut open a blood vessel in my hand. At first when I looked at it, I thought there was a bone sticking out because there was so much blood and everything. Then, I realized it had broke the skin and broke the vessel.

(on offense shooting itself in the foot throughout the game)

We really did. Too many fumbles, too many penalties. You just can't do that. When you're playing in the NFL, those things are going to kill you. We put our defense in a hole a couple of times and we got too deep and couldn't get out of it.

(on Vikings' final possession)

We had a nice two-minute drive there and put some points on the board, then we get the ball again at the three. They're just pinning their ears back and coming. You're not going to have a lot of time to get things out of it. You have to go a long way. For whatever reason, we line up the wrong way so we have to burn a timeout already so that wasn't good. Those games are never won and lost at the end, they're won and lost because of all the penalties we had, the fumbles. We just can't do that stuff. If we want to be the team we think we are and know we are, we have to come out poised and we have to play a lot better during the game.

(on failure to stretch the field)

We didn't really have a chance to because our running game wasn't really on task. We got a great run in the first half then kind of slowed down. If you get that running game going and suck those linebackers up, you can stretch the field. We had a couple of throws, couple of chances. For us, what our line is like and who we have in the backfield, we just have to have that running game going. We have to establish the run and grind first downs out.

(on roughing the passer penalty called on Kyle Vanden Bosch)

That just isn't called for in this game. To take and just spear somebody like that, it's pretty ridiculous. The guy plays hard and goes all out, but he wants to do those kind of things. I've been playing this game a long time and that's no different then a guy coming off the side and hitting me in the knee without anybody touching him. Those kind of things just can't happen. We just got a memo from Goodell this week saying we're going to cut all that stuff out and keep our game legitimate. Those kinds of things aren't legitimate.

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